I recently chanced to become a scholar for a Musical Theatre workshop. It was more than an answered prayer since I was just hoping to learn more about theatre for a cheap price, but God had me blown away with the 100% discount. Oh, You are amazing, Lord.
Anyway, there were activities that asked us to internalize and project heavy emotions like hatred, anger, annoyance, and a lot more. At first, I noticed that I easily found people and things funny and struggled at keeping and killing the laughs inside. The result of it was either a distorted face or shaking shoulders. I thought that it was just part of my being a jolly and peaceful person albeit I observed that my teacher disapproved this “lack of focus” in a subtle way.
So the workshop went on, and I found myself choosing light or happy characters when given the freedom and struggling when asked to portray otherwise. Soon, it had me reflecting. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I sustain such emotions?
I realized that I had recently been coping with hardships by pushing away what I perceived as “negative” or “heavy” emotions and replacing them with happy or positive ones. I would turn away at the sight of their peeking head. Well, it doesn’t sound wrong. But the workshop taught me, in a way, that it’s OK to accept and embrace sadness, anger, annoyance, etc., and that being true to what I feel – or myself – has a liberating effect. Sometimes, I should allow these emotions to swell in me, to furrow my brows, shed some tear, or just experience them in their full form because that’s the best way to know them and defeat them.
I also realized that feeling what I called “heavy” or “negative” emotions doesn’t make me less wise, less optimistic, or less trusting to God. It is normal to feel. Emotions usually come and then fade. You see, humans feel. Even animals too. It is all a gift, actually – happiness and sadness, love and indifference, fondness and hatred, ecstasy and rage… These “abstractions” are palpable in everything, and it makes life colorful. It makes life awesome.