I think we all have those moments where we take a serious look at our surroundings, examine the people in our lives and go ‘what the fuck is wrong with me? Seriously.” Those strange moments where we’re sure we are some sort of alien species barely resembling the other well adjusted humans around us because everything we do suddenly seems off kilter. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but the point is that I think we all feel different and alone at some point in our lives (the reality being that we are neither different nor alone, of course).
Growing up, riddled with the female stereotypes of prior generations, I seriously thought I was emotionally broken. I felt like I was lacking some key sensitivity gland or brain wave because I had a hell of a hard time relating to the other girls/women around me. Contrary to what others might believe, I didn’t think I was better than them because I was apparently emotionally stunted; I was hugely, painfully, envious of them. Like the true and special snowflake I am (sarcasm) I did, and still kind of do, suck at expressing myself emotionally, which apparently is a big deal when you have breasts and a vagina. But because I’m not a special snow flake, I’m sure some of you can relate to the following:
1. You’ve been accused on more than one occasion of being heartless because your first instinct when something serious or life changing happens isn’t some sort of extreme emotional response. Tears are a rare thing for you, and you often internalize things until you can properly examine and understand them.
2. People (usually other women) have accused you many times of just ‘trying to be one of the guys’ as though your lack of sensitivity is a show to make you more attractive to the opposite gender.
3. In reality: sure, men seem to initially appreciate your laid back, easy going demeanor, but it actually ends up turning against you. Unless you’re dating a man who’s very in touch with his emotions (again, yaaaaaaay for cultural conditioning), you kind of end up in this weird limbo land where neither of you can communicate about your feelings very well. I’ve always personally been envious of some women for their ability to facilitate that sort of thing naturally.
4. Deeply emotional proclamations of love and affection are your personal hell. You’ve never been very eloquent when it comes to expressing how you feel, and flowery speeches from others, no matter how heartfelt, always kind of make you cringe.
5. You seriously suck at comforting people and it makes you silently hate yourself. You often wish you knew what to say to make the people you care about feel better but you usually feel you’ve fallen short.
6. You don’t actually have a problem talking to people. You’re not exactly introverted or antisocial; it’s more that your interactions often stay on a surface level. You like people, but you tend to like them at a distance and somewhat superficially.
7. When you are upset, sad, or hurt, you instinctually distance yourself from others. You understand that many people find comfort from being around other people, and part of you thinks you probably would too, but you have an incredibly hard time opening yourself up and making yourself vulnerable. This often causes rifts in your friendships.
8. Making deep, lasting connections with people is very hard for you. People typically bond (in my experiences, women especially) through opening up to one another emotionally. You keep pieces of yourself private and this can often get in the way, leaving you never feeling truly connected.
9. You tend to be blunt and to the point about an issue. When you care about someone, you feel that they deserve your honesty and not any sort of pandering or skirting around an issue.
10. Because you have a hard time expressing yourself verbally to others, you probably find other outlets. Such as writing (hint hint), drawing, painting, other forms of creative arts, or physical activities that allow you to expel whatever internal energies you’re struggling with.
11. When you finally do build yourself up to opening up to others, you feel as fragile as glass. There are few things in life more terrifying to you than allowing someone to see your weaknesses and desperately hoping they’ll care for you anyway.
12. You frequently find yourself the emotional protector of your female friends. There to defend them from the harsh words of others because the opinions of people you don’t care about rarely, if ever, affect you. You’re not the type to get upset over what other people say about you, but you’ll be damned if you let other people hurt the people you care about.
13. Alright, so occasionally you can relate when some guys say that women are ‘crazy’ because yeah, there are moments when your friends’ erratic emotions do seem crazy. But then, when you’re expressing an opinion and some dude tells you that ‘all women are crazy’ you realize how fucked up that whole idea is and that honestly, your lack of emotional connection is probably the bigger issue anyway.
14. When you do care for someone or something it is never half assed. It is balls to the walls, over the moon and maybe a little irrational. There really isn’t a middle ground for you, which might honestly be healthier.
15. Secretly, deep down, you’re the worst romantic. You might not cry during heartfelt movies, but they always get you right in the feels and you secretly love the stupid, completely unrealistic way chick flicks portray love.
16. Eventually, as you grow and learn and experience, you appreciate that everyone actually is just a little bit different, and it has nothing to do with gender. You’re a work in progress, but you’re not broken.