Seattle, Washington, United States
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

ways to live

I realized something rather sad today. I have always been a person who feels things strongly. Thankfully, the people around me are the same way. I've grown up in a passionate, loud family, with friends who understand what it means to cry, laugh, and dance for the hell of it. And I think that is a beautiful way to live. But our culture has begun to glorify a very different ideal of existance. We are not to share our feelings, our observations, our fears and successes in public settings. Modern Americans like to hold each other at arms' length and call it hugging. I'm confused as to why. No one has ever offered me a date that coincides with the day we decided, collectively, that the status quo was more important than those it governed. I've never had someone show me the events in a person's life that causes such fear of emotion. But, of course, like so many other painful maladies - this drainage of emotional expression from our culture is fueled by fear. I don't think we have ever been free of fear as a species. It is one of the remnants of the animal that we are still in the process of evolving away from. This seems especially odd, this fear, when you look at what our culture does glorify. We are not afraid of musicians-turned-rapists. We are not afraid of the consumption of resources or of corruption in our businesses and government. All we fear is feeling. It is a national numbness. The worst part about it, though, is that we are crying out for someone to tell us what's on their heart, not just what's on the top of their head. Look at the raging success of emotionally open and brilliant artists like Florence Welch or the run-away success of powerful musicals like Next to Normal. As long as the emotions aren't our own, we are fine with them. And that's disappointing. When we were children we were always told: Courage is not the absence of fear. We neither understood nor appreciated it then. Suddenly, however, our emotional health and the depth of our relationships rests on true courage: The knowledge that something is more important than fear. I only write this today because I love the people I'm surrounded by, but I hold no love for the side of our culture that does not want us to share ourselves. So, I propose a new type of firebrand: one who FEELS. May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy. -Michael


  1. This is so true! I think part of the fear of emotion, is beause when we truly invest our heart and soul into life, then there is room for dissapointment and pain, and that is what makes some of the truly frightening things you mentioned scary. But suffering can be worth it, I would rather live a life with my heart fully in it and grow and learn from my dissapointments then live my life in fear of appearing emotional or vulnerable.