Wednesday, September 11, 2013

If there's one thing I've learned...

Throughout my travels, it's that I do not travel well. Sure, I'll sign up for the major trek and I'll do it, so that's pretty impressive... however, getting me there and the first week or two... or three... or several months are misery. As my mother once said and I quote often to explain my mentality, "Most people get hungry and they're grumpy. You get hungry and you're a pit of despair."

This applies to hunger, travel, socializing, and... life. I don't deal well with things. Particularly new things. I'm kind of autistic in that way. Is that an adjective one may use non-offensively? To be fair, my anxiety is an offshoot of autism, so it's kind of true. As in, I am HIGHLY reactive. I get a sensory overload quite easily. Too much clothing in the clothing store! AH! Too many plans this week! AH! This did not go as planned! AHHHH!! Yeah, that's another thing, I don't deal well with last minute changes. If someone says we'll meet at a certain time, if they're late, or even if I am late due to unforeseen circumstances, I die. I straight up just die. Fortunately, I come back to life, but the death part is overwhelming and anxiety-provoking in itself.

This is not the direction I was planning on taking this bloggy thingermadoo, but I always seem to turn things, whether it be a travel log or a romantic venture, into over-intellectualized existential crises.  Anywho, sensory overload (or overlord, as I almost typed), what is this you speak of? You being me. Me being me. Well, it means I take in everything I see, feel, think, do, smell, and hear in a way that makes my head cry. It even goes as far as how I feel about things. I obsess, I overthink, I care too much. Fortunately, this is balanced out a bit by my lack of attention span. This, however, may sound like me saying I'm too good of a person that not even the tremendous capacity of the human mind can handle it, but that's certainly not what I mean. What that means is that I take things and people to heart. Let me simplify: I have the feels big time, yo. However, in a little twist of events, it's so overpowering, that in order to cope, my mind practically shuts those feels down. As in, I know before a big trip that I am crazy nervous and excited. I'm not a robot, as it appears sometimes. I am maddeningly emotional and sensitive. However, if I constantly spouted those feelings out and cried or screamed in joy all the time, someone would slice open my throat. In order to fix this, my body has decided to turn me into the person who's like, "Oh- the 4 month trip to the Middle East? Yeah. That'll be coolstuffandthingswhatever."

I am certain many individuals can relate to this poor way of coping. After all, it would be nice and healthy to turn on some sort of emotional faucet once in a while, right? Maybe the ability is inside us all and we just need to believe and let the emotions free!

Yeah, I get that line a lot. People seem to think I hold back my emotions because I fear vulnerability. You too? You hear that all the time also? Wow, we should be best buddies or something! Sure, this may be part  of the defense mechanism. Like I said earlier, it's risky to constantly let everyone know how you feel and think... BUT I don't think this is entirely the case. As a matter of fact, I know it isn't. I'm happy to tell people about much of my dark past (cue bats and witches and junk). I just won't necessarily go into the emotional aspect. Obviously if I cried in a dark corner, I wasn't Cheerful Charlie, but that's for you to infer, not for me to go into a whole rant about. "And then I felt like my sadness was just a big crumpled piece of looseleaf paper. I just wanted to chuck it into the trash can. Chuck it! I want to CHUCK IT! DO YOU HEAR ME!?"

Here's what I say: My rule is that I am allowed to be as terrified and sad and angry in my private time as I need to be. I won't be mad at myself for it or embarrassed, I'll just let it happen. At the end of the day, though, I have to go forward with the plan. Of course, in small print it says, "Unless it's really not worth it." Indeed, I'm also allowed to back out of it. The idea is just trying. Sometimes things end up being intolerable, of course. Even if I think I am ready for something, it doesn't mean my mind is. I have to respect that. This can get tricky, too. Sometimes you can't just walk out of a situation or say, "I'm getting off this ride now." Sometimes... maybe (????) it's good to put yourself in a new, scary situation that you can't escape. Maybe it'll be awful and horrible, but I do recommend it is something temporary. Even if it's 4 months. Those 4 months will end and I'll either fail out of school and go home crying like a true failure or maybe I'll excel and adjust and want to come back right away. Admittedly, these are two extremes, and neither are likely to happen... That too is in the fine print. I'll just keep the cheerful, positive voice. Yay! Everything will work out and all your dreams will come true and unicorns will pop out of your eye sockets!

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