I was in Target looking at pencils. There were some in bright colors and patterns with sharks on some of them. I liked them. I felt a little sparkle inside–I was looking at things to send C.

I recognized my next feeling as shame. I can’t really remember what I thought, but I really clear sense of feeling teary and being unable to raise my gaze.

I suppose I thought about it for a while, and it came back at other moments as well.

I began to connect it to my mother’s still face–a la The Still Face Experiment. Whatever my more adult cogitating about what I have to be ashamed about, it’s that feeling of sparkle that really feels to me like it isn’t okay. I feel, very deeply, it isn’t okay to be happy or to connect over a sense of shared joy. It doesn’t feel okay to be affectionate. That is the absolutely deepest feeling I have.

The other feeling I have that is just about equally difficult is feeling longing isn’t okay. It isn’t okay to experience separation express, to miss someone or to need someone.

There are other layers of trauma, other tough stuff to deal with–fears about performing up to a certain standard, for example–but those two are the most hard-wired. I can’t be happy and I can’t be sad.