“Lighten up. Calm down. Slow down. Not only do such admonitions invalidate their passion, they invalidate the person’s essence.” ~Psychology Today’s, “Dealing with an Intense Person.”
My intense energy. I know I have it, it’s my core. Most people can’t handle it and I began to realize that growing up. Obviously, if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. They did.
So I was usually alone (if not with a group of people, like a clique). Though there was always at least someone that could handle and actually liked my energy. But I know most people did not – not in social settings. In work environments and executions, I flourish. I’m loved as a leader. Not so much a person. To combat that, I became quieter, and tried to become softer to appeal. It took me years to find my voice again. And even now, my tone, energy, and practically what seems like everything about me is always mistaken. My playful attitude is constantly denounced as aggression. My sensitivity was reduced to frivolous emotional reactions. And my sincerity is often interpreted as cruel.
A conversation I had earlier this week with a fellow about my seemingly “off-putting” strong personality along with an episode of The Grapevine TV about men triggered me back in time to pivotal moments that shaped who I am today. It also reawakened my conscious to interactions I have now that are still parallel to those back then.
I used to listen intensely to what was said to me because most people are not as blatant with their language as myself. So I listened for coded truth in their words. In recent years, I stopped. I also stopped caring. But I also started working more, way more. I invested less of my time into people and more into my crafts. I noticed the social life never brought me as much joy as doing what I liked than trying to find people that I liked which also liked me.
In the article I quoted earlier, it mentions, “like everyone, intense people want to be accepted for who they are. Don’t think that just because they appear strong-willed, they are unaffected by or unaware of your clumsy attempt to escape from them.”
I feel it when people make up an excuse to leave. I always have, since I was a kid. The thing is I was always left. So I know. I know when someone doesn’t want to be around. But to make it easier for not only them but also myself – do not come around.
As a strong and self-empowered individual, more often than not people forget I am a person. A male friend of mine once seen me cry and couldn’t believe it. Because they don’t see me enough as human.
For years and til this day one of my long-time girlfriends calls me “perfect patty.” But in reality, that was always me trying to fit-in. I laugh so hard about it now because that has always been the funny and ironic case of being misunderstood.
**2020 Reflective Update (7/22): As I look back at this post and see how strong my hindsight was at that younger age – I was more than valid and correct in my feelings. Now more than ever, the world can see how Black women are not seen or regarded as precious human beings. My passion and energy was never a con, or garnered intimidation. Most people do not have the depth and capacity to be themselves, which is not, nor ever was, my problem. It is their burden to carry. But now I understand how easy and quick it is to throw that onto women who choose to embrace their full humanity. Throw it back, every time.