Friday, October 30, 2020

On bacon and being "too much"

This isn't a picture of me, head under blanket in the backseat, trying to shut out the world. But it might as well be. Today is supposed to be my day off and I had great plans to isolate myself in the corner of a coffee shop with a mask and a laptop. Instead, I’m on my bed with a space heater and comfy pants after just crying to my husband in the kitchen over the fact that we needed bacon

HELLO HORMONES! Hello backlogged pandemic feelings. Hello carrying a heavy load for a bit too long. Hello random, unpredictable episodes of overwhelm. 

The exact formula that led to my tears over pork products is a series of events that will probably never again be repeated, but the theme behind them in consistent:

Some days are fine, other days are not. 

As I ride the waves of this pandemic and all that it has meant for my personal life, my home life and my relationships, I’m struck by the fact that there are good days and there are bad days. And just because I experience one version today does not negate what I experienced yesterday nor what I will experience sometime tomorrow. I might be “OK,” “not OK,” and all of the above within the same span of the same 24 hours. 

The very palpable reality of this pandemic is that little is dependable in our world right now. So much can change overnight and this is a bit of a recipe for crazy-making. 

I liked homeschooling my kids two weeks ago. This week, it felt like hell. Both experiences are fair and valid and by no means do they cancel each other out. I’M ALLOWED TO CHANGE MY MIND. And if next week I find homeschooling to be the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done, then so be it! No one is holding me to any rules about my feelings outside of my own personal subset of Kelsie’s Laws. I can experience one thing today that tomorrow might feel as foreign as a coin accidentally swallowed into the belly of a child. My feelings may be inconsistent but they don’t make ME inconsistent. 

I’m learning that sometimes I hesitate to speak up because I don’t want to be viewed as All. Freaking. Over. The. Place. I wish I were a more even-keeled person with steady levels of emotion. But the only thing consistent about my emotions is that I have a whole lot of them. I am sensitive and feel everything so deeply and often this leads to a fear of being too much. I have been known to spend a lot of energy filing down edges that could be perceived as sharp in an attempt to hone myself into a more palatable size medium, a middle-of-the-road, non-controversial individual. I want to be viewed as stable, trustworthy, dependable, never pegged as overly-emotional, and, heaven forbid, too much.  

Like a chameleon in hiding, I fight to keep any colorful vibrancy at bay, exchanging deep passion for an outward go-with-the-flow attitude. I quiet and silence and shut myself down to neutralize any spice. I try not to ruffle feathers, share strong opinions or make waves. 

And toward what end? 

I do it so people will like me, for acceptance. Because of the deep-rooted fear of being labeled as “too much.” It’s the bane of the people-pleaser’s existence, is it not? While a degree of sanding and smoothing of rough edges is healthy for all of us in the name of personal growth, Jesus is nudging me toward confidence in the way that He has wired me, EVEN IF IT MEANS SOME DAYS ARE FILLED WITH EMOTION IN THE KITCHEN OVER BACON. 

Recently I came across the following prayer by Laura Jean Truman:


Keep my anger from becoming meanness.

Keep my sorrow from collapsing into self-pity.

Keep my heart soft enough to keep breaking. Keep my anger turned toward justice, not cruelty.

Remind me that all of this, every bit of it, is for love.

Keep me fiercely kind.


The phrase that really got me is in bold above. “Keep my heart soft enough to keep breaking.” 

My fellow sensitive types will get it, all you who wrestle with muting your emotions. You are soft and easily-impacted for a reason. God made you this way. Don’t numb and dull those precious emotions. They keep you human and real and alive and relatable. They are nothing to be ashamed of. Your ability to engage with pain in your unique way creates space for others to feel heard and carried in their pain.  

As much as I would love to trade in for a more even-keeled version of myself, I am reminded today that that the same inner wiring that leaves me crying in overwhelm over how we will obtain breakfast meat on the harder days, is also the part that keeps me soft and empathetic to the pain of those in the world around me. The two are not mutually exclusive.

So much grace is needed in this crazy time, bacon tears and all.

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posted by kelsie