Emotional Hangs is a podcast in which two fully grown men discuss their feelings. More specifically, the trials, troubles and tribulations of adult friendship, and the many offshoots of that. For a few more months my allocated age-group ends with the word teen, but I identify with the things the giant soft lumps Joe and Kurt discuss intimately and an entirely. And it’s brilliant.
There’s a certain level of painful repression people like me deal with when it comes to discussing our shit. I’ve personally always been a talker, someone who wants to spew on for hours and hours about my easy, difficult, simple, complicated brain, who wants someone to listen and nod their head and occasionally say things like “that sucks, bro.” Of course, I don’t do that very often, because I don’t want to waste peoples time, I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining about nothing which I very often am, and I don’t want to dig myself into a disgusting messy hole where me and everyone I love is stuck drowning in the juices of grumpiness and unhappiness. At the very least my friends give me a place to escape to, and it would be a real shame if that got stained by my depressing filth.
But like I say, I’m a talker. Talking helps me, and I wish I could do it more. Things build up in my brain until it just becomes silly, and the only way to get them away, temporarily at least, is to share them. Writing stuff down helps a little, and I fall back on that every now and then. Words put my feelings into perspective, especially when I can read how I felt a month, a year before. Feelings come and go and morph and change. Writing them down proves that.
But this podcast, in a twisted sort of way, has turned into another method of dealing with those feelings. When I can match my feelings to something they’re talking about, when I can hear the complicated, simple, difficult, easy troubles they face and find just a little bit of similarity, it validates my own stupid brain. I feel a tad better about not feeling great all the time even despite everything good going on, even despite my general lack of health issues, even despite my pretty great family and pretty great friends and pretty great opportunities. I complain, even despite all that, and I feel terrible about it. But this podcast lets me feel a little less terrible. They’re down to earth people with down to earth problems that they chat about, with each other, and with me, laying in my bed and staring at the ceiling in a desperate attempt to go full teenager in these last few months.
There’s a paragraph in my not-journal, which is absolutely not a diary but which shares similarities nevertheless, where I describe saying goodbye to my then girlfriend at a train station. It’s entirely pretentious and stupid, but it was never meant for public consumption so forgive me.
“The last two days are a malaise of TV and games. LEGO is built, Twin Peaks is watched, and Adventure Time enjoyed. We hug and hold and wish so hard that the beginning of our week together wasn’t fighting and trouble. I like it, and hope she did too. When things aren’t okay, something has to be. Before I get on my plane to leave, she cries against my chest. The train pulls her fast away, and I feel as empty in my heart as she looks hurt in hers.”
I remember the moment in perfect clarity, and I hate myself for it. I wanted to be feeling what she was feeling, to be feeling the pain and the worry and to be able to show her I was feeling that. I didn’t want to feel numb like I did. I’ve felt guilty about that for really long time, and I just want to go back in time and slap myself in the face until I stop being such a dick and just let the feelings in. I’ve worried they weren’t even there. I’ve worried I just didn’t feel sad, which is horrible. How could I be saying goodbye to this person I loved and not be feeling, well, anything?
That guilt plays on my mind every now and then, and it’s always just as raw as it was on the plane ride home. I can’t understand why I reacted the way I did. I was sad to see her go, I know I was because the moment I got home and stepped into my bedroom, empty, woke up the next day and ate breakfast, alone, went on skype and saw a little green tick next to her name, realising she was a whole tiny ocean away… That upset me. A lot. I just wish I’d been able to show her that. I don’t know why I couldn’t have just been nice and decent and vaguely not horrible and shown her how much she meant to me, right then outside that train station. She was showing me, after all.
This is about Emotional Hangs though, and I’m getting back to it, honest. See, there was a conversation they had, finding its way into my ears as I cycled through a forested park on the outskirts of Milton Keynes, in which a guest was talking about a problem he has. He discussed moments when you’re not emotionally matching someone else, and it doesn’t mean you’re not feeling it, it just means you’re not in that place yet. They discussed what had happened to me, all that time ago, and in doing so, they validated that moment in my life. The guilt, sitting around for so very long, at least feels a little more shared, if not particularly eradicated. My stupid, idiot, dickhead self wasn’t on his own in his emotionally stunted stupidity. That doesn’t make it okay, but it makes it something, and that something makes me feel a tiny little bit better.
That’s a very specific, very personal reason as to why the show is so brilliant, but most of this blog is just a thinly veiled excuse to talk about my emotions anyway, so this isn’t any more egregious than usual. I might as well recommend the podcast while I’m moping about my past, because it’s a podcast really worth recommending. Friends and feelings are a complex mix, and it’s nice to know that two comedians in America are nattering away about their more difficult struggles with general happiness.
A big reason why I worry about discussing my brain things with my own friends is that I don’t want them to think I’m evil, which I quite probably am. I don’t want to tell them the story of how I waved my girlfriend off and felt absolutely nothing. I don’t want to tell them the bad things I’ve done because I want them to stay my friends, y’know? Kurt and Joe, who share the things they share not just with each other but with anyone else who cares to listen, are no better friends to each-other than mine are to me. I listen to them and I think, you know what, my friends are cool. They really are. I might not be, but their intense decency, I’m pretty certain, will overshadow my distinct lack of it. So I think the best thing to do is this. Listen to Emotional Hangs, because it’s helpful and funny and personal in that global kind of way. Then talk to those friends, because I’m lucky enough to have them. They probably won’t hate me too much, I’m hoping, and there’s only one way to find out. I only pray the stains are easy to remove.
Here is a link to the podcast: LINK!