On being too much
Fuck it, let's get loud
I want to briefly highlight a particular segment from her writing, because it hit me square in the chest:
I’ve told these stories before. How my high school best friend’s boyfriend hissed at me to “shut the fuck up” in AP History class because I raised my hand too many times for his liking. How I was often quieted as a kid because I have a big voice and even bigger opinions. How I’ve been told I’m “too much” by various humans, throughout various phases, of my life.
What I haven’t told you as much about is how after that kid hissed at me, I stopped raising my hand as much, in that class and others. How I became hyper-cognizant of the volume of my voice and am now crippled with anxiety if I’m ever [shushed] or told to be quiet. How I learned to mirror other people’s best versions of themselves back at them instead of shining on my own - not to be manipulative, but because it was easier than being my big ol’ huge self. How I’ve learned to make myself smaller while also absorbing whatever emotional maelstrom swirls around me, becoming a people-pleaser who has spent more time in toxic relationships than I should have because maybe, just maybe, if I improve, they’ll love me again.
Amy’s piece is about women, societal expectations, and self-censorship. And Taylor Swift. But the historical, personal context — the bit I included above — echoes a huge portion of my life.
When I was a kiddo, I was constantly told by teachers that I needed to slow down, to speak more slowly, to stop drawing in the margins of my work, to generally speaking, be less so that I could be more like the good kids. To fit more neatly into the slot apportioned me by a society content that it had found the appropriate limits of one child’s energy.
Well, the joke is on those old, censorious, boring motherfuckers. I still talk too quickly and move around too fast. Sure, this means the occasional podcast re-cut, and the odd bruise from walking into yet another door frame while lost in my own bullshit, but who cares?
The pieces of Amy that were tramped down by other people are precisely what makes her so special. And, in a small way, the pieces of myself that got me into the most trouble as a child — I want to personally thank my early math teachers for being asshats, getting me into extra grief with my parents for no reason, and poisoning their subject matter for my young self — are the very things that today are the core of my fucking career, friendships, and marriage today.
Fuck the forces of rigid normalcy. Let’s get loud.