What To Do With All The Feels That Pile Up In Your Heart

Straight whiskey. That’s my drink of choice, or at least it’s one of them.

Some nights I’ve kicked my heels up with a glass and sipped it slowly simply because I thought it sounded appealing.

Other nights I’ve clutched my glass in a shaking hand with a sense of internal restlessness I couldn’t attribute to anything specific because I had no idea what I was feeling, or why.

And on other nights still I have known what I was feeling and I’ve consciously chosen to drown it with Jim Beam, the buzz in my brain and the warmth in my chest distracting me from what I didn’t want to face.

I thought about this recently after listening to an interview with Sarah Potenza, a singer/songwriter who you may know from season eight of The Voice.

In the fourth episode of Next Creator Up—a podcast I’m producing with my partner in many things and show host Ehren Prudhel—Sarah talked about her experiences with body shamers and naysayers who convinced her she didn’t have what it takes to make it in the music industry.

Though her whole interview spoke to me, because she has a larger than life personality and she’s all about self-acceptance, I was particularly drawn to what she had to say about releasing her pain onstage.

Not only have her scars served as fuel for her music, the act of performing provides a sense of catharsis that makes her feel whole and at peace.

She even noted that if she hasn’t performed in a while she feels like going to a bar and drinking—presumably because without an outlet to release her feelings, she’s tempted to stuff them down. But it’s clear from how she described it that releasing her feelings is a far superior option, and it doesn’t come with a hangover.

“Performance, for me, is so much love but also so much anger. There’s so much passion on the stage in everything I’m doing that it just gets all of that out of my system. I scream it out, I sweat it out, I cry it out, I sing it out, I shout it out. It’s all out there whether it’s the love, the joy, the hate, the anger, the peace, the sorrow, everything. And I just throw it up all over everything, and I feel sated.” ~Sarah Potenza

For me, it’s complicated. And I don’t mean it’s hard to explain. I mean the song, by Avril Lavigne.

It’s among my top-five karaoke choices because I can spit the words out rhythmically as if with a machine gun larynx. I jump and belt with a guttural roar, and it’s like all the weight of the day drains out of me,…

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