Cerebral vs emotional: an afterword

Recently I was chatting with a professional acquaintance who occasionally reads this blog – that weird level of acquaintance where he doesn’t know me, but he knows a fair bit about me. He commented that I’m very cerebral, and I tend to overthink things. Bullseye! Guilty as charged. However much I may understand that perception, I do not identify myself as a cerebral person at all. I am emotional. #understatementofthedecade

My emotions are, and always have been, overwhelming. As I’ve documented extensively here, from 2010-2014, I cycled through 3 depressive episodes. During those years, I tried denying my emotions, because they were too big, too scary and too painful: I learned to instead rely solely on my logic, an approach that worked well with my career as an accountant. Of course, denying myself the right to feel anything, learning to navigate the world based solely on my brain like a robot, was intolerable and I broke, in the form of recurring depressions. I sought help in August 2014, and thanks to my amazing therapist, and the support of some key friends, by June 2015, I was starting to let myself feel again. As this post reminds me, it was a bumpy, unregulated process: a rush of emotion so strong, it could not be denied, often with embarrassing/hilarious/awkward consequences.

Today, 15 months later, I am still emotional. So emotional. I’ve accepted that regardless of how hard I try ignore or deny my feelings, they will operate within me anyhow. So it is in my interest to let myself feel, because those feelings dictate my truth, and who I am. I want to know who I am, why I am behaving the way I am. I still have a long way to go: there are times where the emotions are so strong, I just shut down, albeit less dramatically than before – I’ll just leave work early, or come in late (it helps that I have an amazing understanding boss). My latest approach is to feel the feeling, live with the discomfort, until I am sure of what I am feeling: anger, hurt, betrayal, frustration, despair, worry, anxiety, even happiness, when they rush in, I cannot identify which is which. Once I am sure of the flavor of my emotion, I let it sit for a time, rolling about in the background of my brain, while the cerebral part of me works backwards from that feeling to identify the possible causes triggering such a strong reaction.  This process takes hours, sometimes even days. It makes for some interesting timing, the appearance of delayed reactions. But this cerebral approach to my emotional self is the best coping mechanism I’ve found: I refuse to impulsively react to these intense feelings, as sometimes my first identification of the emotion in question is wrong – I’ll mistake hurt pride for anger, or feel shame when really I am hurt/betrayed. I don’t want to inflict my reactions upon my acquaintances, coworkers, friends and family unless I am certain they are coherent with the underlying issue. Because inflict, I will #assertive.

Case in point: Beaut. When I wrote the peniscation episode, and the resulting drama, the reaction amongst my friends and family was unanimous: cease all contact. My godmother phrased it best:

I want you to know this morning I read your post: keep one thing in mind, when a dishonest person does something to you, his actions reflect on who he is. He is using people, no excuses. He separates the parts of the person he uses (mind, body, fun, etc). You wanted to trust him and now you will stop. There is no more to say. He is wrong and you will be wrong if you continue giving him importance. Important is your desire to trust and build a relationship with someone worthy of your trust. Today is a new moment, it starts by removing importance to this person and continuing your path of kindness, productivity, etc. Please do and keep away from every path he walks. Love you.

Strong words, that I recognized as true. But there was a nagging part of me that felt that it was not time to walk away. Did I trust him? No, never. Did I love him? Kind of – he reminded me of a puppy that had been badly abused, and therefore tried to bite the hand of any human that wanted to pet it. It wasn’t fully his fault, I’ll always maintain that underneath all his baggage he is a sweet kind man, but in no way did that absolve him of the responsibility of learning to be less broken, so as to avoid hurting the people who cared for him. Mostly, I felt that it would be a failure in my ability to be a friend if I walked away when the going got tough – and boy was his life one ginormous shitstorm. So, cautiously, I stayed in his orbit, willing to be friendly, and maybe even friends. My cousins and friends shook their heads in despair. I tried to tell them: I acknowledged the merit of their advice, but until such a moment where I was ready to freeze Beaut out of my life, it would be a mistake to force it. I would know when I was ready, and when that moment came, I wouldn’t regret it.

That moment came over the weekend. Something so trivial, it makes me smile. He took 8 hours to answer a text about a non-bloggable crisis of which he is aware that has been preoccupying me for the past 2 weeks. During those 8 hours, 2 friends texted me to check in on me, because that is what friends do. During those 8 hours, Beaut was active on Facebook and was tagged in a post by Main Girl, as having cooked her a wonderful meal, bought her flowers, and being a great supportive friend. I felt an absence of emotion so deafening, that I knew: the last of the importance I gave to Beaut had evaporated. It appears crazy that the final reaction to a post I wrote 2 months ago happened now; a prime example of just how extreme my delayed reactions can be. But to me, there is nothing unusual. 95% of my emotions were sorted through at the time of the peniscation/Queen B posts. The remaining 5% took their sweetass time, but that is just how I roll. A convoluted, drawn-out way to close out a chapter in my life with minimal scar tissue, and no regrets.

Emotional & cerebral. But so much happier now that I allow myself to be both of those things.


I can’t stop laughing. That tag line tho! #definitelynotmenoway #exceptmaybesometimes



  1. Sans doute une épreuve pour te permettre de réellement apprécier le les moments présents, le futur.

    Je pense que rien n’arrive par hasard. Ce genre d’événement t’aide aussi à faire un tri naturel et prendre du recul sur la vie, l’amour, les amis et la famille.

    Comme je te l’ai dit et je pense que tu le sais déjà, c’est juste un problème de timing.

    Le meilleur reste à venir bon courage


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