A few weeks ago, for the first time in my life, my sister told me I’d calmed down a lot of late. It’s never been a word used to describe me. It’s never even been in the ballpark. It’s so alien to me, that I didn’t quite process it until she repeated it a few days later to a relative. I liked it. I took it as a compliment. I told myself it’s a sign of growing up. Maybe I’d finally matured a little. At the age of 35, it’s pretty much now or never, I thought. I enjoyed the feeling. I even started telling people I’d calmed down. Tested the word out to hear how it sounded.
Sometimes I opted for mellow. “I’ve mellowed in my old age,” I proudly told people. They said it was probably an age thing. I agreed, not really giving much thought to why I’d changed. It wasn’t drastic. How I’d coped with the end of a relationship last year had given me an inkling, but I still had twitter fights with people who spouted bigoted comments and spoke my mind with relatives, who I’ve had to endure more so of late, but I didn’t get worked up about it and I didn’t get upset. I was finally like other people.
Then a couple of weeks ago, it all changed. First, I heard someone I considered a friend, react in a way to something I’d said that was so unexpected, that with a heavy heart, I unfollowed him. Then later the same week, I got upset with someone else, told them they’d hurt me and unfollowed them too. It’s been a long two weeks, with a bereavement in the family and all the stress and fatigue that brings and I’m sure that played a part on both occasions, but in the case of the latter one, I wasn’t expecting either my reaction, or theirs. In fairness, they didn’t do or say anything terrible and I knew I was probably overreacting, but it made me take a long hard look at myself.
If I’m honest, much as I liked the idea of fitting in, I’m not sure I ever felt comfortable with the idea of conforming. I’ve always been fiery, outspoken and emotional. If you’re kind, you’d call it passionate. I feel strongly about things, I hurt easily and I care. A lot. This is why I’ve never understood laid back people and I tend not to get along with them. My thinking is that it’s easy to be laid back if you don’t give a damn. I don’t believe you can be easygoing about things you care about. To me, indifference is far more painful than a heated row. I’d much rather be shouted at than be ignored. Anyone who’s close to me, knows this. There aren’t many of them, because not everyone knows how to handle me. I’m difficult, I know that. I’m not sure where I get it from, because I’m nothing like my parents or siblings. I’m also painfully honest. I warn everyone about what I can be like, so they know what to expect.
So if I could, would I change? I’m not sure I would.
Despite the hurt, it felt good to just FEEL again. As a child, I was very angry. I think I had good reason to be, but back then, it was always put down to being spoilt as the youngest. This was far from the truth, but children are often dismissed when they express their frustration, even though they’re the most honest. I’m still that child deep down, but I’ve stopped screaming. The calmness of the last few months wasn’t a sign of growing up or conforming, it was a sign of not caring. The events of last year left me numb and for a while, I lost faith in both other people and myself. It’s happened once before and it took me a long time to return to who I am. It’s only in the last couple of days I’ve realised this and though I’d maybe choose to react differently and to an extent, I am a little calmer, the day I become easygoing, is the day I give up. I see a lot of people like that and they seem very happy, but would I trade places with them? Never in a million years because yes I’m difficult, yes I overreact and yes I’m passionate, but I wouldn’t be any of those things if I didn’t love enough to emote and it is never mean spirited or cruel. Just me being who I am, no barriers, no filter. Nor do I ever shy away from apologising when I’m wrong. (Don’t expect any tears though.) So it’s not a matter of getting past those things or loving me inspite of them, but a case of loving me BECAUSE of them, as my worst character traits are also my best. So know that if I let you in, there will always be a place for you in my heart, no matter what.