Although I am incredibly neat and organized in my home and classroom, at times, my life can feel like a messy room. Just like a hoarder’s home filled with useless items that pile up to the ceiling causing no space to live, so can an emotional life feel when you hoard past pains and hurts. When we don’t deal with these unwanted emotions right away they seem to have a way of stacking up and causing our life to feel a mess. Sometimes we have to stop what we are doing and ‘clean up’ our mess. Let me explain it this way…
I love metaphors. I will use a metaphor that all of you can relate to. Imagine that you open the door to your bedroom and it is a disaster! You have clothes, water bottles, food wrappers, and dirty dishes everywhere. You think to yourself, “How did I let it get so bad, I have to clean this mess up! I can’t live like this any longer”. So you begin the daunting task of cleaning. At first it is overwhelming, you don’t know where to begin. So you simply start by picking up the junk on the floor. You get overwhelmed by the thought of the task ahead of you and you say to yourself, “I should just shove everything in the closet and hide it”. But you know that the closet is not big enough and it would only be a quick fix. If you don’t do it the right way now you will have to deal with the mess later. So you begin to sort through the mess. You get rid of the clutter by throwing broken things away and keeping the good stuff. Cleaning up will stir up memories…you might stop at times to look at stuff that makes you smile because of happy memories, or look at things that make you cry because of painful memories. But nonetheless you continue on until the room is all clean and orderly.
When it is all done, you lay back in your bed and look around at your spotless room. You feel proud and you enjoy your hard work! You did it, what a great feeling! You tell yourself, “I’m going to keep it this way. I will stay on top of my mess instead of letting it all pile-up. I’ll never let it get that bad again”.
It is the same with our emotional lives. When bad things come our way we have a choice. We can let our painful feelings pile up or shove them in the closet (so to speak), only to have to deal with it later.
On a daily basis, many of you come to me with emotional pains such as parents divorcing, financial struggles, parents who are incarcerated or parents and siblings with alcohol and drug dependency. I have one student who is homeless and sleeping at the beach every night. He was keeping a bag of clothes in my storage closet. I have many who are living in homeless shelters and foster facilities. Where do you put all that pain and disappointments? Do you push it away and don’t deal with it because it is just too difficult to face, allowing it to pile up…like a hoarder’s house? Do you start to drink and/or get involved with drugs to mask the pain? One thing that I know to be true, you eventually will have to deal with it; now or later...but how?
I’ll tell you how, you reach out to someone who can help you. You talk. You open up. Trust me, as I type all of this to you I am convicted in my heart that in the past I did not open up to others about my pain. I kept it all to myself and I suffered. It was not until I learned the ‘art’ of opening up and dealing with my pain and disappointments that I really started to live a victorious and happy life.
It's tough. Life is tough. However, there are many resources available to you here at Ely to help you. There are many teachers, coaches, social workers and staff members that are here for you as well. Trust me...we think that we are the only ones going through stuff but once we open up to others we find out that many have walked the same path that you are walking right now and they made it (with help). I love you guys. Now, go clean up your rooms! LOL, Ms. B.