“Stop being so emotional. It’s not a good look.” “What are you pouting about today?” “Oh! Look at Mr. or Ms I have no emotions!”. All of us at some point have either said or heard either of these phrases. But why is this even a thing?
We always tend to confuse emotions and feelings, assuming that they’re the same thing. But it’s not quite the same. With how complex we are, it’s no surprise that there’s so much to unpack! And seeing how many emotions this quarantine has me feeling, let’s just talk about it.
How Are You Today?
The thought of whether emotions and feelings are the same things has always crossed my mind, but I never looked into it until now. While many of us can feel emotions, not every emotion is a feeling.
I can almost see you rolling your eyes at me and going “What’s the point?”. Well, we’re always talking about how “you have too many feelings” or “how are you so unemotional?”. I’ve come to realise that with people, you can never win. So why am I talking about emotions and feelings today?
As I said, this quarantine has me feeling a fuck ton of emotions, and I’m not too sure how to feel about that. From being incredibly happy, to anxious, to sad, to downright pissed, and then back to happy; I can definitely say I am over it! But it got me thinking about how all of this could come across to most people.
There have been days where I would complain about people not giving a shit about me and my emotions, but if someone actually tries talking to me, I can’t be arsed. And even though I’d like to say otherwise, this behaviour can be extremely toxic. Actually, scratch that, it is toxic. “You’re not the only one who feels this way, Simone!”. Yes, I know I’m not. Which is exactly why I wanted to break this down and talk about how most would perceive this and how movies and television have helped bring light to it in recent years.
This might come to you as a surprise, but I hate talking about my emotions or feelings. I always run away from it, which is ridiculous because I love writing about how I feel. Not only do I hate discussing it, but every time someone called me emotional, I’d always cringe. Because in my mind, that meant that I was soft and vulnerable. And I hated that.
Up until recently, I would always feel weak and sappy. Anytime I would come close to breaking down due to an anxiety attack or straight up frustration, I’d try finding a space to myself. Just so I wouldn’t look like an easy target for people around me.
But I made a new friend last year (Hi Durgesh!), who not only taught me that it’s okay to have emotions, but he also was one of the first people I could pour my heart out to without being judged. Not only has that helped with managing my emotions better (not really), it also made me understand that expressing how you feel isn’t that bad. It’s just who you do it to!
But talking about unhealthy ways of handling your emotions, I’ve recently come across characters from my favourite shows who I relate to!
“Bring Me a Bud Light!”
Even though this isn’t what happened, with how the Russo brothers portrayed him, this is probably what he was aching to say instead! Thor has been one of our favourites from the original six for various reasons, but after Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok; everyone fell in love with the dorky Asgardian God of Thunder.
Despite having an oddly smart head on his shoulders, he didn’t think of going for the head. And that is when the hat dropped because ‘The Snappening’ changed everything. After having lost his whole family, numerous Asgardians, half of the world, and most of his friends; he developed what I would call depression and PTSD.
I get that everyone deals with their emotions differently, but it was a shock to see how the Russo brothers decided to go down the usual “fit to fat” route. And while we did get glimpses of a sad, depressed Thor. It was just for a bunch of terrible gags. But Thor just was a sad, broken man who needed his friends to tell him that it wasn’t his fault. But what he got in return was Raccoon slapping him out of a terrible panic attack, and constantly being ridiculed for his weight.
While he did redeem himself in the end, it was never really acknowledged. It felt like the only reason they were trying to highlight it was because of how popular his character was, but they didn’t do it any justice. And even though it felt like they did a good job, many Marvel fans thought otherwise. Not only did this portrayal get a lot of flack, but many took offence because they didn’t showcase his mental health correctly.
From the minute we lay eyes on him, all we see is a broken man. But the only redeeming quality is when Thor gets to see Frigga, his mother. In what was already an incredibly emotional scene, we get to see Thor blurt out “I’m still worthy!” when he calls for Mjolner. Many considered this to be a tear-jerking, heartbreaking scene, solely because when Thor was at his lowest, this was all the encouragement he needed. This was a sign of how he is still worthy, and he still mattered.
“Don’t Make Me An Optimist, You Will Ruin My Life.”
For someone who enjoys watching quirky shows, I nearly missed out on this gorgeous piece. Thank god for friends who suggest offbeat shows, because you wouldn’t want to miss this one!
With just two seasons, Waller-Bridge manages to make us all collectively lose our shit. In some fucked up way, all of us resemble Fleabag a little. From snarky comebacks to being trapped in her mind. This show manages to shed light on how some might deal with their grief.
The first thing we see when we meet Fleabag is her love for piercing through the fourth wall. And even though we’ve just met, we soon realise how she is a trainwreck! After losing her best friend in what she calls an “Accidental Suicide”, we find out that she’s left with a failing cafe and a guinea pig she got Boo (her best friend). Even though she is struggling to put her life back together, we watch it blow up in her face by the end of season 1.
In season 2, we find her doing a little better. Not only is the cafe doing good, but she seems to be cordial with her family. Well, kind of. We follow an extremely complicated love story, see her come to terms with her guilt, and find her at her lowest point, delivering the most heartbreakingly relatable monologue I’ve heard. And even though she ends up nursing her broken heart towards the end, we watch her walk away smiling through the tears, bidding adieu.
So if things worked out well, why are we talking about her? Because even though she was grieving in her way; to most people, it could come out as toxic, or just arrogant. I related to her on most things, and even I thought she was toxic.
But Fleabag showcases a very normal way of dealing with grief and pain. Most of us take the route of sarcasm and bottling up our emotions, and this is exactly what she did. Even though she barely spoke about what bothered her, we always saw glimpses of how ‘broken’ she was. And while some people were left unsatisfied with her monologue, it showed how far she had come. Not only did she pour her heart out, but she willingly opened herself up to someone else’s critique and talked about what she truly wanted. And that is growth!
Fleabag shows us that it’s okay to process things the way you want, as long as you hold yourself accountable. But it also gave us pointers on how to be snarky, and I will take it!
“I Think I’m Adorable!”
We now come to my favourite character, Dean Michael Winchester. This incredibly sassy, overconfident, cocky man has my heart. But even though it seems like everything is fine on the outside, the inside looks like hell; quite literally!
For a show that’s been on for as long as Supernatural; I don’t need to say it. But I will because I don’t need any bad karma in my life!
Sam and Dean Winchester have been through enough shit to give everyone PTSD. With dying multiple times, locking Lucifer up, finding out God is a dick, to cheating death and pulling a reverse Uno on him.
There are so many instances where we find Dean trying to be the ideal big brother by keeping his pain and anxiety to himself. But the one season I vividly remember him falling apart was right after he came back from hell. The nightmares and the pain was a little too much for him to handle.
He’s had failed relationships, lost both his parents and father figure twice, watched Sam and Cass die multiple times, and had to deal with failing to protect Charlie and Jack. Dean has had his fair share of self-doubts and self-hate. But we’ve watched him bounce back every single time.
But the only reason I wanted to talk about Dean was, the way he handles himself doesn’t seem healthy. Even though the argument about ghosts and demons being real leans towards being not plausible, him being suicidal, self-righteous, and just incredibly depressed is very very real. None of us is going to come across a similar situation, but each of us has in some way experienced grief and have dealt with it in a similar way.
As Supernatural comes to an end, we see a cocky, sassy, happy man grow into a cocky, sassy, broken man who’s just had enough. And even though this isn’t the character development we were looking for, we have to learn to live with it; just like Dean has.
“Peace Out, Virgin”
And we finally get to talk about the character that made me grind my teeth the most, Devi Vishwakumar from Never Have I Ever.
We meet Devi the day before she returns to school after a traumatising Freshman year. You’re probably wondering why would that be fun to watch? But this American comedy-drama follows the complicated life of a first-generation Indian-American teenager, which frankly is something I haven’t come across. While highlighting a few Indian traditions and stereotypes, it also breaks many damaging Asian stereotypes that the audience has seen before.
Devi hits us with the news of her father’s passing from the get-go, and we watch this sassy Indian teen battle her emotions while trying to find validation in school. We meet her mother and the stereotypical perfect cousin that she hates on her way to school. But once she gets there, we get to meet her best friends, her arch-nemesis, and her crush. However, we soon realise that the trauma wasn’t just physical but psychological as well.
Devi seems to be the perfect example of someone who cannot see anything beyond their pain and issues. While a supportive friend doesn’t always have to be around you all the time, Devi expected Eleanor and Fabiola to be there for her whenever she wanted. Yet, when they expected her to deliver, she failed to do so on more than one occasion. If you’re unsure about what a support system looks like, you can listen to this episode from Life’s Lineup.
Devi is the only one out of the characters I’ve listed that seeks therapy. But we soon find out that she isn’t using it for the reason she was assigned it. And this is quite evident throughout the whole of season 1. She goes out of her way to avoid thinking about her father, but every time she is forced to, she breaks down. Even though we see her embrace the idea of his passing towards the end of the season, It just goes to show that some just take a little longer to come around.
Hooked On A Feeling
Grief has enveloped us at some point. However, regardless of how bad situations have been, we’ve all dealt with it differently. But while we try processing the hurt and work towards healing, most of us have tried looking for moral support to just keep pushing.
Grieving can be incredibly painful, but adding loneliness into the mix is just a recipe for disaster. My knee jerk reaction has always been reaching out to friends who I think can genuinely help me feel better. And while they have, most of them have been incredible and have suggested that I get help. Even though that’s great advice, I continue to ignore them.
However, it’s made me realise that I’ve never thought of relying on myself in need. I’m always looking for someone to listen, help me come to a conclusion, or just help me out every time I feel like I’m drowning. And it’s made me think. How am I supposed to help others in their time of need when I’m not even capable of helping myself?
I often ice people out by telling them “I’ll deal with it”, but I do that by having multiple anxiety attacks, crying into my pillow, and just overthinking every possible thing in my life. This is unhealthy, but I genuinely regret not working on helping myself better. There’s so much wrong with how I handle myself and my issues, but that’s just me.
Every single one of us has different ways of dealing with our emotions, and while there is no wrong way of coping, find the least toxic and more helpful option for you. While self-help is a good choice, therapy can help you move towards the path of healing.
If you’ve struggled with dealing with your emotions, don’t let anyone tell you to hide them or bottle them up. That is not the right way to approach that situation. Let me know how you’ve dealt with some of your emotions in the past. And if you want to check out more of my work, you can find them here!