I’m done being called too much by many people, feeling shame, and tiptoeing around that. Trying to predict what will overwhelm others so I can contort myself into not doing it is bullshit. Lately I’m trying not to accept the shame. My way of reframing the situation is like: I’m not too much–you’re not enough.
My capacity to feel, care, and communicate is great. I have a lot of skills doing love. If most people are avoiding truth while I rush toward it, that doesn’t make me a bad person. In fact, it’s valuable to rush toward the truth.
The ways that are more common can be considered desirable. But being different is ok. Doing what’s common isn’t the same as doing what’s better. In fact, the world needs something new in so many ways. Standard repression, denial, and distraction aren’t in our best interest.
But people feel uncomfortable when it’s obvious that their capacity to feel, notice, care, and respond is much lower than mine. Rather than consider that valid and something to learn from, most people want to frame it as I’m bad, so they can see themselves as good. It’s too uncomfortable to consider they might need to do something different for respect and a better culture.
My whole life I’ve taken criticism as truth. I’ve thought and said, “Yes, I am too much. I don’t know how to be appropriate. I overwhelm people–I need to turn myself way down.”
“I’m so sorry I bothered you,” is a sentence I’ve said a lot. I was trying to appease people who are amazed in a bad way at how I feel all the emotions they try to kill. I consider feeling my feelings a big part of my life’s work–to experience them moving around in my body, accept them, and learn from them. My body is here to feel. I’m not going to apologize anymore.
What if I don’t need to turn myself down–other people need to turn themselves way up? My way is not inferior. I’m welcome at the table, and I’ll welcome myself, if no one else does.
feeling is a skill
What if we lived in a culture where feeling was recognized as a skill, not a liability or embarrassment? A lot of men over the decades have told me I’m too sensitive. They frame how I function emotionally as too much because accepting my emotions would require them to face what they choose to avoid.
When women are called hysterical for having an emotional response that a man is too cold to understand, that’s what’s at play. How dare you see a truth I don’t see, and have a response different from my response. You have less power, so you are wrong.
It’s bad for our health to hold in our emotions. Denial and repression create huge stress in the body. If only for my health, I need to feel.
I’m not going to see myself as wrong anymore. What if I’m not too much–you’re not enough? A culture full of people who want feelings shut off is not a safe place for me. They shut off their own feelings with substances, entertainment, psych meds, and denial. They try to shut off the feelings of people like me by othering us, diagnosing us, and force medicating us.
I’m not a dangerous person who anyone needs to be protected from. Sedating me is not helpful to the world. Listening to what I say could help bring creative, fruitful, fluid, helpful change. Locking away visionaries is such a waste of visionaries.
Thank you for considering the possibility that I’m not too much–you’re not enough. Lately two friends have told me that I’m confident. I was confused because I’d never been called that.
Last night I was at a bar with Ming and our friend for dinner. Pro tip–no smoking in bars in Oregon. Wow, it was amazing to go into a bar and breathe ok. Thank you to the people who worked hard for that respect to the people who work there and to my lungs.
In the conversation our friend said I was confident, and I was like a cartoon character who does a double take. What–me?
What is confident? My whole life I’ve considered it a fake performance. I think of a doctor who wants to appear confident so his patients feel safe, regardless of whether the doctor know what the fuck he’s talking about. I resent how confidence takes the place of actual expertise and honest connection.
But my friend explained how I seem confident in the sense of ok and not trying to shrink myself for the ease of other people. I know what I want, and I have a clear plan.
Hmm, that’s true. I take up space and love myself now. And I know what I’m on earth for. Others not relating or agreeing doesn’t bother me. I have too much work to do, to get distracted.