About Feeling Everything

April 03, 2014

I'll admit it. I'm someone who often gets trapped inside their own head. I overanalyze and wear myself mentally thin at times because I always have something going on in my head. I'm always always thinking about something and usually it's many many somethings, one stream of thought to the next. It used to baffle me when an ex-boyfriend and I would be chatting and I'd ask him what he was thinking about, to which he replied, "I don't know...nothing" and truly meant it. "You have to be thinking about something...anything at all," I'd press to which he replied, "nope, it just goes blank up there sometimes."

Was I horrified? Yep, slightly. Was I also kind of jealous that he was granted a gentle reprieve from having a million things rushing through his head at all times? Yes, to that too.

My friend Travis tells me often that I over-think things. He doesn't chide me like I'm a small child. He just always makes sure to tell me when I'm turning nothing into a something that shouldn't be. He's exceptionally understanding about me being in my own head. He recognizes that there's something in me with the primordial need to reconcile the different versions of myself that I often feel like I am.

Maybe part of me being an over-thinker, is that fact that I'm introvert by nature and I've always felt things fully and intensely. An old friend of mine went through a period where she rejected her feelings, playing it off life like she was living stone. She was too cool to care about emotions and way too advanced as a sixteen to eighteen year old girl to get caught up in feelings. I quietly envied her outward ability to brush things off because I was so unable to do just the same. Inside and behind closed doors, she'd open up to me though. She wasn't so emotionless after all, but hiding her feelings was her way of attempting to avoid rejection and hurt. Her emotionless stone-fox exterior was her protective armor. Though she denounced her feelings in an extreme and vocal fashion it quickly became apparent to me after a fight with another long time friend that sometimes we all put up a guise of uncaring.

Things unravelled with a friend who I had known and loved as a sister for about five years. It involved a boy and a whole lot of pent up emotions. Bridges were burned and friendship totally lost. I began putting up my own stone wall. I'd pass her in the hall, looking straight ahead or away - anywhere but in her general direction. On the outside I couldn't have appeared more indifferent. However, on the inside I felt everything so intensely. I felt horrid 95% of the time. I was always fitfully angry and pitifully sad. I was a tornado of emotions and the only way I could deal with it was through writing, poetry, and very long talks with friends. I could pretend all day long that I wasf as unbothered and aloof as ever, but all I managed to do was poison myself from all the dangerous feelings I was holding in and choosing to ignore until they could be ignored no longer.

That's when I stopped trying to be one of those women that evades emotion and uses it, like my friend once did, as armor in order to mask their own self conscious vulnerability. Being without emotion is not a virtue. Emotion informs us of ourselves and it makes us uniquely tender.

Last semester I was sitting in my room and someone and I were discussing something - a movie or a moment that had made me especially inspired. I said something to the effect of, "sometimes it's nice to just feel things, you know?" I was talking passionately. The person who I was conversing with retorted back, "Ashlee, don't you already feel things enough?" What was meant to be a non-commital conversational jab really settled harshly on the lining of my psyche.

What was that supposed to mean? Was that person trying to insinuate that I feel things too often - am too emotional - and should just shut the hell up or what? Did everyone perceive me as this overfeeling mess? Should I never express was I'm feeling so as not to be seen as weak or worse - totally annoying to those around me?

I found myself de-spirited and offended all at once. I felt the need the shut up tight within in myself like a box. I retreated to my head, a familiar place.

So yes. I'm a feeler and maybe a bit of an overthinker as result of that. I hate when people use the term "sensitive," but I suppose that's what I am too. I like to feel everything because the alternative is unfeeling (and I've been there as well). I'd rather feel wildly alive and excited, than be blank, if I can help it. Vulnerability is scary, but it is not a weakness. Soaking in everything, good and bad, and learning to deal with emotions (the highs and the lows) is more productive I think, than trying to build and reinforce mental and exterior walls that are just meant come down anyways. I've learned that the hard way at times. I strive to better deal with my emotions everyday and attempt not to retreat behind the cold clinical walls of unfeeling. I'd rather not have to put on the stone-fox faced exterior.

I'd rather people just know me for what I am and who I am and realize the value in those two things. I want to be straightforward. I want to be myself, whoever that is. I want people to know that I ricochet from wildly happy to passively sad at times. Sometimes I'm a ball of energy, craving attention and other times I'd rather be left alone. I think that's human nature though and on some degree everyone can relate.

I have a lot more to say regarding this topic, but I think I've reached a good stopping place for now. In the mean time, what are your thoughts on emotions/vulnerability? Let me know. 

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