I carry a specific fear with me. I’ve carried it in my friendships for a long time. Are you ready for this? I am afraid that I’m a lot of work. Work that no one wants to put forth.
I’m not high maintenance in many ways. I’m not really into nice clothes or cars, expensive food, or high end travel. All in all, I’m a pretty simple girl. But there is a tender nerve inside me, a looming question I ask in relationship to others: Am I too much mental and emotional work?
You see, I’m what people call a deep thinker. I also have big feelings on lots of topics. And my because I’m a deep thinker and a big feeler, my emotion doesn’t just come off the cuff. It isn’t easy to sway or influence, but rather is entrenched by all the previous deep thoughts I’ve had swirling around the big feelings. My counselor once related it to me breathing underwater at the bottom of the pool, while everyone else enjoys sunning themselves on rafts at the surface where the air is, thank-you-very-much. Who wants to try to breathe underwater???
But I don’t know another way to be – anything else feels superficial. (And that is worse than feeling a nuisance.) Much of my life, I’ve felt ashamed and embarrassed – carrying around a sense that other people just want me to “calm down” or “forget about it” or “move on” or maybe just stop bringing stuff up. That I over-think things and need to stop being so sensitive. I got that last one a lot while growing up… “Emily, you’re being over sensitive.” When I was upset, I received the message that, “We don’t want to deal with that or with you.” I tend to turn over the rocks. The ones with grubs and dust and ugliness underneath. Rocks that were heavy and “just fine where they were.” My fear is that people are always feeling this way about me.
(Even as I write this blog, the voice is saying, “This is too severe and serious! No one wants to read this. No one else feels this way. It’s only you. Why are you going to put this on the internet? People are just going to feel tired reading this.” Well… imagine me sticking my fingers in my ears and humming.)
But! I woke up to a text message yesterday morning. It was from my aunt (who is, without a doubt, the coolest aunt a girl could possibly have). She had sent it around midnight – I have no idea why. Although I would say we are close, I hadn’t spoken to her in months, and haven’t seen her in over a year. I read the text with sleep blurred eyes, but it jolted me awake.
You are such a deep, complex woman who I love so very much!
What a random text at a random time. But, oh! What a balm to my soul. I want those words to seep into my heart. I want to believe that about myself.
I am a woman. I am deep. I am complex. I am loved. Very much.
Being deep or complex or having strong emotions doesn’t make me a load other people are obligated to carry around. Intricacy and uniqueness reflect the ability and creativity of the artist. The Creator. You don’t look at Starry Night and think, “That was a lot of work. Why go through the effort?” You think, “Wow… How stunning. How amazing. Even if I don’t fully understand it.”
I want to see people as the exquisite artwork that they are. A reflection of their awe-inspiring Creator. Not as a object either aligned with me or obstructing me. Not as friend or foe. Easy or hard. Rather, every individual is a Starry Night unto themselves – something to be looked upon with curiosity and appreciation. And I’m trying really hard to think the same way towards myself.
“He saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Even me.