What do your emotions look like?

God's Country

Looks like home to me.

I was reading this fascinating article on the neuro-physiology of metaphors (no really, it’s awesome.  read it.), and buried in the middle was this delightful digression about a book that describes emotions.  Describes is too vague.  It personalizes emotions.  To the book’s author,J. Ruth Gendler:

Anxiety is secretive. He does not trust anyone, not even his friends, Worry, Terror, Doubt and Panic … He likes to visit me late at night when I am alone and exhausted. I have never slept with him, but he kissed me on the forehead once, and I had a headache for two years …


Compassion speaks with a slight accent. She was a vulnerable child, miserable in school, cold, shy … In ninth grade she was befriended by Courage. Courage lent Compassion bright sweaters, explained the slang, showed her how to play volleyball.

Fantastic stuff, huh?  This got me to thinking about what my own emotions would look like if they all staggered in, one by one, like a police line up.

Happiness would definitely be eating gelato, Worry would certainly be looking at her bank balance, and Content would be sitting on a pier somewhere and dipping his toes in the water of a lake.

My emotions are not nearly as fleshed out as J. Ruth Gendler’s, but I’m doing mine off the top of my head.  Maybe I can make that a recurring blog topic for those times when I’m struggling to come up with something to say.

Right now, Sleepy is a boy lying in bed with his dog draped across his legs, typing when he should be closing his eyes.

**I had to include the original comments to this blog post because they are too precious to lose.**

“…and I had a headache for two years…” That’s brilliant. I also like the image at the pier. For me, Happy would be watching Beauty and the Beast with my sister (now deceased), and Sad would be watching it alone.
Monday, November 15, 2010 – 12:56 AM
Amazing expression.  Happiness would be at dinner with my daughters, discussing the events of the day, finding humor in the mundane…so much laughter that tears flow freely.
Monday, November 15, 2010 – 07:30 AM
happiness is…
giving~~ giving genuine smiles, ‘just because’ gifts, compliments where credit is due, or giving something your all resulting in conquered success.
Monday, November 15, 2010 – 09:01 AM
I’d say confidence is big dangly earrings and tall boots over jeans…happiness curled up with three little boys reading goodnight moon…accomplished is sweaty and red-faced as she just ran five miles.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010 – 07:18 PM

About Josh Hartsell

34, 3L law student, Boren Fellow in Korea, internationalist, former ex-pat.

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