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I. Humans Are Soft-Bodied, Feeling Creatures

Humans are soft-bodied, feeling creatures.

We have guts on our insides and we know they’re really vulnerable. Our skeletons do not cover us all over. We learn to protect our insides - physically and emotionally - at an early age. It doesn’t take too many experiences of rejection or dismissal or other hard-to-process physical/emotional experiences for us to begin behaving as though we had a tough exoskeleton all around, fending off the world if we think it’s going to hurt us, or contorting ourselves into the shapes that we think will be acceptable to the world, or letting in too much. And all the while we are consistently not believing that we have the right to be here in the exact body that we have, feeling the feelings that we are feeling.

And this is where we begin to lose our deep sense of self. For what are we, really, if not our body and our feelings in all their messy glory? Yes, we can think and intellectualize. Yes, we can learn skills and do things. But if we don’t have our feelings and a body to feel them in along with what we are doing and thinking, what is the point?

I don’t mean this in any fatalistic way, I really truly mean, how are we whole if we don’t get to be soft-bodied feeling animals even while we are engaged in the most human of activities in human-created spaces? Why do we have to pretend to be unfeeling beings when we are working in corporate spaces? Why do we have to pretend that we are not affected by the events of our lives?

When we ignore that we are feeling beings in bodies, our soft bodies begin to harden. We make stash spaces that hold our feelings. We think we will come back to them. But so often we don’t actually make it back to process these. So they sit inside us, affecting our relationship to ourselves and others, affecting our choices, our actions, etc.

It’s amazing to me, like really floors me again and again, that people walk around holding a whole lot of pain and unexpressed feelings and still manage to look “normal”, which I put in quotation marks because I think that our assessment of “normal” is bonkers, in fact.

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