Why you can’t “reign in” your feelings

Recently, I’ve been seeing a lot of people say things like “I reigned in my feelings.” Unfortunately, this really makes no sense.

A king reigns upon a throne. You do not reign in your feelings.

The word people are looking for is “rein.”

When riding a horse or a horse-drawn carriage, the reins control the horse.
When you rein in a horse, you are either bringing the horse to a stop or getting them back under control.

So, you can rein in your feelings all you want. But you can’t reign them in.


the other side of the coin // her choice, ii

[This is not my story, but it could have been. Inspired by recent posts over at A Deeper Story, especially “her choice.”]

“Aww, isn’t her baby cute?”

“Hah! Not really. He cries all the time. They’ve been banned from pretty much everywhere on campus because of that. And she has this habit of just leaving him places and going to class.”

She should take better care of her baby. Get some babysitters. Stop taking him everywhere with her. Make him stop crying. Throw his icky diapers away in the dumpster across the parking lot, so we don’t have to smell them. Feed her baby from a bottle, or go feed him in the restroom.

They don’t say these things to her face, but she knows they’re thinking it. The looks, the whispers, say all she needs to know. So she hunches her shoulders and keeps walking, carrying that sweet baby boy who makes her world go around.

He wasn’t planned, and they weren’t yet married. Now they are, but she is a single mom until she graduates – they went to different colleges hours away from each other, and the last semester of senior year is much too late to change that. Her roommates decided they couldn’t handle extra visitors to help care for the baby, so she moved into a hotel room. Her roommates later calmed down, but it was easier to just stay in the hotel. That way she wouldn’t be inconveniencing them with his cries.

People offered to help before he was born, but when she asked them to commit to babysitting, few did. Those who did soon came to her with important reasons why they couldn’t do it anymore. She knew they were just excuses – he was an inconvenience that they could get rid of, thereby simplifying their lives. But they made her life more complicated.

The head of campus ministry told her that she could bring the baby by if she needed someone to watch him and no one else was available. She tried not to take advantage of that generosity, but as the semester went on and helpers melted away, she finds herself doing it more and more. She knows the only person who doesn’t resent it is the head of campus ministry. She wishes she could do it some other way – but this is the only choice she has, aside from taking him to all of her classes – and failing them. She can’t care for a fussy baby and pay attention in class at the same time. So she does it, and effaces herself, tries to be so mild that no one can possibly find any more fault in her than they already have.

She gets other looks, too – from those who had counted on their fingers, and know she sinned. How could she have done that, she was such a good girl, or so everyone thought. How could she walk around like she wasn’t sorry. At least she hadn’t aborted her baby.

In her deepest, darkest moments, she wishes she had. 

The rest of the time, she knows he is worth it.

High school poetry, rediscovered

I recently started using a lovely program called Evernote (more on it in another post). I plan to use it for journaling, and I decided I’d also like to try my hand at writing again. I vaguely remembered a subfolder called “my stuff” in my Documents folder, so I went to explore it. I found a little document called “poems.” So I opened it, and decided to put its contents into Evernote.

147 poems later, I am utterly amazed.

I started writing poetry in 2003, and stopped at my high school graduation in 2007. The “poems” document contained most of the poetry I had written in those years..with no dates. There were occasional annotations: lit mag, portfolio, contest, fictionpress, song. There were asterisks on either side of the titles of some poems, but I don’t remember what that meant — probably that I liked it.

Now those 147 poems are in Evernote, in individual notes, and are therefore much more browsable than they were the original .rtf file, where the only distinction between poems were the bolded titles of the poems. They are also tagged with the annotations from the original file (minus the asterisks), and with either “homeschool” or “high school” based on my best guess as to general time period. I think the poems were arranged roughly in reverse chronological order…

Writing poems was an important way for me to express myself in high school..but I had forgotten that. It grew from a need to connect, and was spurred by a good friend who wrote poems first. Out of those 147, I think there are even some good ones. I had no idea that I wrote so many poems. It never seemed like quite that many when a software wasn’t counting them for me.