I have a habit of crying when I’m going through something. I mean, I’m a blogger. I should be able to use all of the adjectives, nouns, and adverbs to accurately express how I’m feeling before I get that upset, right? Lately, though, I’ve been having these overwhelming moments where it’s hard for me to separate my emotion from my narrative. It’s difficult for me to say what I really mean without adding some tears behind it.
Normally, this would be a journal post. It would just be a couple pages of scribbles before bed that I would sleep on and only think about when I went to therapy a month later. Normally, this wouldn’t make me think twice. But, I am. I’m thinking twice, three, even four times about this. Why is my mind so caught up on separating an emotional thought from an intellectual one? This week, I officially verbalized that my frustration is that I’ve never felt I could be emotional and intellectual at the same time – even though they are huge parts of who I am as a person. So, the question remains, can you really be intelligent and emotional at the same time?
Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve always been a little too smart for my own good. Take that at face value, of course. I didn’t graduate medical school at 14 or invent something to change the world, but I pride myself on being smart. I let everyone around me know from about the time that I could formulate words together.
After confirming with my parents, I would also say that I’m fiercely independent. So much so that I began to subconsciously believe that the things that my parents wanted me to succeed at were things that I did alone – swim, school, theatre. That’s a conversation we had behind closed doors, but we all agreed that I was obsessed with things that I could do all by myself and take all the glory for. I seem like a gem, right?
I didn’t start getting outwardly emotional until I felt it well up inside me and had nowhere to put it. Part of adolescence is learning how to effectively express your emotion without punching a hole through your wall or slamming your entire body on the floor. I failed in this area. Sure, maybe my behavior wasn’t as visible to the public eye, but my way of dealing with any emotion was to bottle it up, let it fester, and eventually let it come bursting out on whatever family member was closest.
I started using the phrase “I cry because I’m frustrated,” a lot throughout my late teens and very early 20s. I was especially using them in romantic relationships when prodded about why I was getting so upset. Essentially, I was telling my partner, the world, and anyone that would listen that when I’m emotional I’m not able to coherently speak my truth. Damn, did I believe that truth for so long.
Fast forward to a couple years later and my twenty third year of existence, I’m feeling more woke than ever. I feel more in touch with my emotions and my intelligence in ways that I never thought that I would before. There are moments, though, that make me realize there are still wounds from my past that still need a remedy. There are still issues that I need to realize, accept, speak out loud, and move on from.
Like I said before, I’ve been getting really emotional for reasons that seemingly go over my head. My dad recently said I’ve been “overreacting” and I reacted as if he called me the worst curse name in the book. I couldn’t understand what triggered me in that scenario to make me SO upset.
You can look through my blog feed and learn a little bit about a past relationship that shaped who I am as a person today. I feel so strong and healthy that it’s hard to imagine that there’s still realizations for me to make about why I said or did something all those years ago. There are still connections that I can make to help me better understand myself in all of my relationships.
In those formative years, I thought that I had to make a clear distinction between emotion and intelligence. Every time I let a tear escape my water line, my argument suddenly became a little less valid. When conversations needed to be had, it was to be done without tears and without too much emotion behind my words. Twenty year old Emily began to link emotion to weakness and intelligence to strength. I started to hold my tongue when I knew the tears were coming. I started to question my intelligence if I felt anything in my head. Most of all, I started to question who I was as a person.
Now, my dad never taught me to think like this, nor did he mean any harm in saying that I was overreacting. But, he did unleash a dragon that felt like her intelligence and emotion could not coincide in the same castle – which absolutely destroyed me.
Let’s just get something abundantly clear here; and I’m saying this just as much for you as I am for me. I am a grown-ass, educated woman. I can properly express how I’m feeling because I know the words to do so, I’ve been practicing them since I was way too smart for my own age, remember? I don’t need anyone to write my narrative for me or tell the world how they think I feel. Got it? That being said, I am a grown-ass, educated woman! So, me crying because I feel bad does not diminish my intelligence level. If I feel the urge to cry, I can cry! If I feel the need to scream, I can scream! Having emotion does not equate to a lower intelligence level, nor does it make your argument weaker.
You know you’ve felt that prickle behind your eyes of tears at exactly the wrong time, but what exactly makes it the wrong time? Tears can help us put up clear boundaries of where our heart and minds want to go, even when society is pushing us to keep going. Tears can help signal to the world that you fucking care! Tears can tell stories that sometimes, even all the words in the dictionary can’t be strung together to tell. You, my beautiful reader, are not less because of the emotion that you let out of your body. It’s what you do with that emotion, how you harness it, and how you put it back into the world that makes or breaks you. Because emotion and intellect together, they are an extremely powerful thing.
So, I’m no scientist. I haven’t looked at the scans of a brain with all the colors to give an official answer. But, if I could put all my money on one argument it would be: Yes, you CAN be intelligent and emotional all at the same time. Furthermore, anyone that’s telling you otherwise is scared of how powerful you are when you are both… I’m just saying.
Have you ever had a problem separating your intellectual thought from your emotional ones? If so, why are you separating them? Get into the DMs of any of the socials below to tell me your story!
Edited by Vanessa Reza. Contact info can be found on the ‘Contact Me’ page.