Emma Off The Record: Emotional Outpour

My emotions have been running wild recently and I’m not quite sure what’s been causing this phenomenon. Some people tell me that Mercury’s in retrograde and this cosmic occurrence somehow has the ability to send my emotions tumbling into oblivion. Or maybe it’s the onset of dead-of-winter-level wind storms that have been blowing my emotions out of proportion. Or maybe it’s the fact that the sweet relief of Thanksgiving break is so close I can almost taste the cranberry-pecan pie. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were all three combined—I’m willing to believe anything at this point. 

I’ll be going about my day, minding my own feelings, and all of a sudden, I’m hit with a wave of anxiety, passivity, and general negativity that de-motivates me to get anything done. Not to go off on a tangent (too late, I guess), but as a society, I believe we’re constantly held up to a standard of non-stop productivity. Clearly, this isn’t the most realistic work ethic, and most people who make it look easy-breezy are also struggling to catch their breath.

Despite this knowledge, I still constantly beat myself up over not getting everything done exactly when I wanted to. When my to-do list and my timeline fall out of sync, I freak out a little bit. Every week has its plethora of assignments and exams, and so far I’ve been in a pretty motivated mood that’s been keeping me consistently on task. But I’m telling you, something’s been throwing me off recently and I have dug myself into a “do not disturb” headspace. In this mindset, I’m calm, cool, collected, and unconcerned about getting my work done. Then it hits me. Heart pumping, I descend into panic mode and all my care-free thoughts from before immediately disappear. 

I want to have fun and be social and get my work done all at the same time––is that such a crime? I can distract myself for only so long when I’m out having a good time, but at the end of the night when all I want to do is ease into a good night’s sleep, the paranoia strikes. And then I worry and worry and worry until I’ve exhausted myself from overthinking about getting nothing done. People always tell me that I’m too hard on myself and they’re probably right, but it’s difficult to tell myself to relax when the thought of untouched homework and un-studied for tests itch the back of my brain, yet I have a few techniques to combat this counter-productive cycle. 

I’m sure you could have guessed it, but listening to music is a key soothing activity for me. I admire so many artists for being able to capture all kinds of feelings so perfectly in their lyrics and melodies that I’m convinced some of them might just have a direct tap into my emotions. In all seriousness, sometimes I’m compelled to listen to a particular song if I’m feeling overwhelmed. This recently happened when I had a mini existential crisis regarding a personal matter and the harps in Childish Gambino’s “Les” swooped in to steer me away from a meltdown. Hyperbolic statements are being made, but I sincerely believe that music has a curative effect on me. 

This week’s playlist is dedicated to the songs that are currently speaking my emotional language. Navigating school, relationships, and life, in general, has its fair share of high and low notes, and when I’m not able to clearly articulate my feelings regarding any of those things, these songs do the trick. Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You” is the power ballad to end all power ballads about the confusing nature of falling hard in love (which is both wonderful and a bit scary at the same time). The Zombies “Time of the Season” emulates the chilly, strange feeling in the air around this time of year that is one possible explanation for my tornado of emotions. And finally, Yeek’s “Cleaner Air” is the musical-equivalent of the pulsing, restless feeling that I’ve been trying to shake from my mind.

These songs are my outlets as of right now as I try to figure out how to navigate my feelings and maybe (just maybe) sort them out. In the meantime, I’m going to spend some time refocusing on my work and giving myself little self-care breaks in between (masking, listening to music, watching an episode of Big Mouth, etc.). If anyone else out there is braving this storm with me, I commend you and just know that you’re not alone out there.


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