We have a family member who likes to ask, “How did that make you feel?” Sometimes his question stops me in my tracks. I want to respond, “Do you have a half an hour?”
We have moments—even months—that evoke a plethora of emotions. This ambivalence, or feeling of mixed emotions, can cause an uproar of feelings. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which emotion is winning out from one minute to the next.
I’m having one of moments right now. My youngest has his last day of high school today. In some ways it feels “right.” I see that he’s ready to move forward in this life. My heart soars for him, watching him come into his own, to see him feeling confident and joyful. I’m proud.
On the flip side, my heart aches for the past. I morosely look at pictures of him as a preschooler and hear a beautiful bass voice in my head singing “Sunrise Sunset.” Yes, there are even violins.
I’m also scared. What if I didn’t prepare him for life? What if I did and now he won’t need me?
Then there’s the guilt. I remember what it was like to have life by the tail. I remember trotting off to faraway places. I don’t remember caring how that made my parents feel.
Why You Should Write about Conflicted Moments
Writing about such moments connects you with everyone who has shared such moments. The fact that they’re common doesn’t make such feelings less poignant. When you give voice to something your friends or loved ones have also felt, you connect with them. You bond.
Honest writing deepens connections. Life is messy, so there’s no reason to expect our emotions to be neat. For this reason, fiction authors often depict their characters as having mixed and conflicted emotions.
There may be a vulnerability to putting your heart on your sleeve, but there can also be a huge payback. When you’re an open book to your loved ones, they open up to you as well.
What moments in your life have aroused mixed emotions? Hint: There’s a comment field below….