“I am not my expression”

I have always been a very happy girl. I have never had a problem expressing happiness, excitement, pride, or any other positive emotion. In fact, many people label me, saying comments such as ” You are a ray of sunshine!”, or ” You’re the girl who lights up a room.”, or even “Your personality is contagious.”

At some point during my life, whether it be my parents, a friend, or a boyfriend, someone has asked me, “Why don’t you share your emotions more often? I only see emotions from you when you’re happy.”

It’s a great question, and it is a question I am still working on an answer for.

When it comes to expressing emotions such as stress, sadness, pain, anger, and more, I have a very difficult time. I mask these “negative” emotions with my “happiness”.

I come from a very loving family, all of which are very emotional and easily express and communicate their feelings.

I, on the other hand, tend to emotionally detach myself from situations that cause me to feel uncomfortable. Getting older. Grad school. My Uncle’s sudden and tragic death. Seeing my Dad deal with his brother’s death. My aging grandparents.Grad school. Do I have real friends at school? Are the relationships I’m making in college able to withstand graduation? Can I handle such a rigorous course load? Will my best friends now be my best friends 20 years from now? Does anyone actually like me? Who is the real Kaitlin? Will I ever stop myself from shutting out the people who truly love me? Why don’t I want to cry in front of people?

Thoughts like these and more cause me to shut down. I don’t like to be uncomfortable. I tend to keep everything bottled up…until it’s too late.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have emotions. I just don’t like expressing them with anyone other than myself.

I used to think that showing certain emotions made me weak, and I always felt that I needed to be strong for those around me. But now, as I am becoming more aware of my emotions, I’ve realized that it’s ok to express them with someone other than yourself. Expressing your emotions doesn’t make you weak, in fact, it makes you stronger.