Mental Ruckus: On Intensity

"I am overwhelmed."

I say and think those words so often, but I don't spend a lot of time thinking about them. I don't consider the "why" of the words; the cause of my overflowing feelings. Instead I use them as a scapegoat. I can't keep working hard, because I am overwhelmed. I can't be nice to you, Toby, because I am overwhelmed. I don't want to even be awake right now, I just want to crawl back under my covers and spend the day sleeping and make no forward progress on any of my dreams, because I am overwhelmed.

I am an admittedly intense person, and those who know me best, especially my parents, would not hesitate to agree. I live in a world of extremes: I am extremely happy, sad, angry, excited, tired, irritated, or apathetic at any given moment. And any emotion that I am feel leads to extreme anxiety, something that has blossomed and come into its own as I've gotten older. This is not a good thing. It could be, if I were to harness its power and use it to my advantage, but I haven't figured out how to consistently do that yet, though I do have my days, and when they happen, I am on top of the world.

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about why I blog. It started out as a way to share photos and to share my life with those who weren't near me and couldn't share in my daily life; I've always enjoyed writing, and having an outlet to express myself is sometimes the only thing that I believe can keep me truly sane. And as it turns out, I love blogging. It's opened up new windows and ways of thinking, it has helped me grow, and I've made some pretty good bloggy friends in the meantime.

But I often feel like there is something missing, and I think I've narrowed down what that might be: realness. I feel the most "real" after I write my most intense posts (which usually come in the form of declarations), but the day after posting them I usually sink back into a little hole of despair, inwardly bemoaning how much of myself I exposed to the outside world. There is a shame to my intensity, but at the same time, letting it loose on the world is the only way I truly feel genuine and whole. I spend a lot of time trying to hide it because it makes me feel vulnerable, but I thrive the most on sharing - experiences, words, feelings, everything - so keeping it hidden only hurts me.

And most of all, I know that my intensity does and will make some people feel uncomfortable. I thrive on sharing, but others don't. I've been told that it's okay to not share everything, to keep some things to myself, and I don't disagree with that; no one will die if I don't say everything that is on my mind. However, won't be as happy. I am currently not as happy as I could be because I don't share enough. It's a weird thing to admit, and it's taken me awhile to get the words to come together in a way that makes sense. I want to be known; to be understood. I can't be a writer, a photographer, or an artist in any sense unless I let myself be true to me, and my truest self in an intense self that talks and feels and craves deeper connections and meaning relationships and life. I can't avoid that for the sake of other people. I wouldn't want someone to avoid it for my sake.

A downfall of this intense desire to share (or at least it's considered to be a downfall by many people) is that a good chunk of the stuff I have to say involves negative topics: my fears, my anxieties, my worries, my insecurities. I know a lot of people who are able to find the silver lining in every negative feeling that occurs, so that they can write about them and still end their article or post with a positive spin. But sometimes there isn't a positive spin, because whoever is feeling that negative emotion hasn't come out on the other side of it yet. That doesn't mean positivity doesn't exist; it just means that it has yet to bloom. And it doesn't necessarily mean that the person feeling the negativity is complaining, ois asking for solutions, or is a Debbie Downer. What's so bad about a little bit of melancholy? It takes all kinds of emotions to make a person whole; to make the world whole. Without sadness, happiness wouldn't seem so brilliant and breathtaking. I want to feel all of these things. I don't want to deny them their rightful place in the ebb and flow of life.

It feels good to type these things, and to nudge them out into the world to see how they are interpreted. I get lots of feedback on this blog from a good amount of people, and I always love hearing how someone else took the words I wrote and understood them in a way that is both totally relatable to me and totally unique to them. That's the power of language, and it's why I've always loved reading and writing so much. I really want to do more of both of those activities, but I've got to do them on my own terms, everyone else be damned (in the nicest way possible, of course).

Happy Sunday, friends. Or, as nearly one-third of my Facebook friends exclaimed today: "Hoppy Easter, Everybunny!" =]