I’m a feeler. I feel a lot of feelings. Anyone who knows me mildly well knows this. I have been told in many situations that I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I even have a tattoo now to prove it. I am generally a very happy person (as I have mentioned before) and I realized that when people see me cry for the first time they get truly upset by it.
Sometimes, feelings of empathy are all consuming to me. I am sad when my friends are sad. I cry when they call me crying. My heart hurts when they hurt. I generally find that once someone shares a really personal story with me, we are connected for good.
I get physically ill when people I love are upset with me for something. I get sick to my stomach, unable to eat, curled-up-in-the-fetal position upset. Sometimes this prevents me from putting my own best interests or desires first, because I am too fearful of upsetting someone else. I’m working on that, though.
I guess what I am trying to say is that in addition to feeling a lot of feelings, I feel them intensely. I can get high on happiness, paralyzed by sadness and sickened by anger. I am such a vulnerable person, a softy. I thrive on my ability to express myself not only emotionally, but physically too. At work and at home I want everyone to be 100% aware of who I am and who I want to be. I want everyone to know “what you see/hear/smell is what you get.”
One place where I constantly find myself hiding and modifying these traits is dating. In any relationship or “relationship” I have ever experienced I have played so cool. I’ve even been called “chill.” Lol, as if. I can think of specific moments in specific relationships that I have let my feelings out, and usually when they come they come big.
A particularly memorable moment was with the one we called “Boy.” Boy was fine, treated me perfectly fine and was doing perfectly fine things in his life. I was moving far away from Boy very shortly after we met and as quickly as I fell for him, he ran away faster. I remember the first time I told him actually how I felt I cried, and his face was filled with so much fear he didn’t know what to do. He said he “felt like such an asshole for making [me] cry.” Mind you, he didn’t feel like an asshole for the specific occurrences that made me upset enough to talk to him and cry while doing so, that was made very clear. But he was visibly uncomfortable and upset by my tears, and he apologized, but he would not have apologized to me if he hadn’t seen them.
In my first serious relationship, I came home from the first few dates with my person, shut the door and fell into hysterics all simply from the fear of caring about him. When that trust existed finally, that wonderful soul of a young man listened to so many freakouts of mine. He listened to me call with exciting news, call when I was nervous, and more recently call when I was really really sad. I think it took me a really long time to get to the point that I wanted to cry to him about something because I didn’t want any sort of label that would come with it and I didn’t want it to negatively affect his opinion of me and I didn’t want it to distract from the point of what I was saying as it had in the past. Eventually, I would call him to cry about him because I knew he was the only person who would “get it.”
As I enter a new romantic chapter, I notice myself, again, closing off certain emotional doors I’m too scared to open. I want to be fun and hilarious and sexy and smart and chatty and cool. I’m really scared to be vulnerable and sometimes sad and confused and anxious and even more scared to show that I’m scared at all.
I can’t help but wonder why this is, because I’m starting to think that “fear of getting hurt” is kind of a shitty and lacking explanation. Why is it so important for someone to share a truly personal story with me, but I am almost pained to share how I feel? What is the magical thing that has to happen for me to trust that person? Why does loving me require so much patience? The chain of thought isn’t always the nicest but I can’t always help that. And while I might not be able to change these habits right away, I am making the conscious effort to understand them better.