Monday, September 14, 2009

Oh, the Melodrama

I am nothing if not melodramatic. I know this about myself. I don’t much like this about myself, and yet I continue to be this way. With me, it’s all the biggest, smallest, best, worst, most, least, superlative after superlative. Things are always or never. Moderation is unknown when it comes to me expressing my emotions. They are what they are, and they are right out there for everyone to see. At least they used to be.

Now, throughout my life I tried to moderate myself somewhat just because that’s how society in general and close family and friends in particular seemed to prefer me. I tone down the highest highs and lowest lows to the best of my ability. I try not to cry copious tears in front of others, and I also try not to get too giddy in celebration in front of others. I try (I don’t always succeed) to “maintain my composure” because that’s what polite society does. Yet I am still seen by others as melodramatic. Obviously, my efforts at toning down are not all they’ve cracked up to be.

Interestingly enough, I find that scare people off almost as much with my highs as with my lows. Somehow, people almost seem more willing (in general, with a few notable exceptions) to deal with the lowest of the low me than the highest of the high me. I guess when I’m curled up in a corner it’s just easier to put an arm around me and “there, there” me than to tolerate me when I’m jumping up and down shouting for joy. People almost seem to have a “yeah, yeah, whatever, get over it” kind of attitude when I’m all excited about something. I guess “why yes, I did pass the CPA exam in one try” (yawn) is easier to take than “OMG! OMG! OMG! I passed!” (jumping up and down, waving arms) as just one example.

It has gotten so that I no longer dare get excited in a happy way over anything because there is always someone nearby to bring me back down to earth, to break my spirit, to try and convince me that things aren’t all that great. I even decided that perhaps I was bipolar because it seemed that if I wasn’t in the black hole I was so lightheartedly happy that I seemed to scare people. It was only through therapy that I’ve come to accept that bipolar in no way describes what I am. It turns out my therapist even assured me that it was quite normal and okay to feel really really happy sometimes, particularly when things are going well.

So what am I trying to say here? I don’t know. I thought I had a point somewhere in here, but as I write it just seems to be getting all muddled. I think one point is that I am trying to break free of the shackles that keep me from feeling and expressing “too much” and moving to a place in my psyche where I can experience emotions, both negative and positive, at whatever level I feel them, even when they are melodramatic, and to embrace them and move through them and not get so caught up on whether it’s okay to feel this good or this bad. There is no okay or not okay. It just is, and the sooner I accept that it just is what it is and that I cannot squelch it without hurting myself a little each time I do, the better off I’ll be.


And on another note, I had the most interesting (another superlative folks!) dream last night. I went to see BJ because I thought I knew the answer to our problems. I explained to him that he may have erroneously gotten the wrong impression because of some of my less than assertive behavior regarding a certain something so that he thought I was all talk and no action. He agreed that is how he perceived the situation. I explained to him how I really felt about the subject and what was holding me back and how we could remedy it. He looked at me skeptically but agreed to try what I suggested. We then went to a party with some other people, and I showed him that I was quite happy to participate, just shy about initiating and getting started even to the point of kind of standing off to one side until someone specifically invited me to join in. As it turned out in the dream, however, I was completely wrong, and he just didn’t want to be with me anymore no matter whether I overcame my shyness or not so I just turned my attention to the other people there and ignored him for the rest of the evening. The feelings I had in the dream were of sadness at losing him but very proud of myself for sticking around and getting to know the other people with the thought that I was even making some new friends.

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