Life is Funny: the Emotion Edition

The text said, and I quote, “I like talking with you, but you can be very overwhelming.”Image

This from an attractive, single man whom I have had regular conversations with for the last couple of weeks.    And, although I appreciate his candor – a little constructive criticism never hurt anyone – if I’m honest, I’m embarrassed he noticed.  And, when I say ‘he noticed’, I mean he has two functioning eyes and a smartphone that notifies him upon receipt of one of the thousands of text I may or may not have sent him in the last three weeks.  And when I say ‘may or may not’, I mean that I have been a yappy dog nipping at the heels of someone holding its dinner bowl, so definitely ‘may’ is the appropriate word here.  I wish it weren’t true.  But, it so is.  I think he may have used the word ‘intense’.  More than once.  In a single text.  But, whatever.

I think I can be hard to handle sometimes.

Don’t ask my parents.  They will certainly NOT have an opinion of raising an intense child; of temper tantrums or sulking marathons.  They will remember other things from my childhood.

My brothers will have absolutely nothing to say about this matter, either.  Don’t bother checking in on any outrageous mustard fights that happened before school one day because I overreacted.  My brothers are not credible witnesses to such an event.

And do not, under any circumstances, ask my friend, Andrew, how many times I have walked out of a restaurant or hung up on him due to a misunderstanding or unmet expectation.  He has a terrible memory and will, most likely, give a false account.

I am hard to handle sometimes.

In the name of transparency, I say this.  It is not, at all, because I am proud of it.

God stuffed a whole lot of emotion inside this skin.  I feel things to the nth degree.  Emotions walk around inside me all muscled-up on steroids, bumping into each other and not apologizing for it.  The same strength of worry I feel for a friend whose baby is battle leukemia is manifested in a similar strength of pride when one of my students receives an honor for his chess-playing abilities.  The level of sadness in a negative response to a class I’ve helped facilitate is equal to the level of intense excitement in finding a new friend (cue understanding nods for Poor-texting-guy).

I’m, for all tense and purposes, a ticking time bomb of emotion.

This, as you can imagine, is not the best scenario for finding a mate, or being a librarian for an elementary school, or in just walking the planet hoping other people will like you.

I know what you’re thinking:  Zoloft, right?  And, don’t get me wrong.  I have considered it.  There has *got* to be a medical explanation for all that is Bethany Brant and her overwhelming-ness.  You’re not going to believe this, but Poor-texting-guy isn’t the first person to mention my intensity.  Shocker.  And, both times it has been mentioned – I’m lying. I’ve lost count how many times it’s been mentioned. – I have been in the same spot in my life.  The exact same spot, different day.

I like to be busy.  I like to run from one thing to the next.  I like my schedule to be full, my drive time to be exact, my entry and exit dates to be close together, and my day to end in complete exhaustion.  This probably has to do with my being single and the fact that an empty apartment isn’t all that great to come home to every night.  But I digress – another story for another blogpost.  Understated, I fill my day to the brim.

And when that schedule proves insane – and it always does -, the first thing to go is exercise.  I mean, I heave that mess right on out of the day with a certain vigor that might lead you to believe I didn’t want to do it in the first place.  The unfortunate thing is that exercise has proven to be quite the mood stabilizer for me; forty-five minutes of walking a track, jamming out to music or talking to my friend, Amy, has saved many a day…and many a relationship.  There is something about endorphins and muscles firing and my body being too sore, afterward, to even think about moving that changes things for me.

Worst still, when my day is harried, I almost always skip my Bible reading.  I took approximately thirty million Bible classes during the four (*ahem*, five and a half) years at the private Christian college I am still paying for.  I already know what it says. The problem is, being in the Word keeps me grounded in the things I know and believe to be true.  I may have taken thirty million Bible classes and know many of the stories, but when I’m looking to find my worth from someone other than God, I have clearly forgotten what those stories mean.  When a day has me befuddled and questioning my purpose on this planet, I have, obviously, missed a passage somewhere.  And, when my emotions threaten to take over the world in an extravagant, theatrical display, I have no other option but to accept that I have allowed something other than God to sit on the throne of my life.

Medication might be the answer.  When I have a spare minute (I’m sorry, what?  What is that, even?), I might consider talking to my doctor.  Bless her heart.  A soon-to-be-36-year-old, begging for medication for emotional outbursts that resemble a two-year-old’s.  She won’t believe it.  I’ll give her my parent’s phone number.

For now, I’ll hit the track.  A couple trips around the circle with Amy or blaring music that may or may not send me back to an 8th grade dance where Kris Mercer and I danced to three songs before I freaked out because he was talking to another girl at the punch table, (Run, Poor-texting-guy!  Run!) will help smooth the dendrites that get all worked up and start emotional fights in the brain.

And, a new Bible study sits on my nightstand, waiting to be started.  The comfort and peace of reminding myself what God thinks about me and my purpose and my emotions and the fact that He made me this way, on purpose, is such a beautiful thing to remember.  Such a calming thing to think on.  A much more productive emotion, as opposed to, that of obsessively worrying about my actions and his actions and your actions and why they don’t all sync in the ideally constructed requirements of what I think should happen.  Speaking hypothetically, of course.

I probably owe Poor-texting-guy an apology.  But, to be honest, I’m a *little* worried that his phone might combust.  Or, he might.  And, so, I’ll just hang back.  Way back here.  For a while.  Until he’s had enough time to change his phone number.

Life is funny.  Sometimes, circumstances open our eyes to see things that we already knew were there.  Sometimes, people in our lives allow us to see ourselves more clearly.  And, sometimes, taking a step back is the best way to move forward.


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