Not Just a Choice But a Feeling

2.08.2013 -
I just sit and stare. My mind blank and my heart not sure what emotion to deal with first.
This is what the last seven days has been like. My birthday ended another war, or the war, started back again. More battles to fight.

I have been avoiding this last week. Something inside me has walled back up yet again. I haven't even wanted to try. I have felt completely exhausted with Sam and I. One thing I have learned and that is joy and happiness only comes when you deal with the negative first. You can not push aside the hurt, pain, anger, confusion; stuff it away; and make yourself find happiness in life and focus on the positive. Plaster on that smile and skip throughout your days.
If you numb one thing you numb everything. If you numb the ugly you numb the beautiful.
That has been this week.
Two steps forward and one step back. One giant step back.
A huge victory last week and now injured and fighting through yet another battle.

Sam and I have been the facing us battles lately. I spent a year in therapy working on myself and am far from done but things have begun turning to our marriage now. And it's scary and hard. The horrible, terrifying reality of what it is and what it has been. How it started and why it started. How my hurt and pain has affected us. How my trauma has affected out marriage and relationship. As our 5 year anniversary approaches the dread and knots that take my breath away make me kinda want to skip that day and REALLY pretend we aren't married yet. A clean unknown slate between us to start from.
A couple days ago I pulled up my evernote and started trying to write from the beginning. Trying to write out and sort through our  story and after less than a paragraph I utterly shattered into a million pieces. I can't even see it as a love story right now. More of a "controlled-feardriving-fake-following the rule book-courtship story of how two people somehow managed to end up together and I was able to escape my hellish home by marrying him story. It ain't purty. It's freaking plain ugly. It's a darn painful disaster.
I was taught love was not a feeling. It was a choice. Love isn't about passion or attraction or connection. Feelings always went to the back burner. Emotional connection was bad. Since I wasn't to feel I found myself going into complete silence. Putting on my mask and literally unable to find the words to explain anyways what I was experiencing inside. And half the time I didn't know what was even going on inside because I didn't understand or know "feelings" anyway. I was scared. Scared of my parents, of others, of the power that hovered over me and around me. And the times I did work up the courage to try and express I had something going on inside I was shut down quickly with harsh words or correcting lines of what I SHOULD be "saying", "doing" and "feeling".

As Elizabeth Ester puts it in one of her blog posts:
"I truly began to believe my husband didn’t really love me and/or that I was inherently unlovable. I mean, I knew he loved me. But I didn’t feel it. There was a huge disconnect. As long as love stayed up in an ivory tower making highly-intellectual pronouncements about love being a DECISION of the MIND!, a fulfillment of DUTY! and a KEEPING OF THE VOWS!–I could not connect. I tried. Oh, how I tried. But something was missing. 
This constant disconnection led to the worst consequence of all. I became deeply, horribly depressed. I wanted to die. In fact, dying looked like a blessed relief. Dying meant an end to the constant pain of living without feelings of love. I really thought something was terribly wrong with me–spiritually, morally and physically. I mean, what was so wrong with me that I couldn’t just BELIEVE and make a DECISION OF THE WILL and CHOOSE to love? It seemed to work for everybody else! WHY couldn’t I just get with the program? Was there some sort of unconfessed sin in my life? Had God maybe predestined me for Hell? 
The damage of ignoring, suppressing, shaming and denying our human emotions is one of the most hardest and painful things to change and heal from.
What I have learned is that when it comes to love, separating feelings of love from actions of love is a false dichotomy. We are human beings, we are not disembodied spirits. Our feelings and emotions are just as much a part of us as is our mind, will and intellect. And it is dangerous to compartmentalize, separate and shut-down ANY part of our humanness. 
I’ve also learned that loving actions don’t just appear out of nowhere. They are sourced from loving feelings. Yes, it’s important to behave lovingly even if we don’t feel loving. However, to say that love isn’t a feeling AT ALL but ONLY an action is to unintentionally degrade the importance of loving feelings. It is the kind of teaching that falsely elevates the importance of the mind over the importance of our God-given human emotions.
Love is first a feeling AND then actions come.
Love is first a passion AND then sacrifice.
Love is first attraction AND then commitment follows.
Love is first an adjective AND then a verb.
Love is first word AND then deed.
Love isn’t JUST a choice.
Love is also a feeling.
So the hard part is now trying to learn how to switch it all. Because everything I knew, know, was taught about love, life, myself, emotions, spirituality, living; taught was truth, was a damn lie.

Facing it all is slow. We have started to tear down the unstable walls that were building up our marriage to get back at the rotten foundation but I think this job is going to be a long one. Honestly it feels like we are trying sweep up an extremely dusty room and all we are doing is stiring up the dust and chocking on it instead of getting it into the dustpan. I get the feeling we're going to be here a while just trying to clean up to before we can even start on our foundation again. It's a sinking sandy mess.