Adventure in Heart Fatigue

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.

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Adventure in Head/Heart

Here’s the thing about being 26 and shockingly and newly content. According to the TV I’m supposed to have known for at least the last eight years who I am. Four years for sure. As it turns out it’s a lot closer to maybe the last three months. My college brain was in such a little safety net that it didn’t matter how much I thought I knew myself. It’s not until I actually have to make logical decisions on my own without thinking about how it will impact another person in my life that I really start to feel like maybe I am who I am. Even if I still don’t completely understand who that is.

I play my life pretty close to the vest, a phrase I hate, but it’s hard to explain. Maybe it’s more logical to say I keep my emotional bullshit as tight inside me as I can without having to worry about it impacting someone else. Because of this I try to process things as detached from my emotions as possible Some times that’s impossible, but not always. Usually I can separate the logical from the broken emotional state that is almost constantly rattling my brain. If I couldn’t separate the two, I’d never leave my bed. I just wouldn’t.

As it is that means my 26-year-old brain and heart are almost consistently at war with one another. My brain can’t comprehend my heart, and my heart absolutely hates my brain. My heart is a whiny 13-year-old who simply wants to be listened to and feel loved, while my brain would just like to see things get done and have everything work out without any stupid fuss. Because of this my brain shuts my heart down a lot. My heart starts to hurt or swoon, and Jack Donaghy arms waving my brain declares “Shut it down!” And my heart quietly whimpers into the oblivion of the day.

When the time comes to need my heart, to let my heart be in charge of the situation it destroys me. The smallest of feels turns into a cavalcade of desperate emotion that rips all logic and reason apart. Pity turns into utter heart-break and desolation. Actually, most emotions, when I let them run free, turn into this ripping and self-destructive heart-destruction that renders me useless. Maybe I’ve always believed my emotions were invalid. Maybe I’ve always believed my emotions were less relevant than my thoughts. Maybe I’ve always believed my emotions would only get in the way of life or become burdensome to those around me. Or maybe I’ve always believed that my emotions would detract from the emotions of others. Maybe I’ve always believed all of those things. That seems less important than the fact that now I have no idea what to even do with emotions except stifle them until I can be completely alone to deal with them.

Let me tell you a thing about being alone with these emotions of mine, if you haven’t figured it out yet. It’s a bad plan. It’s necessary, for now, until I can figure out what else to do with them. But for not it’s a very bad plan for me to be alone with them, because my emotions are the girl in your 5th grade class who sent you to another girl to play with to distract her from hanging out with the popular kids. The thing about that is that, yes you’ll make a pretty cool friend in the process, but you’re also being totally used and sent away for a reason. You also were not cool. My emotions are that girl. They’re bullies. They’re pre-teen bullies. Determined to destroy. And without a knowledgeable and aware adult to help me deal with them they’ll eat me alive.

For now? I’ll be bullied. Until I can figure out how to stand up for myself without killing my emotions. Because that’s the thing about bitchy bullies. You just sort of have to deal with them, whether you like it or not. They aren’t going away, but some day they’ll get better. And some day? So will I.

Semi-related, if you’ve never taken the Myers-Briggs test, I really encourage you too. As a freshman theatre major we all took it, and I think it really helped us 1) understand our own brains a little bit, but 2) understand each other. ¬†As it turns out though, for me I need to be isolated to take personality tests, otherwise, I give my answers based on my environment rather than actually mulling them over. When I first took it I was an ENFP. I am not. At all. I’m an INFJ. And some times that’s an enormous capital I, which looks a lot like this.

infj-head

And some times it looks a lot like this.stressors

Also, some times when you’re 26, you don’t brush your hair for two weeks, and you just don’t even care.