the crux of it
tell ‘em how you really feel
I often wonder if the mature response to something is actually the healthier response. There are a lot of things out there to be mad about - totally normal things - that I don’t get mad about. I might even look down on someone else for getting mad about things that are engineered to produce anger. The fact that I often “turn the other cheek” leads people to tell me that I’m “level-headed”, or “emotionally mature”. No, I just don’t react like many people do. I wasn’t engineered that way. Maybe there are some advantages - it’s pretty hard to get mad about trolls, for instance. I can sit through a friend or acquaintance crawling up my butt because they misunderstood something I said, without being particularly bothered by it. I’m an observer.
The thing is, sometimes a person needs to be able to do more than observe. We have feelings for a reason. As much as I might roll my eyes at some doofus getting mad about heightism or fictives, at least their brain produces and interprets chemical signals somewhat normally. When a friend shits all over them, those chemical signals will be ready. They will be prepared to have a normal emotional reaction. They will know, at least roughly, when to step in and set a boundary; to stick up for themselves. I won’t be ready. It may take me days to even figure out that I was affected by what was said to me, or how it affected me. It may never bother me at all, potentially leading to more unwanted or downright bad treatment. I was raised in an environment where being inert was the most effective strategy; now that I’m in an environment where being emotionally inert doesn’t really help, I can’t just snap my fingers and switch the coping mechanisms off.
I wish I could. I really do. There was a long time in my life where I couldn’t see myself as an adult. I couldn’t see how I would ever make it. I wasn’t sure how I’d cease to be before I reached adulthood, but it seemed like the logical outcome. When I got a little older and “getting out” grew into something I might be able to desperately swing, I just assumed I’d be better when I was out. Just like that. Done. I’m out. I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be fine? Sure, I’m sad, but I live a questionable life, to put it mildly. Anybody would probably be pretty unhappy in this situation.
It rarely works that way, does it? It didn’t work that way. God, it didn’t work that way at all. Every skill I learned to grind my way through life with people who rather stubbornly didn’t want to be lived with, every hard lesson, is damage out here in the real world. I can’t just turn it all off. I’m smart. I’m self-aware. I have that going for me, if nothing else (and I often feel like, as far as things I am responsible for go, that is all I have going for me). And yet - I can’t tell my brain what to do. I can’t tell it to do the simplest things. Instead of making me extra-fit for adult life, a shitty childhood prepared me for life as a shitty adult. I feel like it gets worse every year. The only time I thrive? An emergency. I get cornered by a crackhead? Oh, I know how to deal with this emotionally. Later, receive much laud for “unusual calm”. Rape? Yeah, I can deal with that. I’m cool. Homework due in two days? Can’t do it. Lament. Shit habit death spiral.
What I want to do is to be mad at my family, like, really irrationally pissing fire levels of mad, like people sometimes get in these situations. I don’t know if if would actually fix anything. It probably wouldn’t, knowing how these things tend to go. But - as a matter of principle. It seems like it would be the healthier thing to do.
Instead, it’s all just kinda washed-out yellow-gray feelings mush. It’s regret. Resentment. The knowledge they will never be better people. The worry that my half-brother will grow up to assault someone. The worry that, that someone will be me. I can’t help but wonder what it might’ve been like if things were even a little different. I did so well in school, for so long. What if someone had picked me up when I slipped? What if I graduated high school? What if I hadn’t spent the last 10 years of my life, varying degrees of depressed? What if my mom socialized me as a kid? What if I still believed that I could do it if I just tell myself I can? What if I had what it took? What if I wasn’t a cautionary tale? What if I wasn’t a statistic?
What if it was easier to do easy things?
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- sissyclub said: i so expect to be treated as inferior that i dont know its happening and accept it graciously
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- warchiefeny said: I have a few thoughts on this but I’m not sure how I feel about making it public.
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- polks said: but also have similar problems where I feel i can only thrive in emergency situations under intense stress. It’s incredibly frustrating and difficult to deal with. I hope you are able to learn how to cope with what is supposed to be every day life.
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- ivysaurr said: I find comfort in how much I identify with you, though our contexts differ. For example, my mom socialized me a shit ton when I was young, but I still turned out to be an extremely EXTREMELY introverted person. And she still doesn’t understand that.
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- paintcache said: I’ve spent a lot of time recently completely relieved that I am a reasonably emotionally intact person, but I did have the same fears that you’ve described. I was lucky to have been in better circumstances in childhood. I don’t know what else to say.
- racheldukes said: I identify with this so much.
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- boogeois said: feel what you’re feeling and express it how you want, always.
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