I think I now know why I started crying when I saw this sign the other day.
It kind of caught me off guard at first and actually made me feel sad and depressed inside, but I couldn't put my finger on the reason why at first. I don't know if this ever happens to you, where you have this emotional reaction about something and can't really find the words to express why. It happens to me frequently and I always feel shaky at first because it catches me off guard.
But most of the time I'm able to piece it together if I have some quiet time. I like being able to figure out things for myself, but I'm now learning that there's no shame in reaching out to another person -- someone I trust -- and discussing it with them. I use to think that was a sign I was "weak," but Matty has really been pushing me to open up more so I can get past feeling I have to struggle through things all by myself.
Matty and I were in the living room the other day and he was talking on the phone to a friend of his while I was traveling all over cyberspace, just killing some time. And then I came across this sign and it hit me like a ton of bricks and my eyes welled up and I got that sad, sinking feeling in my throat that dropped down to the pit of my stomach.
I might have made some kind of guttural moan when this happened, because Matty looked over at me and all I heard him say to his friend was, "Hey, I need to run. Call you back later."
He came over and sat next to me and asked what was going on and I just pointed at the sign and then lost it. Just lost it. He read the sign and then put his arms around me and just held me close and rocked me back and forth. Then the waterworks really opened up.
He didn't pressure me to talk because he's learned that sometimes I just need to "feel" my feelings, even if it makes me feel shaky inside. So after I stopped crying, I looked up at him and let him wipe the tears away with his fingers, and then I heard him ask, "Wanna talk?"
I was all over the place at first when I started talking, but I finally was able to realize that this goes back to when I was maybe six or seven or eight years old and being made fun of because I liked to play with the girls better than the boys. Being called a "baby" and "sissy" was bad enough, but for a boy at that age to be called a "girl" was the worse humiliation on earth.
Oh, and then you start realizing that the boys are cuter than the girls and you sort of like that feeling but are also disgusted by it and this leads to being completely confused by the whole thing. But you also realize that there's something really wrong and bad with this picture so you have to keep it a big secret.
This makes you start realizing that you're not like the other boys, especially when you hear them snicker and talk about you behind your back. So you try really, really hard to stop thinking this way but you can't make it stop. So the only thing you can do is start withdrawing into this very tiny world that has to be kept a secret.
Oh, and then you have to start pretending you're this whole other person, kind of like you're a fake. Believe me, it takes a toll on you when you're a little kid.
So after talking to Matty about all this and hearing his take on it, it made complete sense to me why that sign up there threw me back to when I was a little kid. It's where I started learning that I had to hide myself, not only from other people, but even from myself.
It was a relief to understand my feelings the other night. It made me feel a lot more compassion for myself when I was that age and didn't know how to sort all this out.
I can do that now, and, well, I'm damn proud of myself. And I'm damn lucky to have a man in my life who cares about me -- not the fake me, but the real me.