Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Empaths are complicated...

While we were back in Michigan this weekend we got to be part of a big family announcement. Non-baby related. That was important to get out since the announcement was from Curt and Rachel and they are at that stage of just past newly married where people are constantly asking about babies...

Anyway...Curtis has been in school for the past few years getting his degree in (and I have no idea what it's really called so I am making up the degree but you will understand what it is by the words I use) Anesthesia Nurse Practitioner. He finishes in December so really close now. What it means is that for the past few years instead of making his normal salary as a nurse he has been back in school. And Rachel was finishing school as well. And working. Basically newly wed completely broke stage of life. So now he's graduating and...Ta Da! He already has a job offer! It's very exciting and fabulous and it's 3 1/2 hours away from Kalamazoo.

Which as you all know, is how far away Bend is from Portland so...

Well at dinner when the announcement was made Kim got teary eyed. Rachel worried. Curt worried. Moving that far from mom is an issue. Kim kept saying it wasn't that she was upset they were moving, it was that she was proud of Curtis. Which is true. And a lie. She is upset they are moving. And proud as well. She was both. We all knew it. Hell, I've lived it. I know exactly that feeling of "Yes! You did it! Fabulous!" that is right away mixed with "No! You are supposed to stay here!"

But then it led to a discussion on being an easy cry.

Rachel admitted she would cry as a kid when other kids got in trouble. It just bothered her so much. Empathetic. You all know I cannot be yelled at. It makes me cry. And I cry when I get angry. And I cry at Kleenex commercials. And books. And movies. And bad temper days. And a really beautiful sunset....

So yeah, we are all easy touches.

Which then Dave (Kim's husband) and Brent were both like "It's AWFUL!" because it is. It's unfair in a fight. If you are in an argument with your spouse and your burst out in to tears they just want you to stop. You (or at least I) still want to resolve the argument, you cannot stop the tears but you want them to ignore them so you can still carry on. But you are crying so they won't. Ugh.

And then for Brent it's even more baffling to him. He does not understand that crying is just something I have accepted. I wish that I didn't cry when I was mad, but that's the only time it bothers me. I'm okay crying at a book, or a movie, or a Facebook post, or getting misty because I understand how Kim is torn between pride in her babies growing up and sadness that they are growing up.

In fact, I think a good cry every once in awhile is completely cathartic. Watching a movie or reading a book that just wrecks me? I might complain a little, but I feel better afterwards. It's like there is just a build up of emotion that needs out. Like a pressure cooker. And releasing it through something that doesn't really matter keeps it from becoming too overwhelming in the things that do.

Because I am strongly empathetic. I totally get why Rachel would get upset when other kids in school would get in trouble. I have a really hard time not feeling all the feels when I hear someone's sad story. I get it. I get them. I feel it. And I cry about it sometimes. And I don't want to change that about me. Because I feel things very deeply I feel things very deeply. Circular, I know. But if I didn't feel things the way I do. If I didn't see the world through that lens I wouldn't be me. And I really dig me.

And I know that my empathy is a big part in how I relate to everyone. I have friends with different world views, I like hearing about them and I can usually understand where they are coming from in an argument. Empathy. The blog I wrote earlier today about taking a moment to be helpful to people. I get what it's like to be that mom with the car seat struggling to get through a door. So I stop and help. Empathy. Watching the world around you and getting more and more frustrated and heartsick that you can't change everything? That's empathy as well.

So yeah, being empathetic is tough sometimes. Right now I feel super proud of Curtis and Rachel and excited for them to be starting this new chapter in their lives. And I feel a little heartache for Kim. Knowing that she wishes them nothing but success and happiness but wishes it was a little closer to home. Trust me, I totally get that part, but 3 1/2 hours is totally doable.

And I completely understand that being sad doesn't mean you aren't happy.

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