I’m an emotionally distant person.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that I feel my emotions any less than people who wear their heart on their sleeve, but more that I keep mine close.  Very, very close.

For a very long time in my life, it was only about me.  And while I don’t think I would have been called a narcissist,  I do think I was very self-absorbed.  There were a lot of people I cared about, yet managed to just break myself away from without a second glance.  It was not that I didn’t care, but more that I didn’t know how to express my emotions and therefore just turned them off.  I walked away from a lot of friendships because I didn’t know what to do.  It was safer for me that way.  And I didn’t have the capacity to feel for anyone else.

(And I want to take the time, while we’re on the subject, to apologize to all those in my life during that period. I am so very sorry.)

Now that I’m in a stable marriage and have children, I have the strength to be able to deal with my emotions, yet I still find it hard to express them.  It’s a very hard thing to turn off, this desire to be distant and therefore safe.  I’m nowhere near what I think anyone could call self-absorbed now.  My circle has extended beyond myself and now includes my little family.  Now my desire is to keep them safe and insulated, to keep them from feeling anything bad.

I’ve been given this daughter who is the most emotional person I have ever known.  I can’t help but think it’s some sort of cosmic justice, or divine intervention.  She wears her heart on her sleeve, and it is always being jostled and bruised.  It makes me uncomfortable, at times, to have her be so emotional.  I want to tell her to buck up, to get over it.  But I also want to tell her it’s okay to show your emotions.  It lets everyone know where you stand.  It lets them know when you are hurt, when you love them, and when you need something.  It never leaves them wondering where they stand with you.  But it does, however, take a lot out of her.  And me. 

And sometimes I don’t know what to do with this person that I want to protect so much.  I worry I don’t have the ability to show her how much I love her.  I worry that she’ll grow up wondering why her mother was so distant, even when she was always there.


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