On Feeling

Once, during my junior year of high school, a senior boy apologized after accidentally hitting me with the door to the classroom we were both walking into. I spent the next 50 minute period imagining the two of us in a long-term relationship, engagement, and marriage. Never mind that “oh, sorry,” was the most he'd ever said to me in three years of us attending high school together, I built up that 5-second interaction as much as it’s possible to do so.

 

I do this. I feel too deeply, I love too hard and for too long. And not just when it comes to boys or relationships; when I become passionate about something, it’s hard for me to see any other way about it. When it comes to politics, as most of my friends can attest, I often struggle to temper my feelings about certain subjects and people. I believe anything that’s political is also intensely personal, and that one of the worst things that I—as a person with considerable privilege—could do would be to choose not to be informed and involved. However, I am aware that this passion often makes me seem dramatic to those who don’t share my interests or intensity. As a result, I constantly worry about alienating people who might be scared off by my tendency to be passionate and emotional.

In attempts to seem less intense, I’ve often tried to mask my emotions: to put forth an aura of non-committal “coolness,”—an image that my 2-hour Spotify playlist of sad Taylor Swift songs might betray—but one that, for the most part, (I think) I manage to pull off. I know I’m not the only one; my generation seems to have an obsession with appearing aloof and unconcerned. We wait hours to reply to texts, refuse to open Snapchats immediately, and constantly hide our emotions for fear of coming across as clingy or annoying. At times, it almost feels like a competition: whoever can prove that they care the least wins.

 

But lately, I’ve found it much more appealing to just be honest about what I’m feeling, both with myself and with others. Rather than just telling myself I’m being crazy, I’ve tried to really process my emotions and work out what exactly it is that I’m feeling, and why. Through this, I’ve come to believe that it’s perfectly okay to show passion—as much as it is to express love in quieter, more subtle ways. Caring deeply is simply part of who I am. Expressing feelings is a personal choice, but I’m no longer berating myself for feeling in the first place.  

Ultimately, I’ve come to the conclusion that feeling so much is sort of beautiful, but it’s also exhausting. Sometimes, I’d love to be able to just not care. I’m still trying to find a balance, to reconcile my strong emotions with my tendency to overthink, and to understand that while it may not be a bad thing to be passionate about the things and people around me, sometimes it’s better for everyone that I direct some of that energy towards self-love and care.  

 

The emotional part of me has been amplified since I came to college, where, for the first time, I’m not locked into a constant race to improve my GPA or bolster my resume, but actually have time to spend time with my friends and learn about myself. I’ve experienced some of my greatest highs and lows since the beginning of the semester, but I don’t regret anything I’ve felt. So, despite our mistakes and miscommunications, I love my friends. When I’m half asleep and desperately trying to remember even one piece of information from the reading, I love my classes. And even when I’m walking home from Ascension at 2 AM in 30-degree weather on a muddy Middle Path, I love Kenyon. People might say I’m over-emotional or even naive, but I’m not apologizing for passion anymore. I feel too deeply. I love too hard and for too long. And that’s okay.

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