Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Can you hear me?

I have been so irritable these last few days. I don't know what's going on with me. I actually yelled at my mom & my brother today. For anyone who knows me, this should come as a huge surprise... The crazy thing is, I didn't feel all that surprised afterwards. I opened my mouth & words came screaming out & then I was done. I didn't really have much of a response, which feels really strange for me since it was something SO out of the ordinary. I am not a yeller; I'm barely a talker. Though I'm very emotional, I rarely express those emotions. So to just open my mouth & scream is bizarre. I think I yelled something like, "You're not listening!!" I can't remember exactly. My mom & brother were both talking at the same time while I was in the middle of sharing a story and so, no, they weren't listening.

My brother actually said a pretty profound thing after I yelled. He said that I yelled because I must not feel heard. He was so right on. And I realized how much I haven't felt heard all my life. There's a “funny” family story about me from when I was a baby. I am the youngest in my family – by quite a bit. My sister is 6 years older than me, followed my two brothers who are 10 & 12 years older than me. My cousin also came to live with us for 5 years while I was growing up. She is also six years older than me. So growing up, with 5 of us kids around, it was a busy, noisy house. And I was usually in the center of it all, taking everything in.
So, as the story goes, when it all got too much around the dinner table and everyone was talking all at once, and no one was paying any attention to me (the baby in the high chair), I'd belt out a good long yell. Everyone stopped their conversations & directed their attention to me. Shortly after, I was satisfied and everyone went back to their conversations.

I've struggled with being heard all my life. A big part of it is my personality... I am quiet & introverted. I need to be drawn out. I enjoy a good conversation & I have a few people in my life who I share my true self with. But I also know I can be hidden and private. People say I'm a hard person to read. That surprises me. I feel like I'm always giving myself away – that people can see right through me. But I guess after years of trying to control & stuff my emotions (for fear that I'm “too much” or that I won't be handled well), along with a fear of letting others know how they affect me, well, I guess that could result in becoming a hard person for others to read.

So I've become comfortable in the distance, in the silence. I don't require, request, demand enough to be heard. Instead, I remain mute. I tend to talk quiet & so am usually spoken over. I want more areas in my life where I am heard. I need to make the space & the time for that.

4 comments:

ANTI-ONION SOCIETY said...

jenna,
i am happy that you invited me here, and i love the way you express your thoughts, both in conversation and writing..i'm really enjoying getting to know you. hope your day is light..
katie

Jenna Lynne E. Deckert said...

Thanks for your words Katie! I'm really enjoying getting to know you too!

NormaJeansDaughters said...

Jenna:

Wow! My daughter, Katie, told me I should check out your blog because you sound a lot like me. I could have written this! I am also a soft spoken, self contained and generally quiet person. (The third child of 6, alcoholic father, the listener and peacemaker...)I am trying to learn to be brave and speak up and ask for what I need from those closest to me, but it's hard.
I have met you before, at Vineyard's C/R when Rob spoke on anger.
I will be visiting your blog often.
I have started one on Xanga - www.xanga.com/libarrylady -
drop in any time!
Colleen

Jenna Lynne E. Deckert said...

Hi Colleen,

Thanks for visiting my blog! I look forward to checking out your blog. This blogging is such a fun way to connect with people!