An Unprecedented Depth of Feeling

It’s happening to me again. I didn’t think it could. I thought I was numbed, I thought I’d felt all the hurt and love the world had to offer. I thought I couldn’t be moved anymore. I thought nothing could excite me. I thought I was dead inside.

I wrote a few weeks ago about an experience many years in the past that awakened in me an unprecedented depth of feeling. Now that beast or its cousin is stirring again, prodded awake by sounds and sights I’ve missed out on for so long. Much, much too long.

It makes me keenly aware of just how much I gave away over the last half of my life. I truly settled for less. I settled for far less than whole love. I allowed the things I loved to be put away because others perceived them to be childish. I traded the things that truly made me want to get up in the morning, that made my heart soar and my stomach drop in anticipation, for a life of quelled emotion and stifled joy.

I am ecstatic that I’ve escaped that hell, for hell it truly was. I have been half a person, and I molded the half that was left into a painful and unrecognizable shape and stopped breathing except as lightly as possible to stay alive. I don’t exactly know why I did this, except that I thought it was the right thing to do. I thought it was the ritual of adulthood.

One of my favorite XKCD comic strips from more than a decade ago has a line that reads “We’re the adults now, and it’s up to us to decide what that means.” Those words may have been one of the first things to nudge the twisted up, barely-breathing sleeper all those years ago.

I’ve extricated my half-self from its prison, and am shaping it into a new whole. I will always be the sum of my parts, but I can remake myself by being selective about who and what I include. I plan to add all the things and people that bring me joy, and none of the things and people who don’t. It’s as simple as that.

I’m convinced that the people who say that you should put away childish things when you become an adult are the same people who say that youth is wasted on the young. They are the embittered, the workday drudges, the people who complain about their aches and pains and yammer on about their South Beach/Paleo diet while sucking down alcohol and screaming at the kids they wish they hadn’t had so many of. They choose to give up living. I did. Everything is a choice.

I’m trembling with anticipation. I’m filled with electricity. I hear music differently again, and new sounds and notes make my stomach drop and my heart yearn for something I can’t define. Conversations with new people I care about show me what I’ve missed, what I can become, and their open minds and understanding blow through me like a hurricane, whipping and churning out the dead weight of silence and self-control. Many people feel things deeply. It’s not just me. I’m compelled to write, to try to capture this metamorphosis.

I know that I can love someone again, wholly and deeply. It may never manifest, but I feel the drive to connect with someone on an spiritual and physical level, and right now the feeling is all that matters. I feel attraction to like minds. I’m in love with my life.

People I know keep urging caution. “Don’t move without giving it a lot of thought, make sure that your breakup isn’t the reason you go.” “Don’t give up your job here before you get one where you want to go.” “Save your money, don’t use it unwisely.” “What will you do? Where will you go? What about…?”

I know these people mean well, but what I hear is “I wouldn’t do that, so you shouldn’t either”, and that’s no longer going to work for me. I don’t do what others think I should, I do what I increasingly know is the right thing. And if it isn’t, another thing will be. I am FREE. I can go anywhere, and I can do anything.

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