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an ocean of emotion, a self portrait.



i've learned how to feel less deeply. i've taught myself how to be shallow. i know it seems strange, in a world where we are so alienated from not only one another, but ourselves, that someone would have to essentially be taught how to feel less. but it's true, i have felt too much too often and its become awfully detrimental to my well-being. so much so, that i have stayed in abusive relationships well past their due dates. to separate myself from the pain caused by many of these relationships, it is easier to shut down and turn it off. by "it", i mean the very essence of who i am. now, it's taken me several years to learn how to do this. some of it is basic psychology - divert your attention, breathe deeply, focus on something in the room. some of it is self medication - smoke it off, take a pill, have a drink. and a little bit of it is just absurd - spend money you don't have on shit you dont need, text your ex, eat until you throw up.


I often use this phrase - ocean of emotion - because i haven't ever been able to relate to anything more.


i am water: fluid and malleable; achromatic, receptive, you control the energy that i bring to you; ready to be infused with every color on the spectrum; i am a mirror, a reflection of you. cool like a summer drizzle, a wave gently crashing on to a Santa Monica shoreline, a cold drink in a heatwave, like melting ice on hot skin. i am water, relentless and volatile; destructive, i am controlling, impossible to ignore; i will engulf all of you with sultry eyes and warm words; but this rage boils inside of me like scorching lava, waiting to erupt; i am hard, impenetrable, violent and salty, a pit of sadness, a broken heart in an endless whirlpool of emotion.

for much of my life, everyone has deemed that i am sensitive. too sensitive. in fact, one of my earliest memories is a close friend of mine announcing to the rest of my friends, quietly, contemplatively, seriously: "zara is really sensitive". what makes me laugh every time i hear this story is a) we were between the ages of 6 and 10 years old so my delicate nature was a common fact within our group. b) he chose to announce his observation at a children's birthday party, during a split second of silence amidst a violent game of mario kart; and c) i wasn't present when he broadcasted this news. was this because he thought i was too sensitive to even acknowledge my own sensitivity? I think so.


i can't say i am, or ever was, surprised by this exposition. my parents never really learned how to discipline me properly because the slightest hint of a raised voice would bring immediate waterworks. i think i got yelled at more for crying than i did for anything else, but i couldn't help it. i often wonder: why is my threshold for certain emotions so low but for others so high? what exactly is emotional (or as I like to think of it: em-ocean-al) sensitivity?


let's start from the top. sensitivity is a funny little word, its connotations change so drastically based on the subject of its description.. when it's physical or sexual, it becomes exciting and the potential capacity for pleasure skyrockets. when its medical, our threshold for chemicals and maybe even every day stimulants/depressors is decreased. for example, someone who is sensitive to coffee isn't able to feel the positive effects of coffee for very long before the negative ones kick in and often, the negative effects are magnified. sensitivity to alcohol just makes you a cheap date (and a high hazard for the 25-30 y/o crowd... know your happy place, friends).


so, what does it mean to call someone sensitive? like all of the hardest questions in life.... i Googled it. despite the fact that most of the dictionary definitions for "sensitive" are overwhelmingly positive, there is such a negative connotation with being a sensitive person. when its used to describe someone's emotional state, "oh you're too sensitive" falls right in line with "oh you're crazy". it's just as dismissive, just as selfish, and just as egocentric. what an ignorant sentiment. someone who can't feel my joy or pain is telling me that i'm reacting to it in a way that they are not...so naturally..i must be crazy. often perceived as weak and fickle people, or someone who takes too much to heart, we're not really the type of persona that anyone in a "successful" position wants to be. how often have you heard of a sensitive CEO or an emotional leader that wasn't immediately labeled as "crazy". emotional leader spurs images of a frenzied hitler or a 3am twitter tirade by donald trump.


i find often that people have to often tone down their feelings and emotions when they're in groups or professional environments to avoid the awkwardness of having to explain them. ultimately, i think people are scared of being figured out. the unfortunate factor in this equation is that the sensitive person is also scared of being figured out. however, our physiological responses are unmistakable - happy, sad, angry, jealous. these emotions pour out of us like mentos dropped in coca-cola bottles. its reactionary, and we wear it on more than our sleeves, we wear our hearts in every fiber of our beings.


to conclude, i am too much.

my ex told me i am not an easy person to love.

it hurt, too much.

i am an ocean of emotion, i take things to heart and i hurt and i heal and then i write too much,

i reveal too much, i conceal too much.

sometimes my words are too soft or too harsh, too real or too biased, too loud, too quiet, too simple, too intricate.

i am too intellectual, i am too stupid, i am too aggressive, i am too much of a prude, i am too racy.

i cry too much, christ, i fucking cry too much in boardrooms and public trains, i cry too much, i feel too much.

i feel unloved too much, i create too much drama - something out of nothing ass bitch, i demand too much, i scream too much, i love too much, i hate too much.

i am too intense, i am too tired, i carry too much on my shoulders, i accept too little from people who mean too much.

i've dealt with entirely too much heartbreak, have went to extreme lengths to make too many people happy, and cried too much for people that don't deserve it.

i have mourned too much for people who i have known too little.

i have given too many chances to too many people, i have turned the other cheek too many times, i have understood too much, been too empathetic, cared too much by trying to not care at all.

i coddled too much, i nurtured too much, i withheld too much out of fear, out of consideration, out of empathy, out of salvaging relationships and saving face.

i've dated the same man too many times, i've chased him too many times to too many cities, i've justified too many mistakes, i've rectified too many broken promises, too often, too willing, too easily.

i've loved him too much too many times, too intensely, too passionately. i knew too much to call it a mistake.

i regret too much, i resent too much, i am too angry, i have too much pain bottled up in too many parts of me.


it seems like no matter how small i try to become, the fucking ocean inside of me is limitless and unrelenting. this is my catharsis, i have taught myself to feel less deeply, but these turbulent waves will continue to crash inside of me until i speak my truth and one day, maybe i can stop chasing things that were never enough, i allow these waves to wash over my past, i pray that i continue to be as unforgiving as these volatile oceans of emotion inside me.

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