When I was ten years old, my family made a home video. I narrated a tiny part of it, and they kept telling me I wasn’t emphatic enough. Of course I was excited about our house, I tried to argue, just not overexcited. In the end I caved, as any ten-year-old would. I excitedly told my cousin’s camera that our house, “68A Harish Mukherjee Road, had the MOST number of sign posts on the WHOLE STREET!” No one ever gets that excited about sign posts.
One drunken night this spring, I was at a frat house when an argument broke out between myself and one of my hallmates. It left me furious, and as I gave in and broke down into angry sobs, a guy from my dorm took it upon himself to try and comfort me. At least, that’s what he thought he was doing. “Why are you crying?,” he scoffed as he approached me. “Crying won’t do anything.” Luckily, I had the strength left to tell him to get the fuck away from me. He backed away, fearing what the aggressive, unstable drunk girl would do next.
“Are you angry? Are you getting angry at me?” “No, of course not, Dad.” “Are you sure? You have an angry expression on your face.” By this point, I’m shaking. “Do I hear anger in your voice?” I’m fighting tears now. This is the shit that drives people insane, taking their rage out on padded walls. I imagine my fist making contact with skin, then flesh, then bone. Force equals mass times acceleration, and while I have smallish hands, my anger translates into some damn fast acceleration. I can almost see it happening, feel the knuckle of my right ring finger cracking, as it tends to do when I punch with that hand. Exhaling, I unclench my fist and paint a smile on my face. “No, that’s just my face, Dad. Of course I’m not angry.” I turn away.
And this is how I’ve learned to bottle up my emotions. (Ironic, because it’s only after a bottle or two that they come out.) I hide my tears in pillows, blankets, bathroom stalls. I put my anger… I don’t really know where. I guess we’ll find out one of these days.
“Mouth is a sawed off shotgun, at any second could pop off.” I hear you, Macklemore.
My whole life, people have been telling me how to feel, how not to feel. I’m too dramatic. Too expressive. You care too much, it scares me. Don’t emotionally invest so much, you’ll burn out quickly. Why don’t you care about this? Did you swear at me? Did you use the f-word? Your father and I have done so much for you, and you Still. Don’t. Care.
I’m done being told how to feel. If I want to cry, I’m going to fucking cry. If I’m angry, I’ll be angry. I’ll stew and snap and I might yell at you. I’ll use the word “fuck” as often as I want, thank you very much. If I don’t care about something, you can’t force me to. I have a limited amount of time and energy, and what I decide to do with that is entirely my own decision. If I’m passionate about something, I’ll get into conversations and arguments and start a dialogue about it. And I’ll be just as passionate as I want.
I know I’m very emotional. My cousins used to call me Waterworks because I cry at everything- when I’m sad, when I’m happy, when I laugh too hard, when I’m embarrassed, tired, you name it. I can go on endless rants about feminism, human trafficking, you name it. I regularly cry while reading Huffington Post articles. I’m quick to anger and just as quick to joy. Maybe I’m a lit fuse. Intensity can scare people; I know that. I understand that some people will look at me, a messy ball of raw emotions, and be freaked out, intimidated, baffled. I’m so happy to say I’ve reached the point where I truly give zero fucks about those people.
I’m proud to be an emotional person. I think it’s much harder than being jaded. Being emotional requires you to open yourself up, knowing full well that you will inevitably get hurt. The pain you feel is intensified, but so is the happiness. To me, emotion is like a drug. Feeling passionate about something- true, sweeping-you-off-the-ground passion- is the best high I’ve ever experienced. I’m damn proud of my emotions, and I’m done letting people tell me to cover them up.