soaking up feelings as she goes

Everyone feels things differently. Everyone sees things differently. Part of what makes life worth it is trying to see what others see. Part of what makes her life simultaneously wonderful and so damn hard is feeling what others feel.

It’s not a superpower, it’s certainly not a gift, but it’s not a curse either. It’s just something she has had her whole life, it’s a part of her, it’s one of the things that make her her. She feels what others feel and she understands. Most of the time she keeps quiet about it, while constantly trying to help them, especially getting up when they’re low. Most people tend to like that about her, the way she cares, the way she helps. Some tell her, some of them don’t. Either way, it doesn’t matter, it’s just what she needs to do.

She never talks about this, but then again, she doesn’t talk about most things about her. It’s equally who she is, and no matter how hard she tried to change that, she couldn’t. But this is the one secret that also drowns her. Because she soaks up what others feel, she has little breath left to deal with her own feelings. So, when things hit her, they hit her hard, she swallows them whole. She’s incapable of telling you her sorrows until she has them figured out. This has nothing to do with trust and everything to do with fear: remember she feels you; she fears what is spreading underneath will hurt you too, and in turn making her hurt more. And so she retreats, leaving some to wonder why she’s gone, others to simply give up on her, saying “she always goes”. Funny how easily one forgets how many times she picked up the pieces. How bitter-sweet it is to recognize so little hands when she is the one who needs lifting.

If you worry about her, all you can do is be patient, wait and try to be there when she is ready. No amount of asking, of forcing, of screaming, will open the door. In fact, she’ll only shut it right at your face. Even if you want to shake her and tell her that what she does to herself is not healthy, understand she knows that all too well. If you fear everything might come crumbling out of her, be aware: it might happen only to those she trusts the most. She knows no one has to deal with her shit, and if it bursts out of her, it will never be on purpose. Before telling her that her feelings aren’t right, remember all the times the tables were turned. Know she doesn’t expect you to understand, she expects you to not be a jerk about what she feels.

Know you might be too much for her, no matter how much she loves you. Know she can’t help anyone if she can’t help herself, and she needs to help. Know she will leave if she has to put herself first. Know that is the hardest thing to do for her. Know that even when she is okay, she withdraws for a while to recharge. The world is too big for her, too loud, with too many feelings, too hard to bear. She feels things she sometimes wishes she didn’t. But she understands them. And so she fights every single time. Even when some think she’s running, she is fighting. Even if some think she’s weak or cowardly, she knows it takes strength to handle it all, and courage to keep fighting. Whenever she retreats, she’s not hiding, she’s gathering up the strength to help again. Sometimes she just takes a little longer to get back on her feet, but she always stands up again. You’d have known this if you’d paid attention. But that’s alright, she understands.

Most of all, know she sees you, all of you. Know she understands where people come from, she knows every single life is complex and intricate, and so she might forgive all too easily. She sees the best in people, she sees their potential and chooses to believe. She is a good person, but even good people have flaws and she knows hers all too well. She is easy to hurt, but any fool could tell that. She will not put up a fight, she will not make up threats. She will cry, she will speak the words she can grasp. She will resent the way the words left her lips and the tears her eyes. Above all, she will recognize if she was wrong and ask forgiveness. But she will also know if the other person is in the wrong. And if they are, even if she understands where they come from and forgives, she will still be hurting and she might leave — not withdraw, leave, for good. If she gives another chance (which she probably will), try to be fairer;  she has less and less patience for emotionally abusive and toxic people, as she grows.

Everyone sees things differently. Everyone feels things differently. This is a portion of what it is like for her to navigate the world through an empathic lens and a sponge heart, soaking up feelings as she goes, stopping to let people know she understands, leaving to let those feelings go and get in touch with her own.

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frozen

Work hard and it will pay off. That’s how I was raised. That’s what I always do.

I tend to give all of me or nothing at all whenever I commit to something, whatever it may be. I tend to want to do everything perfectly or not at all, most of the time. I get frustrated every time when the thought that there’s no such thing as perfection hits me hard in the face. And it saddens me to feel like nothing I do is ever good enough. The reward, the promotion, the job, …, everything always seems too far, out of reach. That breaks me. It takes everything I’ve got to get back up again and move. It takes everything I’ve got to keep going. It breaks me. It takes everything I’ve got to get back up again and move. It takes everything I’ve got to keep going. It has always seemed weird to me that I tend to not give up, no matter how hard it gets, no matter how much it hurts. I tend to push forward, even if the optimism in me is down to less than nothing. I wrap myself in a blanket of hope, that someday my turn will come and it will all have been worth it. I tend to do all this, but

I tend to do all this, but lately it’s been tougher than before. Because when you haven’t had any wins, and the clock keeps turning, and the plans you made before are coming to an end, and you’ve got nothing left to look forward to, the task of pushing seems all too exhausting to keep doing over and over again. So I freeze. I freeze in this stupid “mean reds” mood, where nothing feels right and even writing or dancing around in the room in my pyjamas seems out of place (and something is terribly wrong when that happens, trust me!).

Actually, this blog is just another example of this. I have to this point 19 drafts of different post entries that never got to be public. And that number would be much higher if I didn’t from time to time erase some. This is what I’m talking about: I wrote a few posts and now I can’t publish any other because they never feel good enough. This is certainly not a great post, it isn’t even good, but I’m forcing myself to publish it anyway because I desperately need to change things.

And I know, I know! This rant might seem like I’m an ungrateful bastard. But my life is not so bad: I haven’t had any wins, but I haven’t had many losses either. I know I’m good at most things I do and I know I can do almost anything I put my mind to. But everyone is entitled to having feelings, whatever those might be, and mine are just a little hard to swallow sometimes. I know, deep down, that if nothing great has yet happened to me is probably because I’m not ready for it yet. But it doesn’t make these feelings any less real. And it surely doesn’t make them go away, while the clock is still turning faster and faster than before.

A friend told me that this resilience is what she liked best in me. The fact that I don’t just quit trying on projects, work, people. And it is truly funny because I always recognized this trait in others as being a strength of character but when it came to me it always seemed like a burden, a flaw, a weakness, for leaving me feeling like this. But working hard takes strength. Trying again takes strength. Pushing, especially when there are no guarantees of what you’ve got on the other side, takes strength. I need to start seeing that in me, for my own sake.

It never takes me too long to defrost. This time won’t be any different. I hope.

-A.

 

help a chicken out

Most nights in this house I can hear
an owl
at my window.
The song calms me down.

But one night
the song didn’t come.
Instead, I heard a chicken crying
somewhere where it shouldn’t be.

The others answered her,
brothers and sisters
(or maybe just neighbors),
wanted to come to the rescue.

But the giant cage in which they rule
didn’t let them move
and so I fell asleep
wanting to help that chicken
find its own owl

 

 

(this is not made of metaphors, there is literally an owl outside and a chicken did call for help somewhere far away… Don’t worry though, it came back)

under anesthesia

I think that throughout the 21 years that I’ve been alive I had very few moments when I completely blocked out. There are things I don’t remember of course, not because I passed out in those moments but because my brain can’t grasp everything it lived through.

There was, however, that time, somewhere between grade six and eight, when someone kicked a ball right to where my head was and I passed out. To this day, I only know this story of my life, I don’t remember it.  I’ve heard it a million times, just like I’ve heard other stories of my childhood a million times and either I never remember them or I think I remember it – it seems like a memory, but in reality I know it isn’t quite right, I feel like it’s probably someone else’s memory, not mine.

It’s not only that I’m afraid I’ll someday get amnesia… I guess it’s also because I’m just afraid I forgot a lot of stuff from my past not because of someone hitting me on my head, but because I didn’t enjoy and savour those moments enough. And because of this I want to write down another story, a more recent one, where I lost consciousness:

Last Autumn I had a surgical emergency and obviously was knocked out. That was the first time in my life and it scared me. I haven’t talked about this bit a lot because it truly scared the hell out of me! One minute I was there, the other I was gone. I was really nervous, and it might have been the nervousness of having to go through a surgical procedure,  or it might have been the absolute fear of having my body failing to function as it should have, either way all I know is when I started to wake up, I didn’t remember anything that happened before. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to know or remember how it felt to have surgery. What scares me is that my brain seemed to be shutdown during that period… It’s like I was dead somehow.

I didn’t want this to seem so dramatic, it wasn’t that bad and I know there are things far worse. Still it lingers with me, that fear of being oblivious as to where my brain was during that time. I also know there are scientific explanations to everything I just wrote, but that’s not the point, really. Why? Because I’m talking about that specific feeling, that I can’t shake off. It was one of the weirdest moments of my life.

The few stories I know where somehow I lost complete consciousness of what surrounded me make me very afraid indeed. The oblivion, the nothingness of those moments might scare me the most since they are constant reminders of the other something else I can’t shake off: that I live my life constantly under anesthesia.

-A