I fear I am too much for this world. I am all self-indulgent extremes. Ironically, I have been too ashamed of my too-muchness, made an example of by others who have always felt compelled to point out my excesses in disapproving and accusatory tones. For others, I’ve been it all.
I have been too hard – too impatient, too irritable, too aggressive, too ruthless.
I have been too soft – too emotional, too sensitive, too passive, too trusting.
I have been too dark – too sad, too negative, too pessimistic.
I have been too light – too happy, too optimistic, too dreamy.
I have been too much.
For everyone else.
And I’m learning to love myself there because I’m not the only one.
Very recently, I met a girl. She was walking alone along a country lane in Cornwall, wearing her pyjamas and a dressing gown, slippers shuffling along in the gravel, and she was sobbing uncontrollably. She could barely breathe. The thing that broke my heart (again, too much – too easily broken) is what came out of her mouth after she had found her tongue.
‘I just need to learn to control my emotions. This always happens. I’m just too emotional.’
Her boyfriend had already fled the scene with a back pack hanging off his right shoulder. I had heard him yelling at her. I had also seen his cowardly tail slinking away, leaving the girl alone and wailing on the side of the road. She was too much for him, this one, this too emotional woman who clearly loved him.
Even more recently, I arrived at my grandparents’ house in England, the one I haven’t visited for five years. The house is different now, of course. One of my grandparents is gone. She has moved on to greener pastures, but her chair is still there, where it always was, where it always will be, until my Grandad chooses to join her. Even without her body here, her presence is commanding. She fills the space. Her energy envelops the entire house from the foundations to the chimney top. Some would say she was too much. And I suppose she was if I really think about it. But she was too much in all the right ways, all the most glorious and comforting ways. She was too loving, too welcoming, too friendly, too trusting, too loud, too funny, too nurturing.
She was too much, and she was perfect.
And so, I find myself wondering about my own emotional extravagances, and about others like me, others who are too much. Could it be that there’s nothing wrong with us at all? Could we, like my Nanna, be perfect in all of our dazzling imperfection? Because that woman got too much just right. She was loved for it by her tribe, and she was dismissive of the people who didn’t understand it. Too dismissive, in fact. Too cut-throat.
And, as for the sobbing girl from the edge of the street in Cornwall, she was told, unequivocally, that she was not too much. There is no such thing. And if the little boy who had left her alone believed she was, it was not for her to analyse or to fix. The loss was entirely his. That poor, pathetic boy who could not meet this woman where she was at, could not cherish all of the many things she was, could not love her in all of her magnificent too-muchness, was the one who should feel ashamed. She may have been too much for him, but she won’t be too much for a man willing to love her wholeheartedly. She will be met eye-to-eye, in her splendid too-muchness, and she will be cherished for all of her passionate and indulgent extremes.
After all, this is the point, when all is said and done – to love our own superabundance, those of us who are too much, to find other kinfolk who love us just as we are, and to love them ferociously, in return.
Even if it is too much.
Especially if it is gloriously, brilliantly, too much.