I believe in love.

I really do.

I believe in being caring and loving to other people. I don’t know if I show it in a way that other people ‘get’ but I do sincerely try.

It’s hard, at times. Communication is something I struggle with. Talking to people directly is very difficult at times. Often, I feel like I’m just listening to people, asking them questions, getting to know them. But sharing myself with them, I don’t know how. Most people are just waiting for their turn to talk. They don’t really care to get to know me, or have the patience to wait for me to formulate my thoughts. I feel like so often, I’m just listening to everyone’s stories.

It feels fake when I just try to go along with what I feel like they want to hear. And yet, when I express myself, who I am, so often I’m met with this static disconnect. I don’t know if I express myself poorly or if I really have so little connection with other people. The thing is, I enjoy other people. I like listening to individuals, understanding them, getting to know them. It’s fascinating to me, human interaction.

Yet, often times, I can only focus on one person at a time. The ebb and flow of conversations is difficult, frustrating, over stimulating. I often feel as if I’m bobbing along, barely able to keep afloat. I can’t focus on reading more than one person at a time. The emotional exchange, the body language, it’s too quick too subtle to keep track of.

And then I’ll say something, and it’s wrong. I get a reaction of annoyance, or a bristle, or just silence or confusion. I’ve barely even grasped the situation by the time everyone else has moved on, made their judgments and assumptions about me and what I’ve said. And all I want to do is escape. I wonder why I bothered, I wonder why I even try.

So often, I go out and I’m just happy if I can get through without sticking my foot in my mouth. The best way to do so? Say nothing. Just sit, quietly, listening. Smile and laugh and try to say only things that are encouraging and supportive of whatever everyone else is saying. Don’t have an opinion. Don’t tell a story. It’s bound to be misunderstood or taken wrong.

Just be yourself, we are told.

I’d like to. I really would. But myself is someone who does not mean to offend or upset. I am someone who cares, who is sensitive, who believes in pacifism. If I am around people who react to me with anger, annoyance or irritation, I can’t help but believe that I am doing something wrong. I am offending and upsetting.

That is how I react, that is what I think. I can’t help it. When this sort of cycle starts, it snowballs into situations that are quite uncomfortable. So I would make myself small, because fighting only made it worse. I would twist myself up in knots of worry. I felt shackled, sad, forced to contain myself in ways that hurt.

People push and push and insist and need and want me to be something I’m not. To give and bend and be what they think a person should be. And then they watch in baffled wonder when I finally blow up. When I’ve dealt with, tolerated, stood by and done my damnedest to fit what they want me to be. And I can’t. I can’t be something I’m not.

Being normal isn’t something I do easily or well. I’ve had meltdowns and burnout on multiple occasions. I don’t react or deal when I reach a breaking point. I don’t expect people to understand. Or see outside themselves far enough to grasp how I feel.

Except for my husband. He sees the good in me and who I truly am and wish to be.

He sat by me, while I cried, yet again, because I just don’t understand why people are the way they are. And he wanted to do something, anything. He wanted to fight for me. And when I told him not to talk about the people poorly, even though those were who I was having a hard time with, he got that too. I defended the people who were involved in the situation that was hurting me time and again. Because I don’t believe in speaking ill of others. I don’t think it’s alright to perpetuate anger or hate.

And while I was still wrapped up on all of my internal anguish and drama, he started to tell me how he didn’t want to be angry anymore. That he didn’t want to be hurtful anymore.

He’s not angry or hurtful towards me, but he does carry a lot of anger with him into his life. I understand the reasons, I know what has caused him to be hard and angry. I understand how having a careless, bitter and angry attitude helps him get through. I know it keeps him from caring in a situation where he can’t win.

But I think that seeing the way that anger has hurt me, flipped a switch. I think he realized that he might be hurting other people like me, and that it’s not okay.

And he seems happier lately. It’s really beautiful to see. Because I need that strength and positivism right now. I need to know that love and focus and drive will get us what we need. I need hope. I need caring. I need people who are willing to change for the better.

And I need to know I’m not alone. With him setting the example, taking the lead, I’m going to climb out. I’m going to leave behind this hurt and build myself up again.

I’m strong.

I’m good.

And I like who I am, and who I strive to be every day.

 

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