The Turn to Affect: I’m feeling like you’re not listening to me

Over the years, my therapists have asked me how I feel.

They tell me my answers express my inner thoughts, not my feelings.

My vocabulary of feelings is remarkably thin.

This is unsurprising given that I am an academic; thinking to the exclusion of feeling is, presumably, my occupational psychosis.

Ironically, the academy has taken the turn to affect.

It’s an interesting twist given the centuries-long atrophy of feeling in the sacred grove.

Now that post-human, post-gendered, post-raced but always material bodies can play in the exclusive grove, we can talk academically about how it all feels. Unintentionally.

What gives?

I have noticed a popular turn of phrase that my younger acquaintances and friends use:

“I feel like you’re…..<insert something here…..>”

as in…

“I feel like you’re eating too much pizza.”

“I feel like this class is going to be boring.”

“I feel like you’ve been studying really hard tonight and you’re wound up.”

As my therapists would say, these are not feelings. These are thoughts.

Notice, they’re “I-statements.” My therapists would approve that part, at least.

Ya think?

Funny how all these “I think…” statements have turned into “I feel…” statements just as we make the academic turn to affect.

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