I woke up this morning and I was permeated by a feeling I can't quite describe. It was something about the birds twittering away as the sun rose, the spring I could smell on the air, or the fact that I was reminded yet again that I'm in freaking India.
And the wifi was out - a blessing not a curse - so instead of texting all of the people I was remembering at that moment telling them how much I miss them, I sat on a black rubber cot, closed my eyes and listened to the birds as the early morning sunshine poured down warming my body to match the emotion resting in my chest.
But arriving panting on the tail of this emotion came the urge to write the feeling down, to pull it apart, dissect it for the world to see. And I nearly did, I snatched my phone from inside and began to pick apart the sensation that had filled me to overflowing for just that moment. But as I wrote about the bird's song, the clean cut from the outside world, and my life in India that sentiment began to slip away. It began to transform from the beauty it was into an equation, elegant and complex for sure, but equally dead to me.
Startled, I stopped writing. All I had wanted was to reduce feeling to it's parts and understand it as intellectually as I had instinctively understood it emotionally, but the very act seemed to be taking from me the emotion I so longed to explore.
As I sat there fingers halted over the keyboard grasping at the wisps of emotion that still hung close, I began questioning why I had felt such a compulsion to dissect that emotion in the first place.
Emotions are meant to be felt, are they not? That question released me.
I didn't have to explain my emotion to myself or to other people, I didn't have to reduce it to it's parts to give it to the world, because sometimes what we feel in a moment is meant to be felt and guarded. Not given.
My map now sits lop-sided the first half finished, all the reasons I felt what I was feeling thought out and written down, but I never drew the lines to connect the causes to the effect. Because I didn't have to. And I didn't want to.
It was like a the sun reminded me that I didn't owe an explanation of the best emotions to myself or to you. I didn't need to break it down into a science to bottle it up and relive it at will. Instead, I could revel in the moment guarding exactly what I felt and how that feeling came to be as my own little secret, one that comes bouncing to the front of my mind and filling me with it at the most unexpected times.
And, if I'm honest it was a relief. Realizing that I don't have to milk each emotion or thought that comes my way for every ounce of insight it might have was relaxing. There are so many thoughts, and there are so many emotions and before this even if I didn't take to time to polish them up for the rest of the world, I often took enough to put them stream-of-consciousness style down on paper.
I couldn't bear the idea that I didn't know what was going on in my head.
I was scared of letting my emotions rule me, so ironically I let them rule my time. I spent hours and wrote pages upon pages about what I felt in this situation or that, the bliss and the anger, that I lost the time to feel the emotion and to explore it as it was.
Instead of dissecting the emotion - in my desperate my pursuit, it had fled - I turned to why I felt the need to explain my emotions. And I came to the confusing conclusion that it was shame and fear.
So as I sat there fighting my urge to burn the moment into a page and instead burn it into my head I found that I was also fighting shame. I felt as if somehow because I had promised my family to write about my time in India and the thoughts I had here that I owed everything to them. That I owed everything to my 50 subscribers. Because you said you were interested in what I had to say, I had to tell you everything I had to say.
And that idea was terrifying to me. Most of the time I am hit by the side of the head and left confused by my emotions - that's why I take so much time to figure them out - and me somehow dedicating myself to sharing everything to the world made the regular process of figuring out what emotions mean by experiencing them anxiety-inducing. If I didn't understand my experience, how was I supposed to share that?
But as I put my phone down, my battle won, I closed my eyes, felt the sun and smiled. No one has it all figured out, and no one can pretend to be able to share the reality of something to someone that hasn't experienced it. And after all, some things aren't meant for the world. They aren't meant to give away or to dissect.
Sometimes emotions are meant to be felt, thoughts meant to be private, and experiences meant to be kept. And when they reappear, we can feel them again knowing we don't know why they came, we won't know why they'll leave, and no one has to know either. All we can do is be grateful that moment happened, live there and then, and leave it there and then.
Elianna DeSota is a young teacher who is obsessed with deep diving into new cultures and ideas. Right now she is on a journey to discover more about India and herself before jumping into the next chapter of her life.