The truth is my heart is very tired. My brain is too. But my heart is very tired. I think the actual muscle, but I mean to say my emotional strength is fatigued.
It may not be easy for you to see, but a thing that is true about me is that I’m not very good at talking about how I’m doing. I’m not actually very good at speaking in general, but when it comes time to express something significant about me I sort of crumble. I can make jokes for days, but if you were to sit me down and ask into the truth about how I’m doing you would have to do most of the work. Asking as many questions as possible to get the real answer out of me. Because most of the time I’m fine. I say, “I’m fine.” If you want to know what I’m thinking about, you’re going to get either “nothing really at all” or “too much to get into.” The latter probably being more truthful. I’m fine because I think I have to be for the sake of everyone else. I’m not thinking about anything because the things I’m thinking about feel like they’re too much for me, and I daresn’t put them on you as well.
Please don’t mistake any of this for selflessness. It is not. It’s fear. It’s an unwillingness to share. But mostly it’s fear. I’ve lost so many people over time by sharing. By being “too honest,” as they’ve called it. I’ve spent too much of my life having it expected of me to be fine. So rather than explain to teachers or parents who wanted me to watch over their burdened students or children that I too am not well, I let them believe they were right. Because I’m proud. Because it feels good to trick people into thinking I’m okay. Because I like responsibility. Instead I made myself a martyr. Making yourself a martyr isn’t selflessness. It’s pride. It’s a very sick version of pride. I’m sick. I’ve always been sick like this.
Now at 26 I find myself truly unable to even know how to approach the idea of how I’m doing to someone who has even asked. Don’t get me started on how some times I know I need to share and can’t figure out how to tell someone I need to talk. Oh, too late. I got me started on it. I don’t know how to do it. I skirt the issue. I tell someone some weird vague emotional fact. “Friday nights are stupid when you have to spend them alone every week.” “Yeah they are.” End conversation. But what I meant was, “can you come over or can I call you so I can tell you about how my heart is being destroyed?” But I can’t just say that because what if that person is also having a horrible time, and I just make myself a part of their problem or make their problem worse? Hey, Hayley, how self-important are you that you would think your burdens would weigh on someone else the same way they weigh on you? You aren’t that important. That’s not how people work. Normal people can separate their own issues from another person’s.
I’m working on it. Theoretically. Mostly I realize it’s a problem in my head. Maybe some day I’ll just be able to say to someone–whatever it is people say when they know they need to just talk to someone about their life for a minute.