I Still Cry

Posted on April 11, 2010

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I always used to think that being sensitive was a bad thing.

When I was in elementary school, I cried a lot. Sometimes, I really did have reason to cry. Kids were mean. They still are. I’ll never forget the one day at lunch when I was about ten or eleven years old. A girl who I had known since we were 2 carried around a notebook with a posse a friends following close behind. She walked up to me with her friends and said she had learned the dictionary definition of “sensitive,” and that I was just that: “sensitive.” She told me I cried all the time. Her friends behind her laughed and laughed. I just felt foolish and uncomfortable, and at the moment, wanted to cry.

In college, I met a great guy who I became good friends with. And everyone knows that boy-girl friendship always have that potential to get complicated. And it did. At one point, he completely dropped the friendship. Three weeks into that particular mess, I confronted him. I wanted to know why he didn’t care. After all, his face, his body language, the way he walked around—he didn’t appear to feel bad at all about what had happened. Then spurred the next series of discussions about why he chose to hide how he felt, about why it is better to hold in how one feels for the sake of others. This thought didn’t sit well in my head. I understood that not all emotions should be publicly expressed; but to hide how you feel from the very person you hurt? What was the point of that?

Those situations really influenced how I handle my emotions today. I learned that hiding how I felt—about not revealing to others my pains or my tears—was the proper way of being an “adult.” It meant that I was strong and didn’t have to show that side of my emotions because I didn’t “need” to.

And then I realized something recently. Part of who I am is being an emotional person. Down the line, friends and family usually end up describing me as somewhat “emotional.” Why have I always viewed this description as a negative thing? I decided that I rather embrace this aspect of myself than hide it. It is not strength to always hide—to squelch my feelings—when I am such an emotional being. It is weak to not accept this part of myself. I find it empowering to express myself, because I do wear my emotions on my sleeves. I easily trust, and let people in, hoping he or she isn’t another person to add to my list of heartbreaks. While cautions signs flood my thoughts when I imagine really living like this, my self-awareness comforts me, and I realize that fully living out who I am is more powerful than the people who seek to hurt me or those who would like to inform me that being sensitive is a bad thing.

So while I prefer to keep the Internet free of everything personal, today . . . I thought I’d take a chance.

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Posted in: Personal