I’m not sure if I will post this, and if i do I’m not sure I want people who know me well to read it. So if you read this, and do know me, please be kind.
My house is very clean today. And I don’t really like cleaning. But it’s one of those activities that helps you shut your mind off to stuff. Now that I think about it, I do like to shut off from emotions, particularly strong ones. I describe myself as a ‘non-confrontational’ person, but I’m starting to think that means a ‘shying away from difficult feelings’ person. I think this could also be an explanation for my somewhat steely exterior that has unfortunately been cultivated over the years. It’s not something I like about myself, but I know it’s been noticed and I’ve been told about it a few times- ‘you’re a bit scary’ which although painful to hear, was probably valid.
I’m a ‘social chameleon’, I like to say, and used to be quite proud of that. My ability to blend into most social scenarios is pretty useful. But is it all just a mask hiding the ‘real me’? Who is that anyway?! One day I think I know myself pretty well, and the next I just want to hide and not talk to anyone – that’s not who I thought I was.
We are all products of circumstance, a mix of nature and nurture is my belief. I see character traits in myself from my parents, some I like, some I don’t, but the bits I don’t like (I think) are because it scares me that I can’t seem to change them. I can mask them, temper them, but sooner or later they bubble to the surface.
Being aware of my foibles and flaws is helpful- ignorance is surely worse. I just know that extreme emotions make me feel really unstable and I can’t cope with it. I can write it down, I can share my most genuinely heartfelt feelings in a letter or a card, but bring me face to face and I will want to leg it.
What does this mean? Is it years of ‘coping’ with stuff and creating a superficial exterior that has brought me here? I feel like I’m in a place now where I can’t always identify my emotions. In a situation where I think I should feel sad, I just don’t know if I do or if I’m manufacturing the sadness out of a perceived obligation. This is weird.
It could also be my sort of nomadic existence over the last 5 years, a million miles from my family and friends at a time in my life (having kids) that is extremely challenging and very very emotional. I’ve had no one to really lean on that I’ve known for more than 5 minutes (other than my partner). It’s hard and feels horribly inappropriate to share your life story with someone when you’ve just met them at the gym. So relationships remain pretty superficial and I deal with any shitness on my own, giving myself time to process and cope alone. Which I thought I was doing ok-and maybe I am, maybe I’m overthinking this. Most of the time I feel fine, genuinely fine. I count my lucky stars every single day.
It’s my brother’s birthday today, he would have been 41 but he died when he was 38. He never met my children – and only knew of one of them, and this breaks my heart. Today is a poignant day, make no mistake, but should I feel sadder today than I did yesterday or last week? I know there’s probably no answer to that question but I wrestle with it. Am I doing enough to remember him? Am I manufacturing memories, nicer than the real ones? I’m not sure anymore.