Saturday, April 23, 2011

...you are teaching them well.

I believe that when people look at me, they see someone who is emotionally intelligent. Someone who can share her feelings openly and who can easily sympathize with others. This couldn't be farther from the truth. The fact is, I never share my true feelings. Nobody who knows me realizes that I feel lost and scared and inferior pretty much all the time. I find it embarrassing to admit that I don't know something or that I'm afraid of something or that I'm disappointed about something. I find it embarrassing to admit that I'm really happy or that I'm excited about something. I hate being the butt of a joke because I can't laugh at myself. I find it embarrassing to admit that I'm embarrassed about something!

Up until recently I believed what I'm sure everyone else believes. It's only recently that I've discovered that I'm emotionally blocked off from everyone around me. Part of this discovery came when my dad died. I could't cry in front of my siblings. Our dad just died and I couldn't cry with them. I could put my arm around them and nod and coo while they cried, but I couldn't do it myself. And then, to top it off, I discovered that I couldn't cry about it when I was alone either. I'd start to think of him and the tears would come and then I'd realize that I just felt stupid. Stupid and fake. So I'd push the feelings away and move on to something else. I became stuck.

I give off this image that everything is great. People must hate that. But the thing is, I try to open up and share and I just feel embarrassed! It's weird.

But even though I'm apparently some kind of emotional underachiever, I'm teaching my daughters that's it's perfectly okay, no, imperative, to share their feelings. It's necessary to put words to the feelings they have so that they can see that they are not alone and so they may learn to deal with them or at least live with them. Today, I overheard the following conversation as they were making egg carton boats:

Berio: Awwwwww!!!!

Bones: What's the matter? Are you sad?

Berio: No. I'm just disappointed.

Bones: How come?

Berio: I can't get my straw to stay in the right place!

Bones: Can I help you?

Berio: Okay. :)


Alright, it seems pretty minor but I was struck by the fact that 1) Bones, at six, was able to hone in on the fact that there was something wrong with her sister, 2) They were both easily able to name the feelings they were talking about and 3) I taught them to do that!

Maybe I'll be alright, after all.

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