Caution: Feelings ahead
Despite the fact that I am SO PSYCHED about the possibility of becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer, I am still struggling a little bit to keep my head above water with everything that has been going on. The week after I returned from Kenya, we had to put Missy to sleep because she started having seizures again. Grandmommie is still hanging in there as of right now. Despite me wanting to put all of my feelings on a shelf and ignore them until I am better able to cope with them, this semester has been a time of intense personal growth for me. I completed an assignment that required me to take a deep look at patterns within my family, which was really tough for me. It gave me a lot of insight about the way that my family functions and about the way that I function within my family. It also made me very sad to think about my grandmother living in a nursing home with an inoperable brain tumor. She has great hope that she will be able to return to her home, but I don’t think that will be able to happen.
I also realized some rather significant things about myself today. I realized that I push people away when I feel like they are getting too close, which is something I hadn’t noticed before. I think most of that is about a fear of becoming attached to someone and actually getting significantly hurt. With my friendships, it’s a fear of people liking me initially but not liking me once they really get to know me and see how anxious and annoying I can be. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware that I have many good qualities and traits. As I am human, I also have many not so good or downright annoying qualities and traits. I find that when I’m feeling particularly close to one of my friends, I draw back a little. This is true of friends of any gender. If I feel like someone is getting so close that their negative perception of my actions, thoughts, or behaviors would be very hurtful to me or could make me feel embarrassed I hang out with them a little less for a while until I feel like I have a better handle on things. I hadn’t realized that I was doing this until I sat back and thought about some of my recent interactions with people. I think me pushing people away, subconsciously and consciously, is also, perhaps misguidedly, about my struggle to be genuine and authentic in all areas of my life.
I care very deeply about my friendships and all of my relationships and I hold a great fear of offending or upsetting the people in my life. That means that I tend to over-communicate in a huge way when I feel like I haven’t articulated my thoughts well or when I feel like I’m not being heard. I dislike conflict and I strive to resolve it openly, which means you could very well receive 10 text messages from me at a time if I feel like there is a conflict it is my responsibility to resolve. I realize that this has a lot to do with all of my anxiety issues and I do realize how incredibly ridiculous and obnoxious it is when it happens, so please don’t take it personally if it happens to you. It has very little to do with whoever I’m actually talking to and a whole lot to do with my process, my lack of impulse control, and my insecurities. When people don’t respond to me when I attempt to communicate with them, I feel that it is because I have done something specifically wrong and I feel upset, embarrassed, anxious, and sad. That’s pretty much my experience with people across the board when I don’t feel like I am communicating effectively. People have often said to me that I talk a lot or I talk too much. If you’re on the receiving end of my anxiety, I do feel bad for you. I would ask, however, that you try to be empathetic about how much inner turmoil I am going through at the time. I do talk a lot, but that’s because I think a lot. Even though it sometimes seems like it, I don’t share every thought that runs through my head. For every worry or concern I share, there are at least five more running through my brain.
I think it is a powerful statement of how much I have grown since beginning my M.A.Ed. program that I am knowingly posting my insecurities on the internet for friends and family to read if they so choose. While effective communication is something I definitely struggle with, I feel that I am now more open about my thoughts, feelings, and experiences than I ever have been before. My openness is definitely a double-edged sword. There is a time and a place for me to share and I haven’t quite gotten that part down yet. I realize that I’m an intense person. I have all of these thoughts and all of these feelings and I am generally pretty open about them. I am an intense person to be around and certainly an intense friend or family member to have. I find that I have been apologizing even more than usual lately, and I think I’ve also gained some insight about that. No offense to anyone, but neither side of my family is exactly skilled about sharing emotions. Feelings are something that aren’t talked about very often and that seem to make many of my family members uncomfortable. One of my family members has told me throughout my life that ladies should only cry in the powder room. I think that one reason I apologize when I share how I feel or what I think is that communicating my thoughts and feelings in a genuine way isn’t something I have really ever had modeled by anyone. It definitely isn’t anyone’s fault that those things weren’t modeled to me. I feel confident that I’m being truthful when I say I don’t think they were modeled to my parents and I doubt they were modeled to their parents either. It’s just the way it is.
It’s been interesting for me to see the ways my family patterns play out in my personal life outside of my family. My family patterns do not define me and my choices are my own, but it has been interesting to take a step back and look at the relationship between my communication patterns and the communication patterns of my family members.
On top of all of the self-awareness I gained today, I realized that I have been really really really hard on myself lately. I have expected myself to be superwoman and hold all of my emotions in check at a time when there are a lot of things, both good and bad, that are going on in my life or that have gone on in my life that I haven’t taken the time to process. On top of trying to shelf every negative emotion that springs up, I have been agreeing to do to many things and really overextending myself. Despite my outspoken nature, “no” is not something I find it easy to say to other people. Yet another thing I need to work on 🙂
I can just feel that I am on the brink of some serious self-growth. Bring it on, life!