Long ago I overheard a conversation that has stuck with me for years. Immediately after meeting me, a question was snarkily asked, “Is he always on like that?”
That hurt for about a minute, but the friend who’d introduced us divorced him not long after that.
I’m kind of an acquired taste. I’m told I’m intense and I know that it’s true. I experience a connection between intensity and authenticity. I’m real. That’s a courageous thing to be. My hope is that being who I truly am (warts and all) encourages others to be.
But it’s hard to be yourself if you don’t know who that is. I say it’s a simple choice: get better or bitter.
I spent a lot of my life believing that I wasn’t enough and then (after a lot of therapy) I kept getting the message that I was too much. I take solace in the words of Glennon Melton
“You will be too much for some people. Those aren’t your people.”
My people are really, really, real. We let go of our personas and facades – no longer hiding the scars nor the zest for living.
My new favorite FB meme explores the similarity between passion and mental illness. It ends with, “Let me be clear: I am bat shit passionate.” That’s my tribe in a nutshell.
I spent time with three separate and amazing women this week having similar conversations. We talked about the possibility that they were too intense, too sensitive, too pushy, too needy, or too vocal. I asked each of them what an appropriate level of those are?
Right. There’s no standard. We gauge by the reactions from those we present our true selves to. What we miss is that their reactions very often reveal more about their character than they reflect any measure of ourselves.
I love people who are really f@cking loud because they have important things to say and demand to be heard. My people are powerful advocates, helpers, and healers.
I love people who answer the question, “How are you?” with complete candor. If things suck, they say so.
I love people who laugh so hard they snort. I love people who smile with missing teeth in view. I love people who tell their story with tattoos.
I love people who say things like, “When I was in jail/detox/rehab, I learned…”
How about you? Are you too much or are you just more than fake people can handle?
Do you stand out or do you play small to make sure insecure people aren’t threatened by your success?
Here’s a radical concept: Identity – knowing, becoming, and liking the person you truly wish to be.
And to hell with anyone who encourages you to do otherwise.