Tag Archives: intensity

Drama versus intensity

I’m a very intense person. I feel things keenly, and emotional experiences stay with me. I love fiercely, throw myself into things heart and soul, am tortured by anxiety and depression, and I get my heart broken all too often because I care deeply about things. Recognising that I can’t have the highs without having parallel lows, I have long since accepted myself as I am, and while my responses perplex people now and then, I have no desire to change them.

Looking at other people, it has been difficult to tell whether I’m seeing drama, or intensity. No doubt people looking at me have the same problems. To some, I probably seem excessive and melodramatic. I’ve suffered considerably, and repeatedly by being drawn into drama. I’ve noticed a distinct pattern, and the more time I spend around people who are also intense, the clearer the pattern has become for me.

Like all the other intense people I know, I hate drama. I hate getting things overblown for the sake of it and the relentless effort to turn all molehills into mountains. I can be reduced to tears by a painting. I’d much rather be free to get on with that, and not being reduced to tears by people for whom that’s a spectator sport. People who like drama manufacture it. They create crises that require everyone else to run around. They may weep extravagantly, yell, stomp feet and act out a great deal of emotional expression, but instead of being exhausted from so much emotion, they feed on it, and they feed on the exposed emotions of those caught up in the play, and so they keep making sure these things happen. With a drama enthusiast, things never settle down, never become calm and workable.

Based on observation, there are a number of possible motives. The drama enthusiast is always at the centre of the whirlwind, and the centre of attention. Drama makes sure the world revolves around them, and anyone in their orbit is kept circling and attentive. There are clearly ego temptations in being the centre of attention. Intense people who are in extremis are more likely to slip away and try to do it quietly, without the added burden of attention and other people’s reactions to deal with. The drama enthusiast needs to feel important. They seem to derive a kind of pleasure from all intense emotion – especially other people’s. They may have a vested interest in being seen as temperamental and passionate – it fits in with an identity that appeals to them.  They tend to be attracted to arts scenes and spiritual spaces, where a heart on a sleeve can look a lot like authenticity and it’s very hard for anyone to challenge them.

I have repeatedly mistaken drama queens for truly intense people. I like the company of other people who feel too much because there are things I do not have to explain. Intense people shun needless drama, and tend, I have noticed, to try and bring situations down to more manageable, bearable levels rather than escalating them. Intense people are a lot more reliable as friends, too, and less likely to throw a hissy fit and run off over some minor thing.

I spent a lot of years being told that I’m unreasonable and melodramatic. I guess on some level I internalised this as meaning that I belong with the unreasonable and melodramatic people. Except that I hate all that stuff. I like quiet, reflective, thoughtful people who feel things too keenly to want any unnecessary screaming and shouting in the mix.

Too much

One of the things I like about blogging, is that if I prove too much, I don’t have to watch any given individual trying to back away from me. Out here in my actual life, that has always been an issue. I keep the majority of people I know at a careful arm’s length, I’ll give you a light hearted, moderately serious, Nimue, and I may in fact come over as a bit cold, aloof and poker-faced. There have been people in my life who, due to this, thought I was incapable of feeling emotion in the first place. I have a fair capacity for self-control when needs be, but even in that I am often too much.

I was fourteen the first time someone told me I was too much: too serious, not enough fun. It’s been a recurring theme, and in my darker moments, it is often those events that come back to haunt me. The looks on people’s faces, tones of voice, words uttered. I was less cautious as a young human, more willing to risk my heart in the quest to find someone, anyone, who could accept me as I am. By the time I reached my early twenties, I had stopped believing that was even possible, and started learning how to hide it.

I feel everything keenly. I’m not good at casual disinterest, I take everything to heart, and despite more than a decade in the flaying realities of the publishing world, I have never grown a thick skin. Everything gets in. I feel my own shortcomings and mistakes as sharply as razor blades and what I forgive readily enough in other people, I find intolerable in me. That my actual nature causes other people distress is one of the things that has, on more occasions than I care to number, left me wondering if the world would be a happier place were I to absent myself from it. I mention this because I am fairly confident that a couple of the people who read this blog have crawled into similar pits, and might be able to view that differently for hearing it from someone else.

In the Druid community, I have found there are other people who love and cry and whoop to excess. I’ve found at least the possibility of being acceptable, and sometimes the definite, tested reality of it. In my bloke, I have found someone who will gladly accept what I have to give and who is able to see what I am as a good thing, not a problem. Beauty and the Beast is a story that has always resonated with me, but I never cast myself as the pretty one in that arrangement. The person who can see you as you are, monsters and all, and love that, not in the hopes that it will magically transform you into a Disney prince or princess… that person is a rare and precious find. You exist, you brave and beautiful people who are not horrified by intensity, by passion and dedication and who will not be shocked into running away if I say ‘I love you’. And I do love you, a great deal.

To those of you who howl, and who cry until snot comes out of your nose. To those of you who can laugh so much you end up quite literally rolling about on the floor. To those of you whose happy dance is not a typed comment, but a real, leaping exuberant mania cast into the world to offended the jaded apathy of the many… I salute you. There are days when just knowing that you are out there, mad and chaotic, wild, daring, passionate and not cowed yet, makes it possible to keep going. I’m not going to name check you, but I hope you know who you are and what you mean to me.