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

2 comments:

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?

~m

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.