Emotional Spectrum


It was my brother’s wedding the other weekend. My little baby brother all grown up and married. The day went off perfectly. It was belting hot, all our friends and family were there, the food was wonderful, the bride looked stunning and the groom scrubbed up pretty well too.

During the course of the day I realised that my emotions were taken on a fairly bumpy roller coaster. I’ve never realised it before, but weddings are really quite emotionally exhausting. (And physically exhausting for any woman’s feet who have remained inside a pinching pair of stilettos for almost 12 hours.) Here’s a timetable of my emotional spectrum throughout the day:

8.30am: wake up- tired and a little bit grumpy because of a headache
9.00am: breakfast- contented and happy catching up with family
10.30am: collecting the flowers- frustrated and annoyed at the traffic cutting a massive chunk out of my getting ready time
11.30am: lunch- starting to feel excited but had to eat quickly and doing other things as well for lack of time
11.45am: getting ready- feeling panicky and rushed because there’s too many people and too few mirrors
11.50am: doing hair- annoyed that my hair isn’t working the way I want and getting close to throwing a tantrum until my lovely Aunt comes to the rescue
12noon: set off for the church- hot and bothered and disappointed that getting ready wasn’t a lovely calm floaty event like it had  been in my head
12.15pm: arrive at the church- see my little brother in his suit for the first time and both of us start crying because it’s all suddenly so overwhelming
12.30pm: excited as people start arriving and feeling calm taking photos which is something I love to do
12.55pm: in seats waiting for it all to start- getting teary again with love watching my two lovely brothers (one was the best man) talking together and trying to remain calm
12.59pm: still waiting- can hardly breathe from the excitement of it all and every time I try to speak I think I’m going to cry
1pm: music starts and whispers of ‘she’s here’ go round the church- feel completely overwhelmed looking from my brother who’s standing stoically facing forward and looking back waiting for the first glimpse of my future sister-in-law
1.01pm: she’s in- I’m well and truly crying now, from joy, excitement, melancholy, overwhelmed and I don’t know what else.
1-2pm: the service- I swung between laughing, crying, so happy I think I will burst, overwhelmed with love for my family and something else that I can’t really describe about my little brother being married.

By the time we got to the end of the day and I finally fell into a lovely bed in the hotel I had added a whole range of emotions to the list around meeting people I haven’t seen for a long time, talking about the past, planning for the future, the speeches and dancing until my feet fell off. Weddings are an exhausting business!

I am in complete wonder at the human heart and mind that it is even possible to feel such things, let alone within the space of such a short time. I am reminded of the wonderful quote from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where Hermione is describing all the things that Cho is going through and Ron replies “one person can’t feel all that. They’d explode.” The things is that we don’t explode do we? Even when we feel things so keenly that we feel like we might. We have no choice but to let time pass and then the emotions do too. Or at least they change and evolve. I cried when my brother got married, but although I still feel the same emotions about it as I did last week, I’m not still crying. That’s not sustainable.

I sometimes think of emotions as a spectrum. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to describe them as spectra. It is possible to feel multiple emotions at once, and those emotions can move up and down a scale in intensity. I know that not everyone in the world is as ’emotional’ as me. As Hermione so graciously responded to Ron’s comment “just because you’ve got the emotional range of a teaspoon…” People feel things differently and the way that people show or deal with what they feel is different too. It’s hard to learn that sometimes and it can be painful in relationships when we realise that our emotional lives are different. But this is part of what makes us human, and even though I sometimes hate the fact that I feel things so deeply, sometimes things that don’t even seem that important, I am learning to accept and eventually love my emotions because they are part of what makes me, me.


One thought on “Emotional Spectrum

  1. Wonderful day – described well. I’m an over-sensitive person and can relate to what you’ve written. However, regarding your comment at the end on feeling annoyed or frustrated about events that we wish wouldn’t (and know shouldn’t) upset us, we also have the advantage of benefitting from events that others don’t notice or feel because they’re of too low intensity to spur a reaction in them. Life’s a great roller coaster.

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