What We Feel

Friday is for sausage rolls and staring out the window and buying toilet paper and drinking whisky. It’s also for afternoon walks and almost slipping on ice and wearing bright yellow sweaters with baggy jeans. 

Edinburgh in the snow feels like being in whatever town A Christmas Carol is set in and also like being in Concord, Massachusetts which is where the March sisters live in Little Women. I’ve never been to either of those places so I guess what I’m trying to say is that Edinburgh feels Christmassy. Christmassy is a feeling that can’t really be put into words because it’s one of those things that has to be felt. Like love. No one ever tells you what love feels like; they just say you’ll know it when you feel it which I’ve always thought was pretty useless advice. 

I suppose the best way to describe Christmassy is to say words like joy, and hope, and lightness. Or coziness and excitement and a general feeling of fullness. Christmassy is the feeling of sitting on a couch surrounded by people who love you. An iconic scene in a movie where everyone is smiling or telling jokes but you’re the person sitting quietly just taking it all in. In those moments, you can’t even remember what it feels like to be sad or lonely because it’s like those feelings never existed in the first place. 

I like when I’m walking outside and can smell chimney smoke because it reminds me that winter isn’t always cold. I like to imagine someone snuggled up next to a fire. Sometimes that someone is me and sometimes it’s someone else. That’s not important. What’s important is that when I’m out walking and the streets are cold but I can smell chimney smoke, it’s nice to think that someone somewhere is warm. 

Lately, I’ve been reading some downright depressing things on the internet where people seem fed up with their jobs, and their lives, and their friends. It sometimes makes me feel like I’m living in an alternate universe because I don’t feel any of those things at all. But then I remind myself that it wasn’t so very long ago when I felt those things too, and so I guess I’m allowed to enjoy this happy season without feeling guilty about it, just like I’m allowed to experience the sad seasons without feeling bad about it. We feel what we feel when we feel it. Sometimes feelings are good and sometimes they’re bad and sometimes they’re just a great big muddle of things that don’t even have a name. 

Hearts are weird and wonderful and probably a whole bunch of other things, too. What I’ve learned – what I am learning still  – is that whatever they are, we should honour our emotions instead of stuffing them, or ignoring them, or trying to make them go away, or convincing ourselves that we shouldn’t be feeling the way we do. We’re humans and we feel things. Sometimes the heart seems very complicated; but sometimes I think it’s as simple as that.

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