Feelings

“Interesting is such an emotionally neutral word…”

I received that comment last night via text just after I had described my family reunion with the word “Interesting.”

While I should have known that she’d call me out, her observation is true. I often aim to divorce myself from much emotion and feelings. It’s not that I’m cold hearted or a Clint Eastwood’esque personality. I don’t aim to be mean, or in any way inconsiderate, but I’ve learned over the years that I prefer a emotionally neutral response. As Dragnet used to say, “Just the facts, Ma’am.”

This trip has been a flurry of emotions, many of which I have a hard time describing. Sometimes the sensation is to just feel full. Other times, it’s an overarching feeling. I think part of my challenge is that I simply have a very sparse ‘feeling’ vocabulary.

Heather has remarked many times before that she simply wants to know how I feel about a subject so my distinct lack of feeling is sometimes a challenge in our relationship. Of course, when she explains that to me, I take to trying to understand her concerns and giving her a response that, to some extent, fits her expectations. That’s another challenge in itself because often, then she feels like my responses are somewhat inauthentic as a start to describe what I might be feeling.

Maybe that will come across here too. In an effort to put words to sensations, I took a quick look at “feeling vocabulary” on google… Let’s see if I can find anything.

I’ll try listing some of the feelings that I’ve experienced on the trip; again this is from a feeling vocab list:

Angry
annoyed
disgusted
exasperated
frustrated

Ashamed
foolish
mortified
regretful

Confident
capable
centered
energetic
focused
keen
optimistic

Confused
bewildered
disoriented
flustered
unfocused

Happy
amused
excited
joyful
mischievous

Hurt
abandoned
attacked
disappointed
grieving

Loving
affectionate
aroused
caring
devoted
intimate
tender
warm

Sad
melancholy
unhappy

Satisfied
content
mellow
peaceful
pleased

Scared
afraid
insecure
nervous
vulnerable

Surprised
aghast
amazed
incredulous

Thankful
appreciative
grateful
relieved

Thoughtful
curious
informed
interested
reflective

Uncertain
doubtful
dubious
hesitant
indecisive
skeptical
unsure
unsettled

Uncaring
ambivalent
apathetic
exhausted
indifferent

I just learned that when I have a list to draw from, it’s much easier to identify my feelings!

And then I look at the list and wonder, “what does it mean” and “how ought I change them”, but that’s par for the course as the analytic that I am. Ha!

While I espouse the desire for a fairly even keel of emotional response, it’s true that I’m not cold and heartless. I feel things frequently.

Nonetheless, I settle back to the comfort of facts… And I can’t help but notice that while we may all be related, this trip is simply to open new avenues for friendships and shared experiences in the future. I will eventually head back to Juneau and be reinserted into life; at that point these names and this tree will be linked to memories and a few more contacts in my address book. I guess it’s the burden of a fact-oriented mind.

Till next time,
-cb

PS – here’s the group photo from our dinner on Friday night at Goofy’s Kitchen:

The Bennett Clan and Friends
(click for a larger version)

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