I am cold.
At least that's something I've been told most of my adult life. I know that I struggle with being intimate emotionally. Knowing that about myself, however, has never been catalyst for change. I feel emotion just like anyone feels emotion. My heart strings are vast and available for others to manipulate, but where I really struggle is the evidence of being effected. There are few that have seen tears flow from my eyes and those few saw that because I wanted them too. I do not lose control. I will not lose control.
A couple days ago I went to a dinner at a friends house. During dinner my brother brought up conversation topics on his phone (no we weren't that bored he is just proactive). One topic called for us to describe in brief words or phrases the person to our right. Each of us took turns with funny descriptions, and most were very lighthearted, but when it came time for my brother to describe me the sentiment was: brutally honest, less than warm.
Questions instantly raced through my brain:
Do people see me for what I am?
As someone who as practiced his whole life on showing only that which would have you perceive me as strong?
Do they see that I'm a fraud?
Do they see that I'm afraid of my own weakness?
Do they see insecurity?
That word sends chills down my spine and sends my stomach into backflips. Insecure in my body, insecure in my body language, in the words I say, in the decisions I make, in the clothes I wear. It floods the space around me and infiltrates my dreams (both day and night).
The fight to keep myself aloof began in middle and high school. Growing up in a small Mississippi town as a gay male, meant having to endure the always present disapproval of my peers. Disapproval that came in the form of name calling, and public shame. I resolved myself very early in life to never allow them the satisfaction of my reaction. "Them" eventually went from encompassing just the playground bully to literally anyone, anywhere, anytime. And then and there I lowered my emotional temperature for life. Cold.
I often wish I could change it. Turn back the clock and be this amazingly attentive, available human. Or maybe I wish that I wanted to change.
Working as a nurse in Trauma as given me ample opportunity to express. People come to see me at work in their darkest, most desperate hours. I have zipped more body bags than I was prepared for and every time I say a prayer and hope for something more. Maybe one day I'll have that gut wrenching reaction. Maybe one day I'll feel devastated.
I heard someone say today that they love breakdowns because if you allow them to, they can precipitate breakthroughs. One day I'll recognize devastation. On that day I hope that I can put insecurity aside long enough to turn up my emotional temperature.
On that day I hope tears fall and the world can finally recognize me as warm.