I’m trying to articulate what I have been feeling, especially now, but ‘feeling‘ these days keeps being interpreted as ‘feeling too much‘ that… now that the dust has generally settled, the downside of starting completely anew is the realization that I never actually did away with the monsters under my bed. They weren’t murdered while I packed and moved someplace new; in truth, they stayed dormant and in the shadows until familiarity returned.

I think on a very personal level, I struggle constantly with being told I’m ‘too much’. Too much emotions; too much thunder; too intense… They say you need to always be yourself; but what if being yourself means it’s a genuine wonder, a sincere thankfulness, when someone chooses to stay? ‘Emotional exhaustion’, the rest called it as they headed for the nearest exit.

Over the years, I’ve learned to – so to speak – ‘tone it down’ in order to keep people in my life. I’ve developed not only an acute self-awareness but also a threshold for compromising and I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job… but lately these sentences, words – they pop up again. I like to think I’ve been doing a pretty good job especially when I’m at work …but when your friends are also your colleagues and your friendly neighbors are also your workplace mates and your community is – you get the picture – I wonder if the lines have simply blurred, delineations unclear… or it is still me? “You’re really self-critical, aren’t you?” – I’ve been told this three times by three different individuals over three consecutive weeks.

I’m mature and have metamorphosed enough times by now to understand I’m not for everyone – there will be people I like who won’t reciprocate my feelings and people who do but don’t know what to do about me or our feelings. In both instances, it’s okay. But what happens (to me) when it’s new-familiar people I like, who like me back, uttering those words?

In that instance, the delineation is not unclear… can I still claim – would it even make sense – that it’s them, not me?

I am struggling; I feel like I’ve to keep censoring myself in order to not be an island of my own being – more than doing, being – because again and again, history is a strong-willed teacher. Or like always, is it me – am I the one who simply never learns? “This is who I am,” I tell them. It’s not like I’m in tears, out of control, as I admit this. I’ve worked so hard to arrive at this version of myself – how long that line of compromise I’ve drawn as consequence.

Yet I hear it still.

‘Too much.’ Pray tell – does an ‘enough‘ exist?

“I think your outer shell perhaps need to be stronger,” Eldest Sis said gently, her voice drowned by the static of our long-distance call. “But this is who I am,” I want to insist …but I censor those words, like I censor myself, past and present.


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