There’s a funny thing about me that most will never have the privy to know. But, being that I started this blog to be honest about who I am and the struggles my husband and I are facing, it’s time I share something with you that may well be something no one will ever know.
I’m a deeply sensitive person. “Deeply’” is not even a strong enough word, “profoundly” maybe more accurate.
The odd thing about admitting that is that by all outward appearance, I am not. To my friends and family, to those I socialize with, I’m funny, I’m thoughtful, I’m empathetic, but I’m not sensitive. I’m sensitive to the plight of others, that goes along with my innate ability to empathize, but I’m not sensitive to the criticisms of others, nor do I care what they may think of me. I am who I am. I’m not callous, or mean, I’m friendly, but most people never see the softer side of Annie.
That softer side didn’t used to be there, which may actually be the reason it’s such a closely guarded secret. Crying was viewed as weakness when I was growing up. The world was a tough world, and I was expected to handle it like an adult, and adults don’t cry, they suck it up and find a solution. I grew up in a tough household and was expected to be tough as well.
I am a problem solver, I am an understanding shoulder to lean on, I am a fierce protector of my friends, a loyal companion, I am strong in character and in spirit, and I am the pillar which holds up the life I have and that my friends have to come to rely on when they have no one to hold them up any longer. I am not soft, I am not weak, I do not crumble.
But behind closed doors, I am aching. I only cry when no one is looking, including my own husband. And even then, I limit it to short bursts of emotion that I view as unavoidable, rather than a release.
This change, even the fact that I have tears to be shed at all, all stems from the deployment that changed our life and nearly broke us. I have found that post-deployment, I am quick to tear up at things that I never would have given a second though to prior. I find deeper meaning in words of inspiration, thoughts of the pain of others, and suddenly find that considering the losses suffered from this war is more than my mind is able to cope with at any one moment.
I am deeply affected by the words of others, I am easily wounded, easily pained and easily set into a motion of hiding which had never really been something I had done before. I’ve never been confrontational, just diplomatic in my handling of things, but now I find that I avoid rather than face things that I might have been more willing to deal with head on in the past.
But most of all, I cry.
This strange thing feels like it alone makes me the most sensitive person in the world. Objectively, I can look at myself and say that I’m carrying a heavy burden. I’m holding up the life of two people, I’m constantly putting up a front to the outside world, I’m alone, I often feel like I have no one to turn to and no support and am facing a man that I don’t recognize on a daily basis in a situation that can go from serene to volatile and threatening in an instant, without warning. Objectively, that is a lot for any one person to try to cope with alone. Objectively, that would make even the most hardened of military spouses lose her sh** every now and then. (pardon the expression), but I look in the mirror and all I see is a women who cries at the drop of a hat. Who is sensitive to the perceived slights of others that three years ago wouldn’t have even registered at her level of notice.
All I see is a sensitive girl, scared of what is happening to her life, growing increasingly afraid of her husband, a man she used to trust her life to, and unsure of where to go. All I see is a problem solver without a solution, and a once strong woman who is unsure of why she is crying today, but is unable to stop.