In my six weeks back I have begun to take on all of the weight that I held in the past (and I have a stiff neck and shoulders to prove it). I remember now, how hard it is to deal with (indignant, irrational, unknowing) people. How hard it can be to see those around you stuck and bleeding over and over again. The dull pangs of people unable to dig themselves from the mental or physical trenches in which they hunker down with their notions of themselves. And I see how hard it is for me not to think about these people. To try and understand the ways we hurt each other and allow ourselves to be hurt. To try not to feel superior to those who are hurting and lashing out or who cannot escape the patterns of their self-sabotage. Because, clearly, I cannot escape the self-sabotage of my patterns. I internalize this election, I internalize racism, I internalized the cat calls I hear my friends describe, I internalize the callousness I see at work, I internalize the relationships around me. I am a pulverized little peach who puts on a bat cape and expects to be recognized for his armor.
My only defense against all these goddamn feelings? To allow myself to be vulnerable. To admit my weaknesses freely, but not for the purposes of eliciting pity. Not to exaggerate them. Not to let other people dictate how I behave, but not to ignore how they make me feel either. To communicate.
One of the driving factors in my depression/anxiety spiral was how misunderstood I felt. And this may sound like small stuff to some, but to this day being understood is perhaps my greatest motivation. I never felt fully seen by my parents, but especially by my father who it seemed, would never get an opportunity to see me a little clearer, nor me him.
I felt an incredible amount of resentment over certain friends not making time for me, when I struggled so desperately for validation from my relationships and needed constant reminders that my friends were there, and able to listen. But I refused to communicate that. Instead, I turned to vilify them and wrap myself up in a feeling of betrayal. Thinking indignantly that I would never abandon someone in their time of need. That I clearly didn't know the true caliber of these people. That they only cared for themselves. And every other argument the brain makes when it's hurting. Only everyone knows how this story ends. I don't get the attention and love that I need, and I replace that need for care with the temporary high of resentment and self-pity. Which throws me further off balance, and makes me less capable of returning to a calm, breathing center who is capable of processing his feelings from a strong base of self knowledge.
I am a difficult person. No matter how generous, and responsible, and loving I am. I am also intense. I emote very positively, but when I don't it can be a real gut punch to people. I form very intense friendships, and because of that, I cannot always keep a lot of friends at a time, and people cannot always live up to my standards or feel harshly judged. My warmth and kindness can be confusing, as can my standoffishness and brutal honesty. I am very guilty of defending who I am through self editing. Before I left New York, I wanted desperately to be understood, but was unable to fully admit to myself the exact shape and SIZE of my flaws. Yes, I am difficult, because I want a lot from people. Often, more than people have to offer back. But this does not mean I have trouble making friends or getting along with people. And just because I want a lot from people doesn't mean that's wrong of me.
I am not betrayed by people because I am a poor judge of character, but because of a social characteristic I have had since I was 8. I am indecisive. I remember vividly, being BORED when I was young and having long conversations with my Mom about which one of my friends to have over. It just had to feel right. And yet, when I was invited over, I didn't have to think too hard, I'd roll through the list of assets at the inviter's home: games, toys, basketball hoops, access to that construction site that looked a lot like a dirt bike course. And I was there. And honestly, not much has changed.
I will never get what I need if I cannot ask for it. I will never be understood if I'm not willing to admit fully who I am. And I will never be seen by those around me, if I cannot see for myself. That even someone who misunderstand the proportions of my personality still sees me. And that I misunderstand the proportions of other people's personalities no matter how adept I consider myself at reading folk. I will always bring my own weaknesses and blind spots into my assessment. As they will of me. And No One will ever see me exactly as I am. "No one's gonna listen to it straight from your head," as the Angel says. No one is me, so they can only draw a sketch. In however much detail, in whatever proportion they can muster. It doesn't have to be an attack. It can be that beautiful exploration of aura and perception. And what a beautiful thing it can be to try and see someone else.
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