If I had to choose one idea or concept that I feel I somehow embody, it would be emotions and empathy. Nothing is as central to who I am or what I do, than feeling: fully, honestly, and without shame. (I am still working on that no-shame thing with myself because I have an insanely guilty conscience, but I apply it to others fluidly).
Emotions are what give life depth and meaning. They allow us as individuals to be impacted by other individuals, by nature, and by life itself. They allow us to impact others. They are the threads that bind us all together, create a common ground, and consist of a universal language.
I am a very, very sensitive person. It does not take much to excite me. Artichokes, bubblegum toothpaste, and getting to see friends, are all enough for me to completely lose myself in a frenzy of bouncing and squeaking. If someone I love is sad or hurting, my heart feels like it is breaking. If something does not turn out as I had planned, I fall into a dark pit of despair that can be really hard to get myself out of. I feel things deeply, hard, and have a bad habit of identifying with emotions.
When I am excited, other people around me either get excited themselves, are happy, or are annoyed or frustrated. Regardless of what they are in that moment, they feel that way because of me. I have touched them in some way, moved them from one place to another, grounded them here, and altered their very state of being, if only for a few moments. And they can do the same to me. I cannot think of anything more profound or meaningful than that.
I am also something called an “empath”. I can pick up emotions from others, and often feel them as if they are my own. While I tend towards being oblivious overall, emotions do not get by me. If someone is lying about how they feel, not only can I tell, but I know how they are actually feeling. Sometimes, I know how they are feeling before they do.
As you can imagine, this is not easy for anyone involved. The closer I am to someone, the stronger my empathy is, the less privacy they have. Z and myself have a constant, fluid knowledge of each other to the point where he could not lie to me if he wanted to, or hide anything from me – or himself. It took us a lot of hard work to learn to balance and not hurt each other for it.
But I would not trade it for anything. Getting to watch and know and feel someone else’s emotions is like getting a glimpse of the world they live in, and understanding them on a level beneath the surface of what everyone else sees. Actually seeing them for who they are in those moments of feeling: raw, and open, with nothing to hide.