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  • Writer's pictureJeff Monday

A slow motion swim out of the vortex

"If you need more time to understand how you feel about a thing, then give yourself more time to understand how you feel about a thing."

Such a simple idea, yet so hard to put into practice these days. I know I've struggled with this over the years. I've felt pressured to analyze, adjust, discard or adapt quickly to situations without allowing myself the time to really process what I was feeling. Break up with your lover? Get over it. Lose someone to cancer? Honor them and move on. The world waits for no one. There's always another story. What's the next tweet?

Then, on the flip side, is the danger of obsessing over something. Of never letting go. Never growing or moving on. Of being stuck in a loop forever. Who doesn't still think about an ex from time to time and wonder what may have been?

So we have these two opposing forces; one telling us to slow down and process and the other encouraging us to evolve and move forward. And we're left trying to find that middle path between the two with very little practical help from either camp. We're left to our own devices while balancing on a tight rope strung above a chasm of emotion.

I sometimes think of my mind as a vortex. A black hole where all these random thoughts and facts and feelings get sucked into, never to be seen again. Or, more accurately, never seen in that way again. Things spew out occasionally. Warped and twisted by my imagination into something barely resembling the original object. A dreaming vortex? A whirlpool of imagination? Something like that. Regardless, I find myself at times unable to escape its pull. I go round and round, thinking the same thoughts over and over and over as I spiral around the gaping maw of the vortex.

Now, my first instinct is to go faster. Run/swim/fly/think as fast as I can to try to escape the pull, to break the loop. But, and this is a lesson I've had to learn a few times now, that's not the best way to break free. By running so fast, yes, I break free. But I never actually dealt with the thoughts that were spiraling through my brain. I merely covered them and went on to something else. They're still there, waiting to pull me in again later. Probably when I least expect them to. Like some 4pm on some random Tuesday.

No, that's not the ticket. What I need to do is slowly work my way back out. Take the time to figure out why I feel the way I do. Let my heart and my head come to an agreement on what happened and why. And, and this is important, not worry about solving anything or planning a path or fixing it. Sometimes that just doesn't happen. Sometimes there's nothing I can do. Sometimes I just have to accept things for what they are. Trust me...I hate those times just as much as you.

I know that's why it took so long for me to write about coming out. It took time to figure out how I felt about how I had been treated by others. I needed to try to understand not only how they were feeling, but how their actions affected me as well. And even now, I had to couch the whole thing in a science fiction story. It's not a coincidence that it's a story about an android feeling emotions. There's subtext there that would keep a therapist going for weeks.

So I'm working on my slow motion swim out of the vortex of emotion. I'm allowing myself to take as long as I need to understand why I feel like I do about whatever it is I need time to understand why I feel like I do.

I'm not on anyone else's time schedule except my own.

I hope you are as well.

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