Been waking up the last few days feeling like I need to shed some layers. Mostly, layers of being what someone else prefers me to be. See, I was conditioned from a very early age to please those I love by being what they wanted me to be. I found out that I could manipulate a less stressful life that way.
About 33 years into my (to date) 49 year run, I began the process of stopping that behavior. In little bits at a time. It started with my parents, then work, and then with the world around me. I forget sometimes and find myself slipping into the invisible mode where I mind my manners in an attempt to please those I’m dealing with. Sometimes it’s because I love them and don’t want to cause friction. Sometimes it’s because I don’t have the energy to deal with drama. It’s still a work in progress.
I sometimes realize I’ve done that when I get chastised in some fashion for not being or behaving like someone would prefer. That’s when things get a little ugly, because it’s usually because I’ve already bent pretty far and they haven’t noticed and demand I bend further. That’s when I snap back, kind like that branch in your face in the woods.
I am a passionate creature. I feel things quite intensely. Although there is no way to prove this, I suspect I allow myself to feel things more than most. I have few defenses (either by choice or design) to protect me from emotions. This is not a liability, like some would accuse. I think it’s what enables me to understand others at a deeper level. This is at the core of my empathy.
Yes, this also means that I carry emotional scars. Things said carelessly hurt. I’m blessed with a memory that doesn’t easily recall these hurts. I forgive a lot, but some stick and fester. And eventually, I do step back and evaluate whether these hurts are worth exposing myself to repeatedly. That’s when I start to distance myself. And slowly pull away until there is nothing left.