Recently, I haven’t quite been feeling like my chipper, medicated self. Instead I feel a bit draggy. I took a week off from work to refresh and rejuvenate, but instead I’ve been helping my brother clean out our apartment. Which has been amazing, don’t get me wrong, the house is FINALLY breathable. But… I’m feeling worn, and regretting I didn’t enjoy myself more this vacation.
I’ve still got 2 days left… etc.
My brother told me: “Neesa, I really like when you’re like this. Before, you’ve been too peppy and happy. People like that piss me off. Now you’re normal.”
I guess. It is a nice change, to try on a different personality at times. But when you wear it for too long, it wears you down.
Sometimes, I think this is a blessing in disguise. My ability to morph into a different person when around others. If you are able to modify yourself to get along with all different types of people, in a way that you truly understand how each person’s mind works, then you are truly a diplomatic, peaceful person. Genuine connection and understanding, instead of feigning tolerance while annoyed underneath the skin.
An analogy to help illustrate this: my mother owns an adorable corgi. He is an intelligent dog, very much so. I notice that, 1) he is able to sniff out the “friendly people.” I’ve walked him in Manhattan at night, and he’ll go up to a group of kids stooping on a staircase, looking all scary… and then they erupt into smiles and say he’s cute. I like to say he fights racism. 2) He changes the way he interacts with each specific person. Everyone loves him, and he seems to understand how to interact with different people differently.
Brilliant, isn’t it? I like to learn a bit from him. Being able to change myself so that I can understand others better. On their own terms.
It’s hard though. A friend of mine recently criticized me for not being a genuine friend, because I didn’t give her a gift for her birthday, and because I expected her to do some housework when she stayed at my house. I explained my reasons, but they weren’t really satisfactory to her. I eventually promised I’d write some poetry for her. It was an uncomfortable argument, but I didn’t cower. Surprising.
Indeed, I’ve been less afraid of confrontation these days. Before, I used to always go with the flow, agreeing with people even when I didn’t in my heart… because not only was it “easier,” but it was the only thing I knew. I never learned how to stand up for myself, because my father was cruel and we had to agree with him to avoid getting crapped on. Home felt like prison, I have said before. We had to laugh when he did, and always when he said, “I am always right,” we said “yes.”
I suppose these days, I have to have the bravery to be happy, even when people around me try to bring me down. If we are able to fuel our own happiness, instead of relying on others around us, we are then truly independent in our own mental wellness. As some Americans say: “Don’t tread on me.”