All The Feels

In 2012, I wrote a post called Oh, Yeah? Observe This. It’s a recap of all the complicated, messy emotions I’d been feeling that day.

These past few weeks have been challenging ones for David and I. Intellectually, we know that everything is great. Really great. We fulfilled a long-time goal to move to Prague, and so far, it’s as awesome as we hoped it would be. So my logical-brain knows we are fine. But you know how some people need to learn to get in touch with their emotions? I’m  not one of those people.

I feel all the feels all the time.

One of the things I learned in therapy, meditation, and yoga is to observe my emotions. It’s a pretty cool trick! I just kind of take a mental step back, focus on the feeling, give it a label, and figuratively turn it over in my hands to examine and explore it. That way, I can deeply feel and recognize the emotion without becoming a slave to it, without (over)reacting. Or, at least, that’s the goal.

I have been suuuuuper moody lately—like a teenage girl who’s happily twirling and hugging you one minute, then stomping off in a huff to slam a door behind her the next. So, in the interest of sharing and cleaning out the muck in my brain (and my heart), here’s how I’m feeling today.

Annoyed with myself. I know I feel so much better when I get out of bed and meditate right away. Why did I skip it this morning? (And why am I not doing it right now?)

Frumpy. The weather in Prague today is gray (again), rainy (again), and cold (again). It makes me want to shuffle around the house in my squishy pants. Which I’m doing. Which makes me feel frumpy.

Worried. I had my first visit with an endocrinologist here, and one of the medications I need isn’t available in the Czech Republic.

Melancholy. It was recently the anniversary of having my thyroid removed, and that—on top of the less-than-empowering visit to the doctor—has me re-living the fear, sorrow, and discomfort of losing that stupid, vital, annoying, tiny, powerful gland.

Shaky. I’m usually pretty resilient, but this year has been challenging in every way: professionally, personally, and in dealing with the external world.

Disgusted. I marched in the Women’s March in New York last January, and I’m having a tremendously hard time dealing with my disappointment, shame, disgust, and outrage around American politics.

Physically strong. Six weeks ago, I committed to a workout-meditation-walking-yoga schedule, and there are Xs all over my calendar that show I’ve stuck to my plan. I’ve been hitting the heavy bag at least once a week at the gym, and it’s very cathartic.

Sad. I’m heartened by the fact that so many men who’ve abused their power are now being held accountable, but I’m very sad for the women who were their victims (and continue to be)—and for all of us, living in a world where this behavior is so common.

Challenged. Czech lessons continue apace, and when we learn a new grammar rule or a new chunk of vocabulary, I worry that the new stuff will displace the things I learned last week.

Excited. Our niece is coming to visit on her winter break from college, and I can’t wait to see her.

Festive. Christmas music is playing on Spotify right now, the Christmas Markets in Prague are open, an ice skating rink opens in Letna Park tomorrow, and on Tuesday, we’re going to Old Town Square to celebrate Mikulaš Night.

A little giddy. I’m working on a new Jane Eyre-related project, and it’s bringing me a lot of joy. The project is completely different from recipe development and food writing, and when I work on it, time just…. poof! evaporates.

Thirsty. I haven’t been drinking enough water.

Tender. I’m trying to keep my heart open, to go easy on myself and others, and to lead with compassion. Note that I said “trying.”

And now I will meditate.

How are you feeling these days?

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  • Rayn says:

    I just published my own version of this post…maybe it has something to do with the time of year! I’ve been following you since your Crossfit in Austin days, and all along, I’ve most appreciated your honesty and candor. Thank you for being both a complete bad-ass, and also sharing feelings! Your posts always make me feel better. Rayn

  • Claire says:

    Thank you for your candor! I have been a regular on your blog since doing a Whole30 earlier this year, and I just appreciate you so much. I share your frustration with current events and hope that some positive change can come out of this mess. Take care!

    • Thank you for commiserating with me—and congratulations on tackling the Whole30 this year. Good for you! Hope you have a wonderful holiday season and best wishes heading into 2018!

  • Mike says:

    I can relate to what you’ve said here. Thank you for sharing your feelings, I know it’s not always easy. I find myself procrastinating a lot lately, and it has me down on myself. I’m also running into issues with my wife that have me down. She’s burnt out on this healthy lifestyle that I’m trying so hard to adopt for good. She was with me every step of the way through our first Whole 30 in Sept-Oct, but now she’s not feeling it anymore. She feels like she’s being cheated out of Christmas cookies, etc. It’s making me feel guilty, like I’m depriving her of happiness or something. My brain knows this is overly dramatic, but my feelings take over and i just can’t escape the feeling I’m letting her down in some way. that’s something I never wanted to do. I’m off to the gym now, in hopes that a good workout will lift my spirits. I would like to start a meditation program as well. Thanks for giving me a place to share my feelings, as well as you being so honest about yours! Mike

    • Hi, Mike! I hope your workout helped elevate your feelings a little bit! Sending compassion and patience to you and your wife—food stuff is tricky business, especially around the holidays. Be kind and gracious with each other; change takes time and the holidays are packed with challenges. And be easy with yourself, too. Procrastination is often a sign of being stressed and overcommitted, another thing that happens this time of year 🙂 Sending all warm feelings and good wishes to you and your wife.

  • Marcia Cohl says:

    can the US consulate help you find access to the meds
    you need??? This is so important–health is the Base
    for everything…wishing you well!

  • Julie says:

    Hang in there, Mel. You are living my dream. That’s easy to say and not terribly helpful given your emotions. It’s like I invalidated your emotions right there. Hm. Well, I just wanted to say Hang in There and thank you very much for your marvelous recipe collections. There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t make something from one of your books. So, if that helps you at all, I will say it again: thank you.

  • Romanlily says:

    I admire your self-awareness, and your capacity to tease out all the different flavors in this big pot of gumbo. You’ve taken on some huge challenges this year, and it makes complete sense that you’re experiencing All the Feels now.

    Also, I totally salute you for having a chart with lots of Xs. That’s really inspiring, and something I need to try for myself. Brava!

  • Marie says:

    Thank you for your authenticity. Many skip the process of feeling deeply, especially the yucky emotions, but I’ve always said, “feel it through”. Although painful at times, it’s the only way to grow in compassion and tenderness toward others and ourselves. Give yourself lots of grace in the process.

    • Thank you, Marie! We learned in therapy that you can’t pick and choose which emotions to mute. If you want to feel all the good ones, you’ve got to roll with the negative ones, too. I actually like it, even though it can be difficult 🙂

  • HOlly says:

    Thanks for sharing, Mel! I FEEL you 100%! I just wrote a journal entry that was SO SIMILAR to your post, so it’s nice to be reminded that other awesome women experience this emotional discombobulation too! Hope you’re feeling back to your balanced, happy self soon!

  • Amy says:

    Mel, I think you should look into light therapy. It might not help you, and if it does it might not solve all issues, but likely you are getting past the brand new all exciting aspects of the total culture move/change, and trying to find your new normal of life and routine. It might help your ‘feelings’ swings with this time of year and shorter daylight. Thanks for being honest and open. I love your blog and read it, just my first comment.

  • Morten says:

    Here’s my Christmas playlist:
    Hope you enjoy it =)

  • Beckie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I am feeling all of those same things…ALL THE FEELINGS!

    After a steady diet of sad, worried, and annoyed with myself, I am least happy to be feeling other things. I have been working on observing my feelings. It is a very simple concept and yet it seems so incredibly difficult.

    I am making a commitment to get back to my yoga practice and finally start a regular meditation practice. I know that it will help me to be more centered and focused on the now instead of focusing on what might come next or what happened yesterday.

    Thank you for your inspiration!

  • Ina says:

    I hear you. Thank you for sharing and reminding me that analyzing ALL THE FEELS in this way is a good brain clean-out. I am feeling inspired to do a similar thing in my journal tonight. Thank you for being an inspiration. And for being such an inspiration in my meal planning every week. I echo what someone else said; your recipes are featured in every weekly meal in my house.

    • As painful as it can be to do the cataloguing of feels, at some point, it really does start to feel better. It’s like Q-tips for the brain 🙂

      I’m so glad the recipes are helpful! Thank you very much for reading and being part of the Well Fed crew.

  • Erika says:

    Thank you for your candor and for producing such wonderful blog posts and recipes over the years. You are a great inspiration because you are a great human and part of that includes being vulnerable – it just lets us know how truly human you are. In case we couldn’t tell from your glorious food and your very friendly and approachable books. I hope smudge can help take some of the edge off of the low points! And I have heard that being an ex-pat can be quite a challenge at times, as exciting as it can also be. Sometimes apparently it’sjust kind of overwhelming! Best of luck with your health, and lots of hugs to you.

  • Erika says:

    PS, I still love that old post of yours about using the bar to battle the demon at the bottom of the back squat. It totally changed the way I look at lifting.

  • Jennifer Thomas says:

    Hi Mel! You are such a ninspiration ,and I really needed to read that post to get myself back in the groove. I know it is hard to see if what we do makes a difference, but your post made a ripple in the big world pond.
    BTW, I lived abroad in Hong Kong for a couple years and I commend you on all you are doing to make the most of your time. Embrace the culture and the people and all that there is to see and do. Good job and many blessings to you!

    • Thank you, Jennifer! I hope you’ve re-established your groove and are feeling good. I’m much better than last week—trying to be gentle with myself and remove excess stuff from our schedule so we can just be a bit. All the best to you. (Hong Kong! How was that? It seems like it would be very different than here and fascinating.)

  • Shelley Still says:

    Thank you for sharing and (hopefully) purging yourself of the feelings. I cried myself to sleep last night. In my apartment, I had an infestation of wolf spiders, upstairs neighbors who stomp, fight, scream and my manager is asking me if I want to give my notice to move. My 2 brothers and Husband are sorely missed and this time of year, while I am alone or not.. . .I miss them more, if that’s possible.

    You took a big step and I am with you on many of your disappointments and sadness at the state of Politics and humans. BUT. . . you are a bright light , shining out into the universe . We all have difficult times. They pass, they may come back and we will deal. I admire you in so many, many ways.
    My bright spot is taking my 2 1/2 year old little love bug to the movies tomorrow for his first time. Who will enjoy it more?
    I can’t meditate at home, I cannot even center myself enough with the racket that goes on from morning until 1:00 a.m. or later and this too shall pass.

    Sending you much light for the gray days and positive energy. By the way, you are allowed to feel how you feel. You aren’t allowed to beat yourself up for it. 🙂 As for that gland, the light and energy , along with a big ole HUG are headed right at you Miss Mel. xoxo

    • Oh, my goodness! It sounds like I need to come to your apartment and intimidate your neighbors into being quiet! Are things better now?

      Did you go to the movie? I’m curious about how that all went. Share when you have time!

      Thank you for the kind comments. I’m sending compassion your way—light and energy to you, too.

  • Dragon Lady says:

    Hang in, Sistah, there’s a beginning/middle/end to everything. Consider saying ‘just what I wanted’ to everything and note what happens to your emotion.