When I make up words for emotions, I look them up to see if they exist already. This one did. Not only is it slang for – apologies for the upcoming graphic in your head – large penis, it also has the meaning of emotional scattering, anxiety and despair, sometimes caused by uncomfortable images. Do take a moment to enjoy this inconvenient homonym for our brothers with whale-sized willies, then let’s move on to the emotion I’d like to discuss, shall we?

I considered deathsqueeze and lossgrip, but gutwrench works better for me, because I don’t think the the word should encompass it’s cause. It’s as if somewhere central below my navel, around the exglow area, an invisible hand grabs my intestines and suddenly wrenches them like a wet towel. It comes together with pulsating pulls at my adam’s apple and uncontrolled crying. Surrounding belly muscles contract as well. It draws my full attention to that inner spot, much like a 220 volt electric shock, if you ever had that.

Some clear triggers for this sensation are the death or the long-term departure of a person close to me, and the breakup of a relationship. In fact, looking closer, the trigger is usually a very specific, self-centered memory, such as that persons expression of appreciation for me, or the image of me staying behind on my own. I believe gutwrench has a lot to do with a turn of attention from something shared to something individual. I oversee the beauty of what is lost, wishing to be able to express that to the person, but I can’t, because he or she is gone. The hole that person left behind is painful and at the same time there’s new freedom. That realisation feels good for me, but it is a type of betrayal too. Everything is intensely happy, yet intensely sad.

Because this experience squeezes my being so tightly, the relaxation afterwards is very deep. As if some weight has truly disappeared, I see the world under a different light: more laid back than usual. I’m open for new things, ready and obliged to dive into new experiences, into new beings. Even though I went through gutwrench, I’m still here, and that knowledge has primordial power.

The word gutwrench existed as something negative. I understand it as a manifestation of a bond. How about you?



7 thoughts on “Gutwrench”

  1. I didn’t even know the existence of this word up until now. And reading this post made sense to me.
    I’ve been lucky enough not to lose a person close to me by death, instead, I’ve been in the position of being left behind or come to the realization that I need to leave someone/something behind.. and this ‘gutwrench’, as you beautifully wrote about, was there many times in my life, during the age that my social filters (if I may say) worked like everything and everyone matters.
    For me, it always was negative.. I had to fall rock bottom, stay there being either the accused or the one accusing, being in the melancholy surrounding each situation without knowing how to escape. This was and is the hard part for me. Somehow though, I manage. Somehow I end up to cope and move on with holes or empty spaces and unanswered questions within. This new freedom you say, doesn’t happen till much later. Well, it depends on the scale of the pain. For me everything is intensely sad and later-later on things start to seem ok, my eyes and heart know new starts and different povs. I almost envy the way you see the world and the way you feel things. I wish I could understand it as a manifestation of bond.. Instead for me is a manifestation of a ..bomb and when the dust settles, I see the remnants of what used to be. I do appreciate though that feeling of standing on your feet again. It’s liberating and powerful-but ‘gutwrench it’s still negative to me.
    I do know that seeing things differently is a practise I need to have and then everything will be ok-er 🙂
    As you said, you’re still here and we’re all still here, and this is something that matters.

    For once more, great post Gilles!

  2. Hello Georgia,

    Thanks! Nice that you’re dropping by.

    I really like the way you wrote your feelings down. Loved the rythm in the sentence about the bomb. Our experiences apparently weren’t exactly the same, yet if I read you well the gutwrench itself was.

    What you describe sounds quite hard. I don’t think I would perceive that as positive either if it lasted very long. It’s nice to read though, because it helps me imagine it from a safe distance. Maybe you’re just more courageous than me to go inside your relationships so deeply.

    Do you have some kind of blog or something?


    1. Hey Gilles!

      Experiences are the same and different at the same time.. but gutwrench is always the same for everyone when the time comes..

      I don’t have a blog, no. But it’s always a pleasure reading yours 🙂

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