I know, feelings as a privilege? Monumental asshole statement. But let me finish. Feelings are a curse because they can drive you crazy, make you feel terrible, and make you hurt other people.

But from another perspective, they are what make you human, and so, yes, it is gross, but perhaps you should talk to someone about them. Can’t guarantee they’ll listen – let’s be real – but that is not always the point. If you are brave enough to acknowledge them to someone else, you may finally be able to realise those feelings for yourself.

I just had a conversation that shook me to the core. It was bold, terrifying, relaxing, heartwarming, confusing, upsetting, and the most refreshing and unsettling aftermath is the feeling I am left with.

Sometimes through the school year you go through one of those ‘patches’ – you know the ones – where you are down in the dumps and you can’t tell if you are feeling nothing or if you are feeling so much, too much. But me and this anonymous conversational partner agreed without a word that the conversation was not necessarily necessary, yet entirely vital.

Once in a while you get the opportunity to be vulnerable, and, whether you like it or not, you may release a pent-up cog in your brain machine you didn’t quite know was bothering you. Take it from someone who feels the most relieved in a long while, being vulnerable enough to share your feelings pays off for you.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s embarrassing in some ways, but once you get over that you can take a big SIGH as you step back and wonder why you hadn’t done it sooner.

I’m begging you, be vulnerable. Practice it, learn it, strive to be vulnerable. Because not only does it help you, but (bonus points!) you will most likely help someone else in the process. It may seem an obvious statement, and it is certainly harder than it looks, but really – it is okay to cry in front of someone.

Not going to lie, it might not always seem appropriate and you may feel like an idiot afterwards, but with the bonus of releasing that pent-up frustration (whether it be voluntarily or not), comes an opportunity for your ‘breakdown viewers’ to realise or be reinforced with the fact that it is okay to show emotions.

Of course, this is easier said than done and you can’t force yourself to let go or to feel, but personally, dear reader, I think you should try your best. I can assure you, as pretentious as this article may sound, I do not feel all high-and-mighty now that I’ve undergone my emotional debut, if you will.

Yet for your own sake and your own sanity, perhaps you should recognise your feelings as a privilege, because the victory of harnessing them in any little way is a humungous cause for your own wee celebration. But to achieve such a feeling first takes guts, so let’s see what you’ve got.

Sarah Hughes is a Year 13 student at Freyberg High School in Palmerston North.


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