Growing Because I Must

“Well I’ve been afraid of changing
‘cuz I built my life around you.
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too”

We all know those famous lines from “Landslide”, Stevie Nicks’ all-time greatest song (IMO). It speaks to a lot of us who have to make serious changes to our lives in order to grow, develop and mature into well-rounded human beings. Sometimes it can be fighting alcoholism, drug-addiction, eating disorders, depression or even personality disorders. Other times it could be bad personal habits we have that prevent us from being mature enough, to be developed well-enough and to be an actual “grown up”.

This past week, I decided to finally confront the fact that I am not exactly an emotionally mature person. I’ve always been aware that I do not take care of myself in an emotional sense. I tend to keep my emotions locked up, my vulnerability safely secured behind a thick, high wall. I’ve been that way since I was a teenager, and now, after spending 20 years like this, I’m confronting the fact that this is not healthy for me.

How did I come to this point? Well, I’ve always been aware that I can be robotic and don’t allow myself to be emotionally vulnerable at all. I don’t display in-depth emotions. Any emotions I do display are surface-level, therefore immature. The results are having difficulty controlling the in-depth emotions, such as anger, anguish or anxiety. As my therapist pointed out, it is as if I am stuffing my emotions into a tight suitcase. But because they are packed so tightly inside, the suitcase bursts open. I’ve experienced that a lot in the past few years, where my emotions burst open. And it wasn’t pleasant! IMG_4435

I’ve been trying since November to feel more in-depth emotions, but with little success. It is not easy because it is like flexing new muscles I do not know how to use. And I have this long-held belief that being vulnerable to whatever degree is a recipe for pain and hurt.

But what really woke me up was this guy I met on a date last weekend. It was a really good date, where we laughed, shared parts of our lives, shared our values, thoughts and opinions on just about everything. It was the best date I had ever been on in a very long time, and I was really looking forward to seeing that guy again.

Unfortunately I haven’t heard from him since. And I think I know why.

He told me I was difficult to read, that he couldn’t figure me out.

Now, that could mean a number of things. But I interpreted it as a sign that I was not emotionally open enough, that I was too robotic, the walls were up too high.

That was when I decided to finally make the effort to emotionally mature, and join the rest of the world.

It’s been hard since, as I said, I am flexing new muscles. I also have to undo the belief that being vulnerable means being weak. But I am determined to be develop emotionally, because I want to be more in control of my emotions, instead of having them burst out of me in self-destructive ways. It won’t be easy to develop like this, but I must do it.

Basically, I’m emotionally like a teenager. I stopped emotionally developing when I was 16, and from there became an emotional robot/mess. That means picking up where I left off. Which is probably why I am going through a semi-goth phase. Like I mentioned once before, I had an interest in the goth subculture in high school, but never went through on it for a variety of reasons. It may seem immature for a 35 year-old to go through such a phase, but I am being honest with myself in terms of music and fashion. That doesn’t mean I’ll start dressing and behaving like a teenager. I’ll just incorporating where I left off to my current self. I’ll be combining the two.

I have a lot of self-awareness, so that will help me through this developmental stage. I’m mentally mature, but not emotionally. So, put it that way.

Hopefully, whatever the outcome is, I’ll be a better and healthier person.

There’s a saying from the Akan tribe in Ghana: Sankofa. It basically means going back to move forward. That is what I am doing now.

 

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