It’s been a few days since I’ve written anything here, hasn’t it? I didn’t really have anything planned for today, but a recent argument with my other half solved that particular issue. In order to protect their privacy, I shall not be naming names, or using pronouns such as he/she, but instead, will simply say them/they/their. I’m sure that some of you will try to sort out which gender my other half is, and for those sleuths reading this, have at it. For those of you who know me in the real world, you already know the answer.
The topic of our argument is one that seems to be repeating itself far more frequently – emotion. Or as my other half would argue – my seeming lack of emotion. Now, that’s to say that I don’t have emotions, or that I’m a robot, neither or which are true. I am a writer, and – while I know it’s different for each person – for me, my writing is where I put my emotions. Through the words I write and the scenes I craft, I can make you feel the true depths of the emotions the characters experience. I can fill you with hope or joy, or make you suffer under the weight of doubt and agony.
I should also say, that my other half knows this about me and enjoys reading my writing, but their issue is that I don’t express emotion in real life. I don’t get upset enough about something to cry. I don’t show fear or uncertainty. I don’t have extended periods of silliness and childlike behavior. I’m steady. Or, as they would say, I’m an emotional flatline.
Now, I don’t really care if someone calls me an emotional flatline, a Vulcan, or even a robot. It doesn’t bother me, because I know who I am and I know what I feel. I don’t really give a crap if anyone else knows what I’m feeling or not. But my other half would argue, that that is the entirety of their issue.
Do I get frustrated? Yes. Do I cry because I’m frustrated? No. Do I yell or pitch a fit because I’m frustrated? No.
So, what happens when I’m frustrated? I look at the issue from all sides until I find a viable solution and then, I enact that solution. Okay, that doesn’t seem so bad.
But, that bothers my other half. Why? Because they can’t tell when or if I’m frustrated. And more to the point, they get annoyed and even, at times, downright offended that I won’t show my frustration. Well, here’s my side of that. If I am frustrated, it usually only lasts until the moment I’ve found a solution, and that might only be a few seconds. So, why on earth would I over exaggerate an emotional response that doesn’t even have a half-life of thirty seconds?
And there’s the crying thing. They always make it a point to tell me that they know other people who are steady and can still cry. Insert heavy sigh here. I’m not a crier. I’m just not. The only times I have cried, and it was a little bit more than being misty-eyed, was during movies.
A Dog’s Purpose. Hachi. Marley and Me. Hacksaw Ridge. I will admit to crying during those at some – or even multiple – points.
My other half’s argument to that? I don’t cry during Steel Magnolias. Nope, don’t really find that movie sad. Their other argument: I don’t cry in response to real-life situations. No, I generally don’t. I don’t cry out of frustration. I don’t cry because I’m not getting my own way. I don’t cry if I’m happy. I don’t cry at funerals because I’ve had time to adjust to the fact that the person is – or will eventually – die.
There are those who would argue that I’ve never lost anyone suddenly, and they would be wrong. I have lost one family member – a first cousin – to suicide. But no, I did not cry for her. That’s not to say that I didn’t love her, because I did, but that is to say that I knew how much pain she was in and that no matter what was tried, that pain never went away.
Did I get to attend her funeral, no. She lived in another state, and I wasn’t able to get there, but that’s okay. A funeral is for the living, not the dead, and I said goodbye to her in my own way.
For the religious ones reading this, you may argue that she’s in Hell right, but I don’t believe that. I believe that she’s finding her peace, and will perhaps even be reincarnated to live another life. I don’t believe that suicide is a sin. I don’t believe in eternal damnation. And no, I’m not indoctrinated into a belief system of absolutes and heaven or hell.
I will admit that I am more likely to cry at the passing of an animal than I am that of a human, but that is simply who I am. An animal has a purity to them, a soul that is not weighed down by ulterior motives or deception. What they desire in life is simple. They want to love and be loved. They want to be petted, to be held, to be cherished, and they want to give that in return. Humans are another story.
Fear, is another big one. My other half made it a point to argue that I don’t show fear. Here’s the thing about fear and me. When I feel afraid, I ask myself this: What is it that I am afraid of, and why do I fear it? Nine times out of ten, the answer is “because I don’t understand it”. My response to that? Let’s do a little research. Let me learn about this thing that makes me uncomfortable and see if I’m still afraid of it, after getting some knowledge under my belt. A little knowledge can go a long way.
Now, what about the argument of someone holding a gun in my face? In that instance, I can tell you that fear would very quickly turn to rage and sarcasm. I don’t handle being threatened well and will respond rather energetically to that threat. Usually in the ball park of punching someone in the face.
Uncertainty? Nervousness? I feel those same emotions just as anyone else does. The only difference, is that I see no purpose in saying so out loud, or displaying that emotion. There is no benefit to doing so, no logical reasoning for it, other than to show someone else that you feel that way, and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. Take a deep breath, face whatever it is that has you all twitchy, and do so with grace.
How about excitement? Surely my other half doesn’t have a problem with that. Oh, but they do. You see, for my other half, when they are excited they show that excitement physically, though what I have dubbed the “I’m a Little Teapot” dance. That’s perfectly fine. That’s how they show excitement. But I don’t, and that’s the problem they have.
I don’t bounce around, or smile like a maniac, or get overly emotive because I’m excited. Personally, I find such emotions exhausting. If I’m excited about something, I show interest in it. Simple as that. I might be a little more energetic than I usually am, or may be more likely to run out ahead of everyone else, but that’s about it.
Lately, within the past year or so, my other half has become increasingly put out that my emotions go into my writing, and that I don’t “share” my emotions with them. This is not something that has changed, I have been this way since before we met, but now it’s become a problem for them. And why, might you ask? Because in some manner, they have said that they feel that I don’t connect with them since I can’t show them my emotions. Not everyone displays emotions, and not everyone feels them to the same degree. This is something my other half seems unwilling to understand, and what drives me batty the most, is that when we do argue about this, they act as though displaying the emotions they have makes them better than those who don’t. And that’s just bullshit.
Yes, the fight I had with my other half is what inspired today’s post, but I’ve said all of that to say this: No two people react to emotion in the same way. There are those who are steady, but still emotionally expressive, while there are others who are steady and emotionally unexpressive. And there are, of course, the drama kings and queens, as well as those who simply don’t know how to not feel, and not show what they’re feeling. I don’t care which one you are, and you shouldn’t care which one someone else is, either. Different people react differently. Accept it and get over it.