Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bad Bottling

I'm a bottler. For some reason, all my life, I've kept my emotions to myself. I'm strong and independent and I don't need anyone and I don't need feelings and I CAN DO IT!

Once in kindergarten, I decided to get off the school bus at the stop before my regular one and walk. Why? Because I wanted to be adventurous and independent! I was a big girl! (I was not.) The problem is that I have always been geographically challenged, and at the age of 4 it was even worse. I had no idea which stop would be the one before mine, and having decided this whole thing spontaneously, I certainly hadn't been paying attention and plotting and planning. I was wingin' it, baby!

I picked a stop that felt close to home. I exited the bus, tremulous with fear and excitement (knowing myself, I probably was literally trembling. I do that when I'm nervous, and it's REALLY FUCKING ANNOYING.), and stared out at the expanse of strange sidewalk ahead. ...nothing looked familiar. Oops.

So I started walking along, somewhat randomly but with a vague feeling that I was headed toward home, when a car pulled up next to me. No, this story isn't about to take a creepy serial killer turn: it was my mom. See, when I was 4, I lived on a little tiny island near Japan. My mom was driving home from the grocery store, and since the whole place was so little, it wasn't an outrageous coincidence at all that she would pass by where I was ambling. I got in the car, was yelled at, etc. and for some reason I have never, ever forgotten that afternoon. Mom said the bus driver had probably been worried seeing me get off at an unusual stop, and I remember thinking to myself that there was no way because I totally looked absolutely sure of myself (as long as you didn't get close enough to see the shaking).

My point is that I have always been this way. A loner, stuck in my own head, trying new (and often stupid) things, trying my best not to let on that I'm scared or vulnerable. If I cried, I was told to cut it out or I'd be given "something to cry about." I often played by myself, and was terrible in school about asking questions if I didn't know what was going on (I'm still terrible about that).

The problem is that after a time, the bottle gets full. And I get this awful full, heavy feeling and I end up exploding with crazy emotions all over some poor sap who just happens to be nearby, and then I'm mortified. I once took the Myers-Briggs personality test at the behest of a boss, and while I can't recall offhand what my result letters were (although I do remember I was just about on the line for introvert/extrovert, with just a point or two nudging me onto the introvert side), I do recall that in the description it said that people with this result are often rather stoic, but then will have an emotional outburst, and promptly be ashamed of said outburst.

I remember reading that line, underlining it, feeling like OH MY GOD THIS IS SO ME.

As I get older, my bottle gets bigger. Or maybe I'm better able at smooshing things so more fits in? Who knows... all I know is pretending I'm tough and emotionless is exhausting sometimes, and today is one of those times. Today I can feel that the bottle is getting pretty close to being full, and I'm realizing I don't remember the last time I really cried, and I sort of want someone to punch me in the face so that I can feel like it's okay to cry.

Sorry for the super heavy post. In the future, I will deny all accusations that I have shown myself to have actual Feelings and Emotions and that I dared even mention the very notion that I might actually cry sometimes (I'm pretty sure I do, although seriously, I can't even remember). Why do I feel like I can't show these things? Why do I feel like it's weakness?


  1. Letting down your guard is an act of vulnerability, which is easily mistaken for weakness. It's why I have the whole "Gonzo" persona that everyone sees. People are often weirded-out and run-off by Kevin. While this has resulted in a chain of unfortunate relationships and alienated friends, it seems like the only thing I can do.

    I don't and won't presume to act like I know you, what you feel, or the reasons why. But, I think I can relate, and maybe it's worth something to you just knowing that. Maybe not. Either way, I'm sorry you're feeling this way and hope it gets better.

  2. *hug* I love you peanut. It is really to common to not feel like you can be weak or vulnerable. Some of us have it drilled in by our parents (high expectations, do better, try harder). Some of it can be a feeling that you need to please people (with how much you can help/do) or that you don't want to feel like a burden.

  3. I feel like that sometimes too. You bottle things up and just move along with the day. Then something triggers you and you're crying for about an hour and you really don't understand why.
    I went for a walk the other day and passed by this elderly couple sitting at a picnic table. The lady had a wheelchair, but was sitting by her husband. He had is arm around her and they were just taking in the sun. I said hello as I walked past and not more than 10 steps later started crying and couldn't stop for awhile.

  4. Aw, that is both sad and sweet. Elderly couples being affectionate always gets to me, too.