i am drawn
channeling capacity for intensity
yes, i am drawn to emotional intensity and i am not afraid to explore the depths. i am inclined to excavate, to seek a deeper truth.
it is hard to know which came first: a natural capacity for intensity or the trauma that normalized it.
for a long time, the line between emotional intensity and emotional toxicity was blurred by people i loved. this created a dissonance between what i was feeling in my heart as pain and labelling in my mind as love and intimacy.
and with that line blurred, i found myself on the emotionally intense to emotionally toxic relationship pipeline over and over again. in this dissonance, i consoled my own transgressors over their abusive actions towards me.
eventually, my body, mind, and spirit started shutting down. my nervous system was in a state of constant dysregulation.
like most codependents do, i internalized the problem as my own so that i could fix it. i blamed my capacity for intensity as the reason for my pain. capacity as in a womb-like space which expands, allowing an energetic river of intensity to flow through it. a canal. a channel.
i contracted, restricted, and blocked the intensity. i got quieter. i wore more linen. i made myself smaller. i attracted partners who preferred the dimmed version of me. and for a while, it worked- or i was happy in a sort of blissful ignorance to myself, because it felt good to stop the intensity.
i kept getting shrinking and they kept loving me, because i was still not asserting any of my own needs. because i was still in relationship with someone who could not see me. or how like any toxic power structure, their needs were met in the presence of my sacrifices.
and in a state of resentful and translucent self, i doubled down. i resigned all of my needs to the needs of my partner. i closeted my abundant queerness. i moved to the woods and lived without utilities for nine months. and i told myself that i wanted this- to marry the man who loved the quiet me, so that my life could be quiet forever.
yet a daily uneasiness situated itself within my quiet body. i entered a cycle of drinking wine to stifle the unease and secretly pursued queer relationships so that i could feel something again. the edges of the life i’d built were starting to fray.
i became restless to burry the quiet me in those woods. to set us both free. but without my capacity for intensity, i could not hold the grief and uncertainty that came with leaving or with staying.
anyone who has lived with a part of themselves shut away will tell you how it catches up eventually. or that you can only take so many walks alone in the woods without confronting your own lies. and that’s where i was, taking walks in the woods alone with my lies. and they were getting louder and louder.
and then the pandemic came.
with nothing to distract me, and with our wedding date approaching, there was no way of escaping the fact that i was dying inside.
in our collective grief, we all changed. our collective grief ushered me toward my own personal grief- my loss of self- igniting a chain reaction of untangling what was pain from what was love- a clearing up of the old patterned dissonance i’d been living with for so long.
i can see now how honoring my grief saved me. it let the womb of capacity expand and release that rushing intensity. and the intensity was pure and good and it flowed within the creativity i needed to envision what was next. and then it flowed within the courage i needed to follow through.
this intensity is helpful when it is conscious, creating, and authentic / this intensity is not helpful when it is unconscious, exploiting, or controlling.
knowing where to channel this river of intensity in my life is an evolving practice.
this practice celebrates that my intensity is a powerful gift. an intrinsic part of me. a blessing.
this practice celebrates intensity.
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only the entire album, Capacity by Big Thief