"For The Love Of God Woman, Tone It Down!!!"
Confessions Of A High Strung Woman
Lord have mercy. Try as I might, there is no way around it. I have been “high strung” every single day that I have walked upon this earth, and it’s only seemed to grow worse the older that I’ve gotten.
I can’t turn it off, I’ve never found a fader switch, and most of my life, it seemed like everyone around me wanted me to, “For The Love Of God, Woman, Tone It Down!”
Let’s be honest here- I’ve never NOT been high strung. I’ve known one speed since day one- full throttle, ya’ll.
I was absolutely, without a doubt, the highest strung 3 year old little girl you have ever seen. I had a heavy Texas accent, a HUGE imagination, and opinions about EVERYTHING, and I talked ALL THE TIME.
No one taught me to be this way, it was just who I was: A very small, loud person with big eyes, full of spunk and ideas, and an appetite for life that would weary any mother’s heart.
For as long as I can possibly remember, to as tiny of a person as I can possibly remember being, I remember feeling things DEEPLY- I mean, I felt them in my bones. Everything was a big deal to me, and unfortunately for my sweet Mama- I felt and expressed my passion in equal proportion no matter the cause. My Cheerios, what time I had to go to bed, someone being mean to Grover on Sesame Street, or even a much deserved spanking for sassing my Dad- all mattered the SAME to me in terms of passion and feeling. Having to go to bed early and miss out on fun hurt my little heart just as badly as slamming my finger in the door.
Think I’m just being ridiculous? You try reasoning with a toddler about why it’s irrational to have your heart broken when the apple juice has run out and there’s just no more. No really- I want to hear how that goes.
I’ve tried it, and if there’s anything I’ve learned in my I’m-just-an-aunt babysitting- it’s that toddlers can be completely irrational, emotional terrorists. They will break your heart with their little sobs and treat you like you’ve wronged them in a way they’ll never forgive nor forget. It doesn’t matter why there’s no more juice- they don’t care, but they will hold you personally responsible. Yes they’re adorable, and so precious- but there is no way to reason with them when they are upset, and they do NOT negotiate with grownups.
Now in all fairness, I do remember feeling things so deeply in my own tiny toddler heart that it just escaped from the inside of me to the outside of my body through shrieks of joy, shivers of excitement, or sobs of disappointment- never to be consoled again. Scarlett O’Hare had nothing on my dramatics. I had game.
In fact, we have family photos of me as a toddler with a giant grin on my chubby little face with tiny clenched fists in the air standing next to my sweet smiling Mama. Believe it or not, those tiny fists were not clenched out of anger or frustration: according to my Mom, that’s just what I would do when I was really, really excited and happy. I was so overwhelmed by the feelings inside of me that I couldn’t help myself, my fists would just rise into the air and shake as I shrieked in joy.
Now, let’s be honest- that kid scares me.
Like, are you happy little girl? Or are you sad? Are you mad? Are you happy about being mad? You sure do look mad…. Are you going to kill me in my sleep little girl?
If I was babysitting that little girl, I would have been legitimately scared to death, and rightfully so.
Now, I am one of the first of a generation who has been able to watch ourselves as children through the wonder of “home videos”, something my parents never had the opportunity to do, and those videos of 3 year old me have challenged my adult self to the very core. One in particular was a video in our old living room of me “performing” through dance, song, and dramatic monologue, and I almost didn’t recognize myself.
You see, 3 year old me, didn’t know to alter her personality, smooth out her dance moves, or tone down her passion and excitement so people would like her better.
No, she was unapologetically wild-eyed and full of imagination and big ideas. She also, unfortunately, liked to mix 4 square dancing with hip hop back spins and ballet, but homegirl didn’t care a wink what anyone thought, and today I think she’s a badass because of it.
I was so awestruck by that little bundle of energy and passion and her awful dance moves the first time I saw that video as an adult- that I just cried. Who was that little girl? Where did she go?
That little girl was free. That little girl knew who the hell she was, and she liked herself! That little girl loved to perform, and although she had some maturing to do- she was brilliant and one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen.
For the first time in my entire life, I saw myself FREE. Free of caring what people thought about me, free from hesitation, and free to be and express how I truly felt.
That video and image of the wild-eyed 3 year old haunted me all through my 20’s as I searched desperately for who I really was, and who I really wanted to be. I wept often for her- convinced I had lost her forever. I was jealous of her freedom, and I ached for her JOY.
Little did I know, that video would be a catalyst and instrument to one of the greatest works in my life- learning to accept, love, take care of, and celebrate the real ME- ALL of me.
“Why Do I Feel So Much All Of The Damn Time?”
I have A LOT inside of me, and like many of you, I have never been quite sure of just what to do with it. This depth of emotion, passion, and strength as a woman has caused me countless losses, fights, and problems. The world can be a highly dangerous place for the sensitive heart of a high strung woman.
My heart grieves for the far too many “casualties of the soul” in my fellow high strung women that were intended for greatness, but have been silenced and sidelined by rejection, misunderstanding, and the pressure to force themselves into the narrow black box of female identity today. I believe that for these women to lose their brilliance of spirit has been a tragic loss for our world. For these women have insight, creativity, and strength of the soul that I believe God intended to use to change our world in amazing ways.
After 30 years of inner turmoil, loneliness, and fear of my own self, today I say NO.MORE.
No more walking in deep shame and loneliness because we are misunderstood. No More mistreating ourselves and trying to force ourselves to be less passionate, to care less, or to be more “stable” women so that people will like us better. No more being afraid of our own strength. No more shame. No more believing that everything about us is wrong.
No, instead- we will learn to celebrate the rare and incredible gift God has given us in a passionate personality. We will learn to harness and master our emotions and passion for incredible things, and no longer fear them. We will learn to repent of the unkindnesses we have done to ourselves and others out of misplaced passion, and most importantly, we will learn to love ourselves well. Not a begrudging love as if we have no choice but to accept it, but a real love that fosters deep respect for ourselves, an unbounding satisfying internal connection, and a dedication to care for this mysterious and powerful gift that God has given us.
The journey of a High Strung Woman is in many ways an undocumented and unsupported one, but my heart here is to at least start the conversation. I’m so incredibly humbled and honored that you would read this little blog. It certainly isn’t an expert manual or guide for how to be a great woman, or even how to be a great High Strung Woman. It’s NOT about overcoming your high strung spirit, but it is about finally respecting and caring for one of the greatest gifts God gave you. I promise you: you will need the strength of spirit you have to do the amazing things He’ll call you to do. So it’s time we learn to care for it.
This is just the story of a 4th Generation Baptist Pastor’s Daughter with a wild heart and high strung personality trying to find her way. I pray that in some way, God uses this book to break loose some chains and heal wounds on your beautiful, wild soul my sister.