I always considered myself to be a very emotive person. I have strong emotions and I’m not afraid to show them. Or so I thought.
Years ago, when I was in my previous school, I took part in some leadership training. Part of the process was that I had to choose a number of colleagues to complete a detailed, anonymous, questionnaire about me. The results came back as a report.
The biggest surprise to me, without a shadow of a doubt, was that everyone had commented that I did not share my feelings. I was hard to read. I didn’t tell people what I was thinking on a personal level. I was astounded. I thought it was the opposite! I was too emotive, too open.
I considered this for some time and came to the conclusion that I had over-compensated for this belief I had in myself. My attempts at a poker face, hiding my emotions as a guise to look professional, had been all too successful. Later, when I moved schools, and ever conscious of this, my suspicions were confirmed when a new colleague commented upon how calm and effective I was – never showing any stress etc. At that time, I was as stressed as I had ever been, and so it confirmed my thinking.
Family, on being approached about the subject, said that I hid my emotions and feelings unless I wanted to. Then, and only then, would I openly share and discuss my thoughts and feelings openly. I was amazed at this view of me, so different from my own. Again, I could only conclude that this perception I had of myself – of being too open and emotive – had led to me hiding my feelings, more than I thought was possible.
And maybe, just maybe, I began to get better at hiding my own feelings from myself. When I had my burn out/break down three years ago, my counsellor and I discussed how I had repressed so many thoughts and feelings that eventually my pysche had fought back. Everything flooded my system to the point that I couldn’t function under the weight of it.
I don’t know how much I have changed, being honest. I know I am much more self aware now. More than I ever was. If anything, I now have to fight to control and manage my ever active thoughts and emotions.
There are some that are hidden though – I haven’t changed that much. Some I have under lock and key and don’t allow to surface often. But part of my recovery was to acknowledge that by hiding and repressing these thoughts and feelings I wasn’t dealing with them. And the more I didn’t deal with them the more power I gave them.
The difference now is, I choose when to deal with them. I monitor them and wait for the right time to think and deal. Sometimes I get it wrong – I’m human not a robot – and they overpower and overwhelm. Then, I have to deal with them with more urgency and learn from the process.
Ironically, the one person who seems to be able to read me easier than anyone else, my new boyfriend, is the source of many of my currently undealt-with-hidden thoughts and emotions. No one has ever been able to read me as accurately and as openly as he can. I swear that man can read my mind.
But with that comes fear. Fear that I may lose this man. Fear that I am reading him wrong. Fear that this is not what I feel it is. Those fears conjur all sorts of ideas and thoughts, many which unhappily become unhidden by their own volition or often by him seeing them before I do.
So, maybe that’s what true love is. Two lives where together, nothing can be hidden. I don’t know. But I really hope I’m proved right with him.