I once told a boyfriend that my goal was to be more “stoic” in life – and it struck him as odd. Now admittedly, now that I have a firmer grasp of the nuances of the word – I perhaps would choose a different phrase- but the sentiment, even 10 years later is still the same.
Now perhaps I would say that instead of being “more” – I would choose to be “less” on a few qualities. Less emotional. Less sensitive. Less thin-skinned. Less fragile.
I quit my last job because I ended up on anxiety meds, throwing up every morning, and in therapy. Is it the job’s fault?
I wouldn’t say so entirely. It’s me. How I handled the situation. Another person may have thrived there, but for me it was impossible.
And now? I am in a glorious nurturing work-place. Is it better? For me, yes. For another person, perhaps not.
I seem to be in an ultra-sensitive phase at the moment. K pointed out to me that it may be PMS and I’ll be fine next week. I’ll give her that- it might be. I think as I’m getting older, the PMS monster might be rearing it’s ugly head. I’m going to have to start tracking my moods in relation to my cycle. That sounds like
something I would rather stab myself in the eye than do fun.
But right now, I’m simply tired. Tired of the fact that being a friend, employee, child, sibling... is so hard sometimes. Tired of having to accommodate everyone’s moods and quirks, in order to be a kind, considerate person. Tired of having to shuffle in my head around what some people say to me in order to get what they actually mean, and not be insulted/hurt/damaged by what they literally said.
This isn’t new or unique to me. We all have to do it. We’re all different and special – which means that those around us have to learn that me saying “x” can mean something completely different than you saying “x”.
But at the moment, I’m exhausted and delicate and considering doing what I find myself doing far too often: burrowing myself into my condo, not answering the phone or seeing people for a while.
Is this a useful or constructive reaction? No.
But it lets me heal for a while. It allows the bruises to fade, and my mind to forget what was bothering me to begin with.
You might ask why I don’t talk to my people who have said/done things that bother me. Well, it’s for a variety of reasons really.
- I don’t want people to think that they have to be super careful in what they say to me. I don’t want to be one of those “walking on eggshells” individuals. I’ve had people like that in my life, and it’s very frustrating.
- It’s not like they meant to hurt me. In some ways it’s cumulative. Say the same thing to me a dozen times and the first time I’ll laugh, the second smile, the third be silent and after a while I’m getting hurt by it. Why should they know that suddenly it’s not OK to say that thing that I used to find funny?
- Sometimes it’s the choices that they are making for their own lives that’s upsetting me. I don’t have the right to tell people how to live. I strongly believe that people have to make their own choices in life, and I am simply there to support them unless it becomes so damaging to either them or me that I can’t handle it anymore, and I have to simply remove myself from the situation for my own well-being.
I know that we all have our times when we're feeling that life is tough and unfair and "why do people suck?!" But right now it just seems to be overwhelming me, and is causing me to not want to talk to my nearest and dearest for fear of shriveling up into a tiny quivering ball over the slightest cool word from them.
I have a tendency to internalize everyone's behaviour to the point where I feel like a harsh or flippant word means that I'm a burden to them. An unimportant figure in their lives. A task that must be endured.
So I hide myself away and wait to see if anyone notices, and won't cry out for the help I might actually need. Because a single and sometimes lonely and depressed friend is not what people tend to put on their want lists. So I am considerate. And try to not complain - because I've been scolded for writing or mentioning or thinking too often about being alone. And no one wants to hear about my struggle to not hurt myself - because there's nothing they can do about it anyhow.
But being considerate? And happy? And censoring what I say for fear of not sounding needy? And making a joke of my weaknesses? Is tiring. And bruising. And so I go through phases like now where I'm exhausted and hurt and unable to cope with people.
So, for a while- I think I'm burrowing. And re-training myself in the stoic.