Ivan Samkov

Don’t Tell Me How To Feel

When we feel any type of emotion about someone or something, we’re automatically deemed “weak” or “overreactive” by someone who doesn’t even know us or what we are going through. We are sensitive to hurtful words or painful situations in life. For example, if there is a death in the family, or when we have an emotional breakdown, our emotions are very heightened. But, then we are shamed for feeling the way we do when we cry, get sad, or depressed. If we want to bury our heads in a big pint of ice cream to ease the pain we feel deep inside while feeling angry about what happened to us, then we should do so. No one should tell us how we get to grieve another human being or the end of a toxic relationship.

Honestly, we can’t just feel happy or move on after we have coped with the trauma we’ve experienced. Coping with something traumatic is realizing that what happened isn’t our fault, it is out of our control. It’s a natural reaction to the trauma we face. Just as our emotions are (a natural reaction) and will always be out of our control.

When we feel what we feel, we numb the pain without speaking or we end up just sitting down and writing about it. Emotions of the heart aren’t simple, what we feel inside isn’t simple. It’s complicated, messy, and fucking painful. If we don’t want to feel something about the world or the fact that our grandparents passed away suddenly, but not unexpectedly, it’s our right to cry and to feel the way we want to feel without shame from others. Depression is real. And it’s so real, in fact, that I see friends or family dealing with the same lost feeling I feel when I am depressed or have bouts of anxiety. Especially when someone fucks with your emotions. It could be your ex-boyfriend who you learned cheated on you numerous times and didn’t dare to admit it to your face. I am guilty of letting people blind me with their affection or love, and in return, I am left sad and unable to pick up the pieces afterward.

When I feel down, my heart is broken. I cry, I become a recluse inside, and start to isolate myself from everyone around me for a little while I process why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling. It’s a long battle of “Am I good enough?” “What if I am not able to do what I know I am capable of doing?” You eventually become lost in those thoughts to the point where you don’t want to speak to or be around anyone. Friends sometimes lose their jobs and feel like their world has come crashing down on them. It breaks my heart. I wish that when we feel, we don’t feel as sad and lost as we do. But that is the crippling pain we feel when something bad happens.

It is a very real feeling, and it’s not something that can go away within the blink of an eye. We feel as if we need to keep our feelings in check every time we are in public, and that’s no way to live. So, don’t tell me how to feel, society. Because all we know is what we feel and the emotions that are inside of us that make us human. And I will never apologize for feeling more than what is expected of me. I will never let someone take my ability to feel something and that is the true beauty of being a woman.

What women go through on a daily basis, whether it is losing the one you love, going through a breakup, or having been abused by someone who you thought loved you but only wanted to use you up and ruin you for all the men in the goddamn world. We need to feel sad or angry in order to let out those emotions and actually be able to stay angry. If we stay angry, it can make us strong, brave, and confident. It’s a really powerful thing. The reason why we stay angry is to show that we won’t back down from a fight. Women have to fight every day to be seen, heard, and respected by men. And to have to fight to feel human emotion is the most fucked up thing we have ever had to deal with. It’s not just feeling an emotion that bothers men, it’s the way we express it or how we convey our feelings about a topic with them.

In my past relationship, I learned that my ex-boyfriend thought that expressing emotions or any type of feelings was considered “weak” because of how he was brought up. He never showed any emotion to me; honestly, only once he really did. But otherwise, he never felt what I felt or understood why I was sad or unhappy about what he was doing to me. How was I not supposed to be fucking sad while he was taking me for granted and threatening violence towards me?

Was I supposed to feel happy that he wanted to pull my hair? It was like my feelings never mattered to him and that’s why my emotions were very up and down around him. I never wanted to tip-toe around him about how I was feeling, but he eventually made me do that. He controlled how I felt. If I ever felt angry or sad, he would look at me like I was nuts or shame me for feeling that way because “it was my fault” and he was not guilty of anything he put me through. And that is why I’m taking back my power now and not letting people push me around and tell me how to feel.

No woman should ever have to feel sorry for feeling the way they want to feel, even if it means risking their relationships. So, stay angry. Not just for all women, but for yourself. Don’t let someone tell you how to feel, and don’t compromise yourself for someone else.

Most importantly, never let your feelings be silenced, because that’s the one thing no one can take away from you. Your power to express an emotion while dealing with heavy duty shit is something a woman should never have to fight for. And make it known that your feelings do indeed matter.