In high school, people would often comment on how I always seemed happy, how I would always have a smile on my face. I took pride in that. I am someone who cares deeply about what people think of me. I want people to think I am kind and sweet and positive. I do not ever want to be a drain on people — thus, I rarely let my negative feelings out in social situations.
Any negative emotion is kept close to my chest. I refuse to express sadness or rage. A bit of this comes from being a woman. Womens’ negative emotions are never looked upon kindly. Sadness equates to melodrama. Anger equates to hysteria. Because I have a deep, burning need for people to always like me, I cannot risk being viewed as overemotional. I need to be a “Cool Girl.”
This left me stifled. Outside of very close friends and ex-partners, I would rarely explore the negative emotions within me. That was not healthy. Emotion is human. And negative emotion is essential to being human. Intense, strong, and dark emotions have served as the catalyst for revolution. It is a necessity that I allow myself opportunities to feel them.
The Campus Times Opinions section provided me a safe space, a written outlet where I could delve into my sadness and anger without feeling like a burden. The Opinions section has allowed me to feel and express the emotions that make me uncomfortable.
My first Opinions article focused on my ire and disgust at a former friend of mine who blamed affirmative action for her rejection from Stanford University. It felt cathartic to be able to get that out, and that catharsis got me addicted to the Opinions section — any time I was annoyed or angered or saddened, I would turn to the CT.
The Opinions section has become a close friend of mine. She knows everything about me. She is my diary (with just a tad bit of censorship). I often forget that the pieces I write will be read by other people. But I am glad that they are. I am glad that in some capacity, I am able to outwardly express dark emotions. My pieces have brought me friendship.
The first time I met one of my friends, he brought up a depressing article I had written on my experience being a commuter. His only impression of me was based on that singular article, where I melodramatically lamented about missing out on the true college experience, and I was mortified. It was rare that people’s first impressions of me were based on negative emotions. I dreaded what he thought of me.
But I had no reason to. He did not judge me as some sorrowful human Eeyore — he saw me as a person with feelings. When we became friends after that, it became much easier for me to share my sadness and anger with him because that was the foundation of our friendship.
The Opinions section has taught me that it is okay for me to feel emotions from every corner of the human experience. I am grateful for the Opinions section.
Thank you CT, for giving me a space to trauma dump.