Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Feelings on My Sleeve

People tell me not to wear my feelings on my sleeve.

My mother used to say the world would eat me alive because I wear my heart on my sleeve. The first time she said that, I tried to picture how it might look—a beating heart growing out of my right wrist, spewing blood all over. A dangerous lion breaking out of a crowd of people jumping up and tearing me apart—my heart and my feelings in his teeth. The world cheering.

When I tried to do something about my feelings on my sleeve, I didn’t know how. I didn’t know how my feelings got there. So I sure as heck couldn’t figure out how to pack them up and put them back where they were supposed to be. I didn’t know where they were supposed to be. Having them on my sleeve is natural to me. Apparently, it was wrong. On the rule of where feelings should be kept. I was a loser. I had been keeping my feelings in the wrong place all of my life.

This bothered me. I was good at feelings. I didn’t get raving mad. I didn’t cry in public (much). I didn’t do crazy, feeling things beyond give a few more hugs than other people do. They were my feelings. Who were other people to tell me how I should arrange my feelings . . . ?

“ . . . and while you’re at it, if you could make yourself a couple of inches shorter, that would be great too!”

Luke says some folks worry about hurting feelings that they see so close to the surface.

I say I’ve got to get better at letting them know that just because I have feelings, it doesn’t mean that I get hurt all of the time.

People still tell me not to wear my feelings on my sleeve. I tell them they’re in no personal danger—I haven’t exploded yet—and that seems to help.

Truth is . . . I like my feelings where I can see them. How else could I get to know myself inside out?

—me strauss Letting me be


michael said...

I think the blank page has been one of your best friends.
Your words speak multitudes.
Interesting observation.
I've never been good at hiding stuff myself. If I don't cozy up to someone, they know it immediately. My mom was like that. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, huh?


ME Strauss said...

I've always had too many words inside my head and too many words coming out of my mouth. I write better than I speak. I talk too much. I miss too many opportunities to be quiet.