The re-discovery of my empathy.

Earlier than I can even remember I was told this loud, caring, overly passionate child wouldn’t survive. Eventually I would have to grow up and leave her behind. She didn’t belong at dinner tables laughing uncontrollably, she didn’t belong when asking too many questions and more than anything she didn’t belong when she was sad. Get over it and move on was a turn of phrase I was told to live by. When it came to the overabundance of emotion I seemed to have one thing was known…my emotions were ALWAYS too much. I was told to use outlets to utilize the positive emotions and passion. This was easily translated to sports. Even there it was always this stress of push past, overcome and find a way to win none such advice offered opportunities to sit with the discomfort or pain. Overcome aka avoid the weakness. For me I started masking early on. Being me was only allowed certain places and when I got there everything was right. Outside of those arenas I didn’t fit. Outside of those places I was scolded for being the full me. I was allowed to feel sad. I had to be strong for no real reason other than Happy Hanna was who everyone wanted. So who am I if I allow myself all emotions? Who am I when I remove the layers?

We can start to see her, she is somewhere underneath a million motivational quotes. The mask I covered myself in. The mask I used to show up un-compromised as Happy Hanna for everyone else. Whether they couldn’t handle or didn’t want to handle the fullness of my expression of bad I just knew she couldn’t be there ever. She was a lot. Happy Hanna is an amazing part of who I am, no doubt, but she doesn’t come with only that. Someone who can show up passionate and motivating with the ability to push someone forward doesn’t also have the same force and emotion for the other. So not having an outlet for both such emotions creates a very unbalanced energy.

I suffered in the energy unbalance for a very long time. Most of which was caused by this narrative that negative emotions should not be allowed in for long. Optimism was my gift and I should only be that. Along with this knowing truth that anytime I exhibited full lengths of expression I generally ended up in time out, the principal’s office or having a quick conversation behind the closed door of an office. Since that was the general loving response to full me I didn’t let her out. Much if ever.

I am finding my way back to full me.

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