An Affected Youth & Emotional Evolution

As many of you have come to know me, I am sure that you are realizing that I am a creature of emotion. I feel them, I sense them in others and I like discussions that bring them into play, in one form or another. This is not to say that I am ruled by my emotions. I do not use them as the sole reason for making any decision. As a youth, I stopped allowing myself to feel and dealt with everything in a rational, yet cold, manner. In my mid-to-late twenties, I allowed myself to feel too much and not rationalize at all, hopelessly romanticizing my existence. How did I transition through all of these phases? What caused each phase shift?

At the age of 13, my parents divorced, and I was uprooted and relocated to Delaware with my younger brothers and my mother. I had no desire to move from where I was already settled or be away from my father. The divorce was bitter and my mother used the fact that my dad left her as a tool to breed anger in her sons. I have resented her for this my entire life, though now I have an understanding of the her character and see why she thought it necessary, which I am not going to address.

This event catapulted me toward not feeling emotions and to become more of an adult and less a child at an age that I feel is too young to make that abrupt transition. I would not allow myself to become attached to anyone or anything on the chance that tomorrow they went away. I was also dealing with the fact that I was more attracted to guys than I was to girls. I existed in an emotional shell and most of my friends from that era would probably agree that they knew only two key things about me: I was intelligent & I was fast witted.

I did not cry between the ages of 13 and 22. I would not allow it to happen and feared the weakness that it would show. I felt these emotions inside of me that were conflicting with everything that seemed to be correct. I did not trust anyone. I did not take any chances. In short I did not live.

In June 1999, my mother told me she was going to sell the house that I was living in and that I would either need to move with her to Salisbury or that I would need to find some other living arrangement. I cracked. Later that night in the house that was my safe place, I cried for the first time for hours. It was the cracking of my shell of control, something that I had not experienced in my young life. Up to that point, I felt that I had ultimate control over everything that happened in my life.

This breaking did have a bit of an upside, I started feeling again. Not to say that I instantly changed my stoic ways, but rather began to progress into feeling emotions. A good thing, yes, but not a great thing. As an emotional sponge, I absorbed everything and took it to heart without ever filtering it through my brain. Movies made me cry, I fell in love instantly, by receiving the attention of another. I became the co-dependent in a relationship that almost destroyed me.

This relationship while short from a lifetime perspective was a significant turning point in my life and my growth. I fell in love with someone that may have loved me, but took advantage of the person that I was and the trust that I now automatically tossed to him. I don't know how many times I was betrayed in this relationship, but it was significant enough that after 18 months and one last betrayal it was time to call it quits. I left without discussion and had an emotional breakdown about a mile from home.

I returned to discuss the betrayal and decided that as a significant co-dependent that I still wanted to work through things. He, thankfully, said that he didn't love me and that he did not want to keep up the charade. The next day, while he was at work, I tried to kill the pain and myself. I took a enough Zoloft to kill a small pony and went to sleep. With great luck, I woke up with the worst headache of my life and stopped taking anti-depressants.

I moved out and moved on. I still had and have issues dealing with that failure of a relationship, but it woke up something within me that I can only describe as a mental filter. I allowed myself to feel emotions and started to learn how to deal with them. It took me a couple of years to be able to trust someone again.

I met Mitchell earlier this year and through his challenges on emotions and many other topics reminded me how to be me. After that reminder, I opened myself to trusting people again, some times maybe too much. Though I am no longer going to brood over someone's decisions and allow them to affect me for an extended period.

My friends help me to grow and learn. I am thankful everyday for the happiness and joy that they bring me, even when frustrating the hell out of each other. Keeping myself on track and understanding who I am will be a continual process. But, I know with my friends help, life will be grand.

I will trust, I will be betrayed, I will love, I will hurt and I will live. I know that I will continue to be plagued by the uncertainties of other people, but that's okay, because I know who I am, I know where I have been and I know, for the moment, where I am headed.



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