I am not still waters, are you? I am more of a stormy pond – far less majestic than a stormy sea but choppy all the same. Unsettled. And, historically, when I am unsettled, everyone knows about it because I become wild-eyed and brittle, defensive and worried, tense and irritable. Again, nothing epic, but nonetheless far from serene.
The trouble is, this reactiveness serves to further activate the inner turmoil as racing heart speaks to pulsing brain and they pass the panic baton back and forth so that you end up in a vicious circle of spiralling mood. But also, it leaves you ripe for manipulation from people who can’t help but slightly twist the knife – it’s a funny and base aspect of human nature that we sometimes make ourselves feel more powerful by just… pressing buttons.
And so I am trying a new way. I just go floppy. Taunt me, question me, do what you want… I know your intentions. I’m just… calm. A little odd perhaps; a little sunken, but not defensive or agitated or shamed. Because shame is there when you can’t control your mood; when you are triggered; when you are less than lofty. These days I just kill them with calmness – a watery smile. A shrug. A bit of distance.
And even though I’m faking it I start to feel better. I fool them and I fool myself. In letting go of the mad desire to seem sunny and serene (which usually makes me look manic and deranged) I can claw back some power because the polite and floppy communication is this, ‘I don’t really care what think – nothing to see here.’ So the ‘concerned’ aggressor leaves you alone and, somehow, you leave yourself alone? Hang on, am I a psychiatric genius?