I was raised by a mother who once told me: “Always say yes if a boy asks you out. You never want to come off as mean.”
Major feminist concerns about that mantra aside, I internalized my mother’s wish and rebelled against it—I actively went about meeting and developing relationships with people with the intention of always being the stronger, less emotional one.
I was everybody’s rock.
A certain power came from this responsibility that I created for myself. I knew every dark, suppressed secret and anxiety that internally terrorized my friends and partners, and made sure I never divulged my own.
I did this with the purpose of giving myself the option to break other people’s hearts. Never the other way around.
I grew up a really sensitive and shy kid—I would taste bile at someone pointing out my glasses, beat myself up if someone forgot my name—and spent years tormented by how people could clearly read my vulnerabilities and insecurities as if they were tattooed across my forehead.
(Side note: I was also really sensitive about my forehead, which only made things worse.)
I molded myself a thickened shell that would swallow up my real thoughts and feelings so that nobody could ever use them against me.
I began to categorize honest emotions as weaknesses that could easily be used against me. I wasn’t going to play up to the idea that I could be some feeble, emotional girl.
I spent years existing with the mentality that feeling nothing was ideal—until I actually lived through it, and realized how desperately I craved experiencing even a dose of those feelings I so strongly wanted to avoid.
There is nothing real about feeling nothing.
I’m finished with pretending that I’m an emotionless robot because I assume it makes everyone else think I have my shit together.
Because, frankly, I really don’t. And I don’t really think anyone does.
I want to sob when I’m miserable and stressed, blush when I’m angry, confront my fears openly (because I have many), and infuse my life with honesty about how I’m actually feeling.
I don’t want to feel a rush of power from watching someone else act open and vulnerable.
I’m a woman and I cry, damn it.
I’m going to hold your hand, I’m going to cover you in happy kisses, I’m going to cry when you hurt my feelings.
I’ve stopped trying to break everyone’s heart. And I’ve stopped being scared that someone is going to break mine.