Memory Fridays: Diary of a Sensitive Kid.

When I was in Pre-School, my teachers called a meeting with my Mom to discuss my behavior. I was a good kid overall, but I seemed to have a problem with being called to circle group activities. When the teacher called for the children to gather around, I would sit there and blatantly roll my eyes. At four years old!

This story is only housed in my memories because my Mom has told me, and it's the memory of her recounting that I hold instead of its original. When I hear it retold, I can't deny feeling a bit in awe of that little kid. Fighting authority with eye rolling! Heck yeah!

Somewhere between my Pre-School days and today, I grew a sensitive skin, so sensitive, in fact, that I can still remember tough moments many years after they happened. Remembering the moments involves not only the story, but the emotions and the hurt as well.

I gained some weight toward the end of High School and one afternoon, I was out shooting some hoops with my Dad and Steve. My Dad passed me the ball. "Here, Chubs," he said. And that was all it took. Here I am, 15 years later, tearing up just typing this. I wish I could go back to that moment and shove the basketball back at him, laugh it off and use it as motivation to start running, get healthier.

But, as many of these moments go, it stung so deeply that I have been letting it psych me out about shopping for a wedding dress in a few weeks.

This is not to demonize my Dad; surely many parents or friends or family members have insulted someone without meaning to. And my sensitive skin continues to be an issue. When my Mom tells me that my aunt may think my wedding is strange for not being the incarnation of a 1970 wedding, it hurts my feelings. When I start to feel like I'm doing too much housework around the apartment, I let it sit inside me until I feel as though I'm destined to become a housewife, a woman chained to washing dishes and sweeping up cat hair. Sometimes it's hard for me to tell someone they hurt my feelings.

I don't think I'm alone here.

No one wants to be the jerk in the corner rolling their eyes. But no one likes being the one with bruised feelings either. And this is the tricky thing about memories: repeated memories turn into patterns. So if you've had your feelings hurt a bunch of times, those memories meet up for a party the next time it happens. Those memories greet each other like long-lost friends, high-fiving and laughing and gathering together to prove that you are all of the insults you've ever been called.

Maybe the thing to do is to tell those memories that they are not invited to the wedding. They're not even invited to the wedding planning! The memories of hurt feelings should make other plans for the next 9 months, preferably far away from here.

And should they choose to show up anyway? I've gotta reach back, way back before they were even born. Back when I was a four-year old kid who thought she knew more than her teacher.

I gotta do some eye rollin'.


Avi said...

Wow, great post. Thanks!

Erica said...

What a thought-provoking post.

I also have trouble expressing how I feel when someone has upset me. I learned (at a very young age) that it was better to keep it all inside, so as not to upset anyone else. Except that it eats away at you until you EXPLODE, and that doesn't help anyone.

Funnily enough, this is now coming back to bite me, because I have this problem when I have to discipline students in class (yes, at university level!) Instead of nipping it in the bud right away, I let it continue until it makes me so mad, and then I yell and scream and turn bright red. I'm working on changing, but it's not that easy to change things you learned as a child.

One of the reasons I don't like expressing my feelings is because of low self-esteem (which I know is not your problem!). I have a hierarchy complex, where I think that most people are "more important" than I am, and thus have a right to talk/act any way they want. Standing up for yourself is hard!!

All this to say: you are a strong, beautiful person, and you will look beautiful on your wedding day. Don't let "the voices" get to you!

KYGrace said...

Ah, Jen, you're a girl after my own heart! Just go on and eye roll like crazy! What a beautiful young woman you are and what a delightfully insightful individual you are at the same time (as if they can't reside in the same body! haha) Many people can't even rub two thoughts against each other...I feel that you a very well adjusted person, who happens to be sensitive and all this rolled together just makes you more charming to all those that know you anyway - so go ahead and let the eye rolling begin!
*from your future "friend-in-law"