I Don't Always Feel Comfortable Feeling So Much, Honestly, Sometimes I Hate It
There’s something about finding myself in the middle of a string of words that’s always felt like home to me - comforting and fractured, all at once. It’s a mystery to my boyfriend, who sometimes is more frazzled by the mere volume of words than he is by the content of them. Sometimes, it’s even a mystery to me.
This morning I sent a self-deprecating text to him that let him know that I get it, that I’m not blind to how when it comes to emotions, I am a breed of my own. I dive into more emotions before 9am than some people acknowledge in an entire day. The words come at me fast and they don’t sit, they demand to be expressed, written, or said out loud.
It can be a heavy weight, to feel so much. To know that I feel so much.
I hated it for a very long time. There are still days when I hate it, like today, like most holiday seasons.
Growing up I hated knowing that I was so sensitive to other people’s emotions, hated that I didn’t know how to process my own in a way that felt like I had a handle on them. When I started dating more seriously after college, I found myself struggling heavily with feeling defined by my ability to speak openly about all feelings, but especially about my grief, depression, or anxiety. Reaching the milestone of unlocking my heart and brain’s secret language and translating them effectively into English didn’t feel like a triumph, it felt like a burden I was hoisting upon those around me.
Knowing the language, how to speak it, even feeling moved to speak it, it all felt like the biggest curse. There were moments when I looked at twenty-something year old guys try to decipher me when I’d already stripped myself bare. There was nothing left underneath the words or the feelings, and for all their searching, for all their wanting something that would simplify me or the emotions I expressed, I would be baffled that they would still somehow land on me being “too much.”
Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, when it came to love, learning how to express my feelings had become my Catch-22. It was the skill that would help me stay open to true love and the reason why I had my heart bruised by dismissal and rejection.
Learning to love myself became less about learning to love the body of the girl who I saw in the mirror and more about learning to love the intricacies and depth the girl’s mind swam in. I had to learn to move along with the waves of self-doubt that crashed over me every time a depressive episode kicked in. The waves that told me that at some point I would always be “too much” for someone. The ones that screamed that I was a burden, that my past was too layered, that my love was a heavy weight, instead of the gift that any person’s love is when given to someone else.
I had to learn to ask people to sit with me in the dark and hold my hand, because that’s where I felt most loved and accepted.
It’s something I asked of someone this morning. It’s how, over the last few months, I’ve turned towards listening to my emotions, instead of ignoring them or judging them. I’ve let them lead the way when it comes to learning how to vocalize my needs — a reality that is normal for some, a novelty for me.
I’m learning to not hate the fact that I can express such depth because it’s my biggest blessing. To be able to verbalize the fear I swim in when my anxiety takes over has saved my life more than once. The ability to pinpoint the lies that my sadness tells me is the reason why I’ve spoken truth and life to them. The goosebumps I get every time I sit in happy moments and understand how fleeting and how precious these moments are, it’s made me a collector of moments. It’s the reason why I love creating experiences for Tyler, or the rest of my family, because to feel that known and loved is a gift for me and for them.
To be able to sit in such emotional depth is the reason I let myself love Tyler.
I fell in love in very deep ways, with his eyes, with his touch, with the way he holds me when I cry. I also fell in love with who I can be around him - myself, flawed, a work in progress, a student to my feelings, simply a person who is working daily to not be overpowered by them, but who still has room to fail if she is.
And I fail a lot. Today, for instance, I drowned in questions about why I can talk about loss and grief and my mental health in ways that make me seem like I have a handle on it all, when really, I’m afraid. I can put the words together, but living with them after I hit publish is a reality I struggle with.
For all the ways I fell in love with him, with myself, I still have days like today, when the weight of all I feel crashes over me, demanding to be expressed, asking to be understood.
I still have days when the loudest voice in my head is the one that asks, “at what point will you be ‘too much’?”
Sometimes the biggest burden of writing myself through my life in such a public way is that the room to be flawed and human shrinks every few days. There’s less square footage, but still the same amount of me.