If it were up to me, I’d tell my feelings to do a rope-free climb like that guy in the Free Solo documentary, and I’d cross my fingers the whole time that they’d plummet to their demise.
Because guess what? I don’t always want to feel my feelings. They’re often part of an old story that I’d rather not look at, thank you very much.
But as annoying as I can find them, and as much as I sometimes wish they weren't there, I’ve learned that I need to feel my feelings. Because if I don’t, they find other ways to make themselves known. Like when I find myself shoving carbs in my face and over-eating, it’s usually because I’m trying to tamp down a feeling that’s trying to bubble up, and if I’d just let it to the surface and hang out with it, I might not have to eat every single Triscuit in North America.
I’m still learning to feel my feelings and welcome them in like a friend, instead of trying to shove them off rocky edifices. And it was a big part of the Lara's Life journey when I first started.
In Lara’s Life, I began simply by writing that it was possible for me to feel my feelings. If you want to, you can start there to.
[Your Name] feels her feelings.
If it’s helpful, you can also use this story prompt to give more detail to your character and how they let themselves feel their feelings:
[Your Name] is in a flower-filled field with blue skies above. In the middle of the field is a single metal lockbox. [Your Name] approaches it cautiously and lifts the lid, only to pull out a feeling she hasn’t wanted to acknowledge is there. Now that it’s out, [Your Name] looks at it. The feeling is [name of feeling] and [Your Name] decides to...
Expand the story by giving your character an opportunity to investigate the feeling like it was an object. Where did it come from? Does it have anything to say? What will your character do with it?
However you decide to do it, making your feelings part of your story will lead to a happier ending in the long run.
Many thanks to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI, Michigan chapter!) for hosting me as a guest on their blog talking about how the Hero's Journey is actually a template for real life. Link to the post is here if you'd like to give it a read!