“…then we’d all end up happy or something”

As someone with social anxiety, this quote from the movie The Space Between Us cut deep. (For context, Gardner grew up on Mars and is trying to learn how to behave on Earth.)

Tulsa: People don’t go around saying what they feel, whenever they feel it. They have guards, and shields and other metaphors.

Gardner: Why?

Tulsa: Because we’re all messed up and scared and trying to be something that we’re not and if we all went around just declaring our innermost desires to the exact people we felt them for, we’d all end up happy or something.

A while back I wrote about the vowel check and one of the daily checks in there is “Do I have any unexpressed emotions?” For me, the answer is always yes. Every day, more of them. Yes and yes and yes.

And this isn’t new. I already had this realization a year and a half ago:

Death to covert contracts. Ask for what you want. Clear is kind, unclear is unkind. Just say it.

But it’s a hard habit to form. And often, saying it isn’t the hard part. It’s realizing that I don’t have to keep it to myself that trips me up.

Remember the five BS rules for life:

  1. You must not have anything different or wrong with you.
  2. If you do, you really have to fix that. It’s a serious problem.
  3. If you can’t fix it, you should just pretend that you fixed it.
  4. If you can’t pretend, then stay home so no one has to see you and your problems.
  5. If you insist on showing up anyway, then you should have the decency to be ashamed.

Step three is the tricky one. I have 36 years of practice pretending. It’s hard to undo that.

In my latest attempt at “Using Apps To Fix Deep Seated Emotional Problems”, I’m using Beeminder.com to charge me money if I don’t write at least 100 words in a journal everyday. And in the journal, I’m using the vowel check as the template. So that’s a trigger every morning to think about what I haven’t expressed. We’ll see if that helps keep the habit going. 🤞

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