I was told today that I'm a bit overwhelming at times.
Honestly, the thought of that doesn't surprise me, though I'll admit it hit me in a not-so-comfortable way. I'm not delusional about who I am:
I can hold a grudge for years.
I am verbose and impetuous.
I am moody and overly sensitive sometimes.
I can be obsessive and dogged and downright annoying.
I am boisterous and love to laugh. I have a laugh that is huge and joyful and impossible to miss.
I have learned slowly, and by overcoming some pretty substantial fears, to ask for the things I want. I'm still practicing how to reign in my approach and to be a bit more reserved when and where it's warranted.
I remember almost everything, from momentousness to minutiae, good or bad. I've let go of a lot of hurt and pain and don't carry it with me every day anymore. And I remember many good and wonderful moments with startling clarity of detail.
I am intelligent and precocious. I have a large vocabulary coupled with a love of words and the way they sound, both in my quick Southern accent and in my mind's vocality.
I often make quick decisions, though not usually without merit. I'm capable of rapid thought processes, spinning so quickly from one thing to the next that there's a constant hum in my head like a hummingbird's wings. I do flit from flower to flower all too often, but that's because there are so many wonderful nectars out there to explore.
I am emotionally sensitive. No matter how stolid and easy-going I may seem, I get my feelings hurt, sometimes too easily. I would rather cut my own head off than let you see me cry, though. If I'm ever openly teary, you should know that I'm really, really hurt. I learned early on that sometimes it was better just to keep my mouth shut. If I'm not talking or if I seem distant, chances are I'm angry and am choosing not to engage it and escalate the problem. And much in the same way that I jump from thought to thought, I've been known to waffle between emotions, almost like trying them on for size to see what suits my mood.
I am immersive in the things and people that I love. I love figuring out what makes people tick, what brought them to this place in time and why they do the things they do. I love the details, of getting into something on a truly granular level. There's a pure, aesthetic joy in discovering how music and books and people are connected to the things around them, and to themselves and to me.
I am determined and will do what I need to do for a desired end result. I go after what I want, certainly, but I also work hard for those who matter to me. If I believe in you, I will support you exhaustively. I don't like to give up once I've taken on a task, often challenging myself and turning it into a personal game to win. If that means I have to bother someone or get in their face, there's a damn good reason, whether or not they know it.
A lot of these traits are ingrained, intuitive threads in the fabric of Stephanie. Some are learned behaviors that came about as coping mechanisms for any number of emotional trauma, both significant and seemingly inconsequential. I am always willing to examine the why and how of myself. It's the obsessive/immersive thing.
I accepted these truths about myself long, long ago. I do what I can to embrace them, though I fully recognize that there are flaws to be diminished and perfected. I'll work to make that happen, but only after I step out onto the emotionally slippery slope of self-examination. Sometimes that's quick and relatively painless; sometimes it takes a while to edge my way out there. There's a strong probability that I will spend a lot of time talking or writing about it, with startling verbosity. And my words may come out of anywhere at any time, just because I happened to think of them while I was in the middle of something else entirely.
But boiling me down to overwhelming.... That's like being told my muchness is too much.
Maybe it is, but it's who I am. It's a good with the bad, fantastic with the imperfect, kind of deal. I won't change who I am to suit someone else and their mood. If I find that you're worth the effort, I'll make adjustments and do what I can to make it work. Ultimately, though, I will always and unapologetically be me--not "maybe Stephanie" or "almost Stephanie". Just Stephanie.