I now wonder how many people I’ve run off because I came across as indifferent in how I felt about them. It’s a product of my iron-clad approach to dating, developed after a heartbreak or two early on. It’s extremely important to me to never let anyone see me sweat. And I swear, my former therapist at one time told me I was doing the same thing… to her. The one day I for real broke down in her office, she looked so worried, I was concerned for her. In that moment, I realized my “cool as a cucumber” mask was on way too tight. I also don’t get visibly or audibly angry. Annoyed maybe, but not angry. My expression of anger is usually just pettiness, but even petty is drenched in a coating of no sweat. My ability to be vulnerable is broken. (lol)
The “Too Emotional” Adolescent
Because I know someone might wonder this while reading, I am a Sag. Apparently, this means I was born with a stony heart and a sword for a tongue. But I assure you I didn’t pop out of the womb this way. Early on in my life, I’ve always felt like no one would properly react to my emotions. My mother would specifically tell super young adolescent me that I was “too emotional” and that I pretty much needed to learn how not to be because it was highly unnecessary and unattractive. So, there’s that.
Previously, I’ve attracted and tried to build with emotionally brick walled men because that’s what I thought was “manly” and desirable until the veil of masculinity was pulled to expose the real. Like when you couldn’t get dude to tell you that the reason he was acting distant is that he was mad you laughed at him for picking the Knicks in 2K and subsequently losing as horrifically as expected. Now you’re “like a dude” because now you’re getting dressed to leave at 2am rather than play sleepover. Woe is me because I prefer booty rubs to cuddling, and I wasn’t joking about needing to be made a sandwich now that the deed was done. But those rough times when I needed to be vulnerable, dating a guy with a broken emotional meter became way less hilarious.
Communication about my life’s woes would have saved me many a grade in college. Sometimes I’ve wished I could be vulnerable like others who can fall apart outside of the comfort of their bedrooms and receive necessary sympathy. My dad. He would always say that something is an excuse rather than an explanation for a series of unfortunate events.
Between “you’re too emotional” and “no excuses!” I was not on the fast track to becoming a sugar plum fairy.
Oh to be a Black woman… you gotta be a man too.
Told to be ladies, yet also told to man up. We watched our mothers man up all our lives. When shit wasn’t acting right, when she was tired, when ya daddy lost his damn mind doing something stupid, AGAIN, Mom was holding it down. Sometimes broken and bewildered, she held it down. Then she passed it down to you. Why don’t we stop? At this point, we’re aware that all the holding it down in the world won’t get us what we want, how we want it. Coretta Scott King was the ride or die of the century and that still didn’t stop her relationship woes. We go through too much yall. At some point, we’ve gotta take care of us first. Can’t take care of anybody if we all messed up anyway.
My question to myself now is, how do I unlearn all this and allow myself to be vulnerable? Or… is nothing wrong with me and my bf just gonna have to deal with me?