The One Where I, Annoyingly, Have More To Say About My Feelings

Yes, I know, I said I didn’t want to talk about them. And I don’t! But, I’m also the thinking-out-loud type, and there are new things on my mind. So you’re going to hear about them.

I’ve identified some problems I have, but I have no solutions, as of yet. Perhaps you, aetherbutts, shall help me. Perhaps typing them out is good enough, too.

The first is with the way I have been socialized. I was socialized, first, by Star Trek: Next Generation, which is the only Star Trek to have a ship’s councilor as a main character for their entire run. They’re pretty big on talking about your feelings, and seem to think it will fix them. This, sometimes, is true, but not always. After being socialized at home entirely by Trek reruns and some Buffy, and managing to make it through most of my childhood without coming into contact with gender roles, I made my first real friends ever in Middle School, all of whole were girls. I’m still friends with most of them, and they’re good people, but we did have sleepovers and talk about boys and now all of that stereotyped behavior is built into me.

Then, I went to Mary Baldwin. As if getting the staying up late talking, eating ice cream, and watching chick flicks behavior written into my head wasn’t enough, now I’ve got Lesbian Processing, too. And then I started seeing therapists. All I really know how to do is talk about my feelings. It’s not only the way I’ve been taught to solve problems, it’s the only social skill I have. I can’t talk about the weather. I can’t talk about sports. I can talk about my feelings. They might be about my parents, about my exs, or about fictional characters, but make no mistake, they’re always my feelings.

The second problem I’ve found is that my callousness vs. sensitivity rating falls in the decidedly unhelpful middle of the road. You’d think that would be a good thing. Not too callous, not too sensitive? No. Instead of being neither, I’m both.

Sadly, I’m going to be pulling out gender stereotypes again. I hate them, and I disagree with them, but the fact is, they’ve proven true in this case.

I am far too sensitive to deal with the men I know. Admittedly, I know very few. Some treat me less callously than others, but all are prone to saying things which leave me inordinately upset. I find myself incapable of arguing or even joking around, primarily with the men I know and sometimes with the women, without risk of some random comment cutting too deep.

On the other hand, I am too callous to deal with the women in my life. I’m almost constantly afraid of saying the wrong thing and upsetting someone. I’m emotionally unavailable to help or even cope with my friend’s emotional needs. Even when I do my very best to keep my stupid mouth shut and/or suck it up and be there for them, I end up doing it wrong.

At the same time, perhaps it is my oversensitivity, as well, that causes the fear? It’s my innate callousness which leads me to feel remarkably little compassion, basically all the time, but it’s my sensitivity which makes me worry myself sick over other people’s possible reactions to it.

I came to this pseudo-epiphany earlier today, or, I suppose, yesterday, when my dad and my brother were making fun of each other. It’s what we’ve always done in this family. We show our love by giving each other shit. I can’t deal with it very well any more, because I don’t really feel the love. But I sat there thinking, man, I wish I could still talk to them like that and not cry. Then I thought, shit, if I taught myself to talk like that and I did it to my friends, they’d probably cry.

And no I have no idea what to do, because what I want to do, what would be best for my emotional health would be to cultivate that callousness, because it’s innate in me, because it will protect me from shit I can’t deal with, because it will allow me to pal around with folks and not have a breakdown for no reason, and because it’s what I want. But I am horribly afraid to try it, because, although, in a vacuum, at least, it would be worlds better for me, I would run an untenably high risk of hurting friends I can’t afford to lose.

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~ by onetiddlyridley on March 24, 2011.

One Response to “The One Where I, Annoyingly, Have More To Say About My Feelings”

  1. This is a truly lovely, complicated, self deprecating, plaintive, sarcastic hopeful little blog. And I completely understand. Except I never really thought about it even though I’m obsessed with gender madness. Thanks for the insight. Keep up the good work please, please, we need more people like you. I don’t know who the we is- but yes! I guess balance is the keyword. As if it’s that simple but that’s all I can say. I feel as if my whole life I’ve been oscillating between these two extremes: Permeable- ridiculously open and sensitive to everything around me and Impermeable-just so cut off from everything. There has to be balance! I don’t know how but know that you’re not alone.

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