I read a novel a few months ago that was full of references from a fictional book – i.e. a book that is not real.
In said fictional book, there was a quote that some characters from the novel would repeat to each other quite often.
Pain demands to be felt.
That is the quote that these teenagers identified most with in said novel. Very characteristic of adolescence, I must admit.
But I am here today to argue with this statement.
Well, not argue. Rather to agree with and add upon what the quote means. You see, I think that the fictitious author of this fictitious book was missing a huge point. I understand the context of the quote – the author was talking about how pain, as a side effect of chronic illness and the realization of imminent death, demands to be felt, fully and entirely. But the quote itself is just… incomplete.
It’s not just pain that demands to be felt. It’s everything – overwhelming joy, envy, helplessness, anger. Once these feelings are being felt, there is no force on Earth that will make it stop, except time (which, I’m sure we’re all aware here of the regenerative powers that time holds.)
So, yes, pain demands to be felt. And rightly so. Joy demands to be felt, and deservedly so. Envy, helplessness, and anger demand to be felt, inevitably so.
Feelings are a part of the human experience, whether you believe in a God who created you that way, or in science as an evolutionary strategy. There is only so much control we have over our lives, whether you think so or not. And all these feelings that demand to be felt, like blunt force trauma to the chest, make it worth our while. Because, what is life but a collection of memories guided by how you felt in that moment? The beauty of feeling is that it is our body’s natural response to what it’s experiencing. Sometimes things we don’t even realize we are experiencing.
There is a mystery in the human condition and how we respond to the outside world. But only in the mystery do we feel everything without bias or worries about preconceived societal constructs. Without shame. Without restriction.
We are truly ‘us’ when we succumb to the feelings that demand to be felt.