oh, man, what a week. crises, emotional freakouts, the whole nine yards. i have an exam in two hours. i should be studying, but i have approximately no attention span, because i am also ragingly ill with the worst cold i've had in years. when it rains, it freaking pours. i've been just a joy to be around, too. i've gotten into a series of really stupid arguments with the man, over tiny little things like he interrupted me! he must not respect the things i say! and hey, in this debate we're having over social issues, he keeps countering my arguments with blue-collar vs. white-collar examples. he thinks i have privilege bias! (the life of the mind, eh?)
boy, when i want to be, i really can be a petulant child. it's the curse of the self-aware, too, that even as i'm throwing fits, i recognize how stupid i'm being, and yet seem powerless to stop it. the other night, when i was decompressing over the missing neighbor problem, i started into another one of my world-famous worry cycles. as i unloaded, the man responded to my concerns with solutions. god, it turned into one of those stereotypical man/woman conversations: he wants to fix it! i want to vent! when i said as much, he threw his hands in the air and said, fine. talk.
when i did, he listened. he's good like that. but then he said, as he's taken to doing lately, is being upset or angry about this doing any good? what are you talking about? i'm getting it out of my system! no, you're not. you take all of this stress onto yourself, stress that really has nothing whatsoever to do with you, and let it eat you alive. then you come to me and collapse into a puddle, telling me that you're overwrought and you want it all to go away. here's the hint, darlin': YOU have to make it go away. just look these problems in the face and tell them that you can't do it right now.
good lord, he's smart. see, i've always fancied myself as managing my emotions when i go on these rants. i told him, have you ever known me in all these years to be any different? this is just what i do. i take on the problems of those i love as my own. yeah, you do. and i think it's killing you. but how do you stop? you just do. you have to, for your own self-preservation, limit your emotional exposure to other people's problems. you can't save us all, babe.
that's the big secret, i guess. i get so tied up with doing what i can to help people i love. it's like the old george steinbrenner quote: if i can help, i wanna help. my issue comes with determining where i can actually help and where my exposure is just hurting me and doing no one else any good, either. so that's the work i have to put forth in the short term: building up my little garden walls. i'll never have a fortress around my heart; it's not in my nature not to be empathetic almost to a fault. but i do need a little barrier, a little form of insulation, to keep myself - and those around me - from going insane. and hopefully, this'll keep the tantrums in check, too.
now if you'll excuse me, i need to go read about tax allocation language in operating agreements, while trying to limit the number of times i sneeze between now and the end of the test. happy saturday, eh?
Letter 70: Be Louder
5 weeks ago