By: Abrena Rowe ~Opinions and Editorials Editor~
I am an open book: Everything anyone ever needs to know about me is clear, concise and easy to read. Even things people don’t necessarily need to know about me I broadcast to the whole world. I am emotional, and I tend to let my emotions dictate my actions. I rarely think before I say or do anything — whatever I’m feeling at the time overtakes reason and logic in any given situation.
I am not afraid to hide how I feel from anyone because it would take extreme effort on my part to conceal my feelings from someone. If I like you, I will let you know. If you are important to me, I will let you know. If you have hurt me, I will let you know. And if I want nothing to do with you anymore, I will certainly let you know.
But it’s exhausting, constantly emptying my soul to each individual I encounter. Hoping that if they know about all my triumphs and missteps they will understand me better. Hoping that if they understand my life and thought processes they will more readily forgive me if the actions I carry out with pure, raw emotion and without thought or care hurt them in any way. Because I care deeply about that. I want people to walk away after having me in their lives knowing I never intend to cause harm. I just don’t always realize in the moment how my actions affect others.
I have always wondered why being a highly emotional person is met with judgement. People chide me for being emotional and joke about my decisions being based on blind rage.
We teach children from a young age that they are not to put their emotions on full display. Boys are taught that they will be seen as weak if they stray from masculine emotions like aggression and pride. Girls are taught the acceptable ways for them to emote are through feminine emotions like sadness, anxiety and happiness.
I have witnessed parents telling their children, regardless of gender, to stop crying, to stop reacting and to stop displaying any type of emotion, especially in public, that could be considered excessive. At such a young age, being told the way you feel is inappropriate when there is no harm cast on anyone is detrimental. The ability to express oneself openly is imperative to leading a less stressful life.
Over the years I have found that being able to express how I feel, rather than letting it sit in my mind and heart, has allowed me to grow closer not only to those in my life but also to myself. Prior to this discovery, I used to constantly bottle up and conceal my feelings. I believed it was easier for everyone if my demeanor was joyful, if my face was permanently adorned with a smile and if I never let a complaint escape from my lips.
It killed me inside, not being able to voice my feelings in fear of upsetting others, not expressing any form of anger or sadness because I believed people expected me to be the girl who brightened everyone else’s day. The emotional walls I had built up in an attempt to be the perfect daughter, friend, student, etc. started to push people away. I felt isolated because no one knew how I felt, and no one knew I was suffering and extremely unhappy.
Breaking down my walls and allowing myself to become an emotional person is probably the best change I’ve made. But I still hide. I still conceal certain emotions from people. I still think it is wrong and shameful to publicly cry. I still find myself biting my tongue in certain situations.
Sometimes it’s necessary to behave this way to protect myself from getting hurt. But sometimes it’s not, and sometimes, who really knows? What I am sure of is that since embracing the hurricane of emotions I possess and allowing them to be on full display, I have never been happier with who I am.