Sometimes I just don’t know when to quit.
The thing is, I’m usually pretty good at reading people. I’m able to take a glance and visualize a person’s history, see flickers of emotion coloring their face and translate those brief glimpses into a wealth of information. Even the slightest hitch of a breath or stutter in words means something and I live to unravel those meanings.
That said, I’m not very good at reading people in relation to myself. I can decode someone’s expression but only when they’re not looking at me. I can see their feelings as if written in their gaze unless I’m the subject of their perusal. Then, I’m nothing more than blind.
I am an opinionated person. My background is in theatre, so my voice reaches across a space like mountain echoes. My words are to the point but not intentionally sharp. When I’m lit up with something that fascinates me, I will blaze until i burn to the ground. I’m not good at recognizing my limits, I’ve never had many, but worst is that I’m not good at recognizing other people’s.
I can’t see when people have reached their limit with me.
When my passionate opinion curdles dogmatic in their ears and my fervor is like ash in their mouths. My words sharpen and all they hear is poisoned with condescension. And, every time, when they’ve finally had enough of me, I’m always surprised. My rabbit heart stops from shock when the friendly debate is shoved into sourness, and my laughter shatters into pieces when I see my own broken reflection. I see what they see, someone who is calloused and mean, someone who is condescending and cruel.
It breaks my heart every time because I don’t mean to. I don’t mean to but it happens anyway. And, it doesn’t matter that I didn’t mean to, that i didn’t see, because ignorance doesn’t heal the wounds I’ve caused. It’s not a cure for the infection I’ve created.
Someone told me the other day that the burden we’re given is never greater that what we’re meant to bear. I don’t know what that means when you’re your own burden. I can’t change who I am, it took me so long to finally stop wanting to, but it’s been twenty six years and I can’t seem to stop hurting people simply by being me. How do we apologize for what we are? How do we make amends for what we cannot change? Can I accept how I’m made when every time I offer myself forwards, words held out like open hands, only to find that it becomes gristle in other people’s teeth?
I’ve always been blind, trying so hard to see. Reading people like braille with shaking hands. But, I’m afraid to reach out, only to find wreckage. Only to have my rabbit heart break again.