“Turn it off,” she said as she stormed into the room. “Turn it all off, please.”
“Turn what off?” I looked at her, puzzled.
“Feelings,” she hissed through gritted teeth. “Just take them away.”
I put away the book I had been reading and focused my full attention on her.
“Why would you want to turn them off?”
“I hate feelings,” she said, screwing up her face in disgust. “They hurt. They suck you in like a black hole.”
Oh, my little girl. Such a rebel she was. She evidently took after me.
“Not all of them hurt,” I noticed. “There are things like joy, happiness, love… All of them full of bright colors and shining lights. Would you like to get rid of those, too?”
She glared at me.
“Those are even more painful.”
“Well, that’s an interesting point of view.”
“Stop being sarcastic with me!” she exploded, shifting impatiently.
I put my hands up, trying not to laugh.
“Okay, okay. I’m listening.”
She took a deep breath and went on.
“They’re painful because they don’t last. They’re fragile and no matter what you do, they have to be broken eventually. You have to be broken. You and your stupid, naive heart.” She spat out her words quickly, as if they were burning her throat and she had to get rid of them as fast as possible. “All the good things, they fade away and all you’re left with in the end is a poor-quality memory. And you try your hardest to keep it alive and you ache to bring it back, live it again, but it never works that way. Feelings are so overrated.”
There was something furious about her eyes as she spoke and I almost smiled, because I recognized that very well.
“You do have a point here,” I admitted. “Positive and negative feelings come in a package. You can’t get one without the other. And neither of them lasts for too long. The bad things seem to weigh on your shoulders and drag you down further and further with every minute that goes by, but they pass, too. And the good ones… ain’t they worth the struggle?”
She sighed heavily.
“That’s what I’ve been telling myself for ages, you know? I’ve tried to hold on to the thought that all the hurt will be over soon and better days are just around the corner. But it takes too much to get to that friggin’ corner,” she said.
“But if you don’ try, you’ll never know what might be waiting for you there.”
“Oh, don’t you get it?!” she nearly screamed, clearly frustrated. “I don’t want to try anymore! All I want on this goddamn planet is to switch it all off. Or at least pause it for a while. I need to catch my breath. And maybe look for some sort of solution in the spare time. But I need to get rid of all the damn feelings. They’re eating me alive.”
Now I sighed. Little did she know about life.
However, she reminded me of myself when I was young. Young and still so dumb. I fought my own wars and cried for something I could never have, complained about things I couldn’t change and refused to accept life as it was.
It took me so long to realize that life wasn’t just a game or a movie you watched, sitting safely in your armchair and eating popcorn. It didn’t have a remote control with a button you could press if you wanted to pause, fast-forward or skip a scene. You didn’t get to choose if you wanted to be a part of that movie or whether you wanted to play that game.
Although you did have some say in whether you played the main role, ended up as a winner or a loser. But there was no easy way out and no shortcuts. Once your role was assigned to you, you’d be playing it till the end.
“There’s nothing you can do, sweetheart,” I said softly. “We all feel things. It’s exactly what makes us human. Feelings bring such beauty to our lives and maybe you can’t see it now, but you will one day. And for now, just hold on. If you need to cry or scream, do it. Cry till you run out of tears and scream till your voice is gone. Let it all out.”
She rolled her eyes, but didn’t interrupt me. Maybe my words would bounce off her and she would remain stubborn as always, or perhaps, she’d learn her lesson, just like I learned mine years ago. There was nothing much I could do for her. She had to go through that alone. And I knew for sure she was strong enough to get by just fine.
“There’s no escape, honey, so don’t be a coward. Stand up and fight instead of running away. Face the pain instead of looking for a way to make yourself numb. No matter how many times you fall, get up and try again. You have to try and brace yourself for the better things to come. Because, I promise you, it’s all worth it in the end.”