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    Building A Better Mousetrap

            A few weeks ago, I did a post called “Fuck You God”. In terms of reader response per word written, I got more bang for the buck from those three syllables than anything I’ve written on this website.
            I guess I hit a nerve. Honestly, that wasn’t my intent.
            My intent was to share what was happening for me that morning.
            After screaming that phrase for what seemed like hours, but was in actuality about twenty minutes, the thought occurred to me to post it. Initially, I rejected the idea. Way too over the top. Way too offensive. Way too indulgent. Way too...pick your poison.
            But then I thought, “Is it real?”. Fuck yeah. As real as it gets. And that’s what sold it for me.
            I had no idea what kind of backlash there would be. Or what kind of support I’d receive. I couldn’t worry about that. Not if I’m trying to be real. Whatever consequences arise from being real is just something I’m going to have to deal with.
            After all, how often are we not real because we fear the consequences of being real?
            While I was screaming, I thought of that scene in the movie Forrest Gump. When lieutenant Dan is on the top of the mast during a hurricane, daring god to kill him. I was actually jealous that I myself wasn’t in a dangerous place in the middle of a violent storm, just like he was. I wanted the full effect, damn it. But doing it in the privacy of my own home would have to suffice. So I settled for blowing my voice out, going house on my punching bag, and working up a drenching sweat.
            Although I had been struggling with how I felt since the previous night, the tirade was actually triggered by the innocuous decision to make fresh juice that morning. Fresh juice which I promptly spilled all over the counter. That’s actually what made me snap. Isn’t that always the way it happens?
            So I lost it, for the first time in over half a year. When it was all over, I realized how long it had been since I was that angry, and I actually smiled. Because it underscored how much anger I’ve released in the past seven months, and how much lighter and happier I am as a result. So getting that angry thus reminded me of how infrequently I go there now.
            And Lo and Behold, after blowing my smokestack and then talking about it with my sister, a small miracle happened. I was able to thoroughly enjoy the rest of my day.
            “How did that happen?”, I asked myself. This was a relatively new experience for me. I wasn’t stuck in the feeling anymore. Just as important, I wasn’t beating myself up for feeling what I felt and thinking what I thought and doing what I did. Yowza. This is much better than the way I’ve been doing it for most of my life.
            In a nut shell, I had allowed myself to be completely real, and then gave myself permission to express that. Full Tilt. That may not sound like a big deal, but consider where most of us go when we have incredibly intense, sometimes disturbing, thoughts and feelings. Often, we immediately negate them and stuff them back inside. Sometimes, we have to, because to express them at that particular moment or in that particular situation may be totally inappropriate. But all too often, we then convince ourselves that we didn’t feel that way. That’s denial. Or we mercilessly criticize and judge ourselves for feeling or thinking it. That’s shame. Or we forget about the feelings, cramming them so far down that we can’t get to them again. That’s disease.
            Build up years of that, and you create within yourself actual physical ailments. You manifest depression, anxiety, rage, obsessive compulsive disorder, and just about any other challenging personality trait you can name.
            It was precisely because I was able to accept and release these very disturbing thoughts and feelings that I was able to move through them. I was fortunate enough to be able to do it right then and there. With reckless abandon. But if circumstance didn’t allow me to do it that way, I would still need to find a time and a place to express what I felt. Somehow. Someway.
            I could have chosen music. Or exercise. Or picked a time and place to lose it when I could be alone. How we choose to release such intense emotions is up to us. But the key is that they get released. The key is they get dealt with. If not, they eat us alive from the inside out.
            Before, when faced with a challenging emotional situation, especially pain, my options were to get angry or to shut down. I vacillated between these two stressful extremes, which were themselves already on a dubious emotional continuum. An emotional continuum that I had created through years of not knowing what to do with what I felt.
            Anger and disconnect. I certainly had other tools in my toolbox. I just didn’t use them. Now I do. And like a carpenter who gets better at building the more he builds, I’m much better at feeling, expressing, releasing, and moving through emotions. “Simply” because I completely honor my process.
            I still have intense emotions. I’m an artistic, creative, imaginative man. A passionate man full of life and energy and intensity. A strong man who isn’t afraid to feel. It’s what I do with these feelings now that’s made all the difference. I actually allow myself to feel them. Then I choose how to express them. How to deal with them. Then I release them and move through them. My life all the richer for it.

    ©2009 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and lifetime of Wrongs) Reserved.

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    Reader Comments (2)

    I'm using the good ole fashioned mousetrap and have been catching about one per day since Wednesday. Oh, you meant another kind of mousetrap. Sorry, nevermind.

    January 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEr-EEEEE-Kaaaaaa

    Touche. Are you trying to become the Emily Litella of the blogosphere?


    January 2, 2009 | Registered CommenterClint Piatelli

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