It’s a question that I’ve been asking myself since I was around eleven or twelve years old and – for an entire decade – I’m even further away from the answer than I was as a preteen. The concept of live emotion, or someone who may have the ability to own it, share it, and use it. A very large majority of the people I’ve found and lost have the same common factor: emotions are almost a dead concept. I’m someone who is definitely more emotion driven than logic driven, and I don’t expect everybody to be all emotions all the time (likewise, there are moments where logic works better in certain situations and I can see that), but when people interact with each other, or when someone goes and does something that they’re passionate about, or when people are in tough situations I cannot help but feel that I know way too many people who would rather shut the door on their emotions. I’m not sure whether people see it as a weakness or a flaw or a waste of space, but I can say with full assurance that it is necessary to have some form of acquaintanceship with one’s emotions.
Emotions help filter what makes us happy from what makes us feel offended. People start relationships with other people (friendships, romances and later on families) because there was an appeal to an emotion, even if the emotion seems small or insignificant. When people find something that makes them happy, a career field or a hobby, they take enjoyment in learning as many facets of it as they can. That career or hobby then becomes a passion as someone reaps the happiness they get out of it. I’m a songwriter because of the joy that it gives me to put words, melody, rhythm and ambiance together. I love serving coffee to people because I love seeing the light turn on in someone’s face as they go from zombie-like-sleep-state to awake and ready to start their day. It’s hard for me to subtract my emotions from either of those things, and to be honest I wouldn’t want to if my life depended on it.
I saw it in Toronto all the time – going through school, finding my passions, developing as a person, getting my first job and living my life – people shutting down any part of themselves that related to emotions, and I also know people who have broken out of that because of how generally miserable and bitter and lonely they were as a result. In a world when people don’t care, you’re your only resource. As the kid who was consistently picked on and physically abused based upon emotions, falling into fads, being slightly plump and other various personal flaws, I learned to turn off my emotions because I lost faith in the idea that people still had them. I wound up becoming abusive myself; not caring about anyone or anything around me, lashing out, hitting and yelling and frigid like the Arctic. I hated every day of it and wondered why it had to happen to me. Then a thought came into my head, the idea that maybe it’s because I’m not channeling my emotions into anything of remote use or potential benefit. I started seriously songwriting initially because I didn’t want to burden anyone with my emotions, but still felt the need to communicate them. Songwriting started as my outlet because I didn’t feel that anyone wanted to listen to the words themselves, a self-therapeutic measure that I put in place to try not to impose on the friends I had at the time who were busy figuring themselves out. Seven years later, I’m still writing and I’m still feeling, but it doesn’t really appear like many around me are.
Do I wish for everyone on the planet to be on the same emotional wavelength as me? Not by any means, but it’s something we as a race of creatures all have in common – the ability to feel. If there’s any benefit that you get from spending time with your friends, family, significant other or from a passion or favourite pastime, that’s an emotional elation you’re getting and it’s undeniable. Why deny that in the rest of your life? The lesson I’ve learned from growing up with my emotions, and seeing certain other people look at it similarly, is that human potential is the most visible when you can feel a pulse in what they give their time to.
I love all the people I chose as friends and family with every fiber of my being, and because of how much more other people benefit from love as opposed to silence or apathy, I live my life with love in my heart and an open mind on a daily basis. I’m not saying people should completely rethink how they live their lives, but I’m sure there’s a part of everybody where emotions play a key role and sometimes it’s best to keep that in mind. As cheesy as it sounds, telling someone you love them to their face can and does make people feel lifted and affirmed, and that’s another idea that I live my daily life with, because I do it and I see the benefit all the time.