Meditations on Muchness

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I’ve been talking with my friends about myself.  Alot.

Self-esteem tends to take a dive after you’ve been rejected, and as a person who still has low self-esteem (after how many years of these conversations?!?!), I guess I need a lot of support from friends when I’m down.

The very nature of seeking support or sharing my feelings is strange for me.  I encourage others to be open and honest when talking about their feelings, but whenever I do the same I feel narcissistic and needy.  So I hope you forgive me for this post.

I don’t know if I enjoy being so “much” of everything.  Sanjana says I’m vivacious, and like a “force of nature.”  Hanako says I’m liable to throw myself into whatever I focus on, and to keep going past a common-sense stopping point.  And I can tell, as can they, that it’s intimidating to some people.  Even me- I dislike my muchness.  Some days intensely- why can’t I be smaller, and have smaller hair, and be quieter, and less goofy, and do normal things, and stop making grand sneezes, grand mistakes, grand laughter, grand sob-stories, grand dreams, grand blog-posts?  Why can’t my life be less melodramatic?  Whay can’t I just be normal?

After accusations of being basically “too much” in elementary school I actively tried to make myself less of everything.  I straightened my hair, stopped laughing out loud, rationed my smiles, talked less, slouched more, and generally tried to blend in.  The only muchness my friends accepted and praised was in academics, so I pushed to be much that way.

But my dreams were still there, as intense as ever.  No amount of body hatred would curtail my earth-shaking sneezes, and no matter how quiet and small I tried to be my feet, my legs, my arms, and my butt especially refused to comply.  And to top it all off, my brain refused to be mathematically much, and instead spent its time being artsy and fartsy, dreaming of metaphors, fictional characters, memorized lines, novels, doodles, philosophy, love…

Flash-forward to senior year in Oberlin, Ohio.

My hair is a gravity-defying mass of brown curls.  My waist is narrow, my hips are wide, my butt is huge, my legs are long and muscular.  My skin is brown.  I only wear makeup for special occasions.  I laugh, I cry, I sneeze, I dream–often.  And LOUD.  And there are people who, to my disbelief, love me for all this.  People who, despite my low-self image and constant use of first-person pronouns and random crying/laughing jags, tell me I’m a great person mistakes and all.  People who I can count on and who know they can count on me.   People who say “yes, Mieko, you are ‘much,’ sometimes overwhelmingly so, but this is a good thing.  Don’t change it.”  When I’m passed over for someone quieter, or lighter, or smaller, or cooler, or better dressed it makes me wonder what I did wrong, and how I can mold myself to everyone’s liking all at once.  Which, my friends patiently remind, is neither possible nor desirable.  They say I’m worthy of being loved, and that the type of love I give is good and nourishing.  They say I’m beautiful as I am, and to ignore those who can’t see it.

But it’s confusing.  Still.  Because sometimes I can’t stand all this “muchness.”  At times it’s exhausting, and painful, and scary, and lonely.  I’m still learning how to live much, much less apologetically.  To embrace my muchness as I embrace those I love.  And to hope that someday I find someone and someplace who loves all this as much as you all do.

So thanks, guys, for putting up with me…and you know, liking me for who I am, and stuff…

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