Just Too Dang Much

Adam:Me
I’m one of those bad-broke, rode-hard-put-up-wet kinda gals. You know ’em. Fire sparks from their eyes, smoke streams from the nostrils, and they’re just generally a handful. Sometimes gentle, sometimes a cross between a treed bobcat and a lady. Always keep you edgy wondering how to approach ’em. I don’t know if I was born this way, but it seems like it.

My opinion is that the world deserves me just the way I am on account of the way it treats me and everything else. I’m kinda like one of the Earth’s walking consciences, always reminding people of what happens when they treat other people mean. I’m sure you know someone like me. I’m strong, opinionated, pretty, lucky, independent, self-assured, smart.

Oh, I’m not a stunner dripping with money and gently holding the cojones of the world; no way. I’m one of them strong, independent types who’s got everything nobody else really wants. I’m one of those bitches who makes everybody nervous and that everybody calls touchy or crabby. I am too damned much for anyone to handle, or so they say.

The first time I remember having that odd little “too” adjective applied to me was when I was about five and was told I was too young to understand, too small to do it, and too hard to get along with. In the first case, a five-year-old should never be sacrificed to nuns for education. Secondly, I could ride any horse I got on, sort of. And finally, if they would talk to me reasonably I might not be so damn hard to get along with. But all this was just a portent, a hint, of what was coming.

By the time I was eight, I was too smart, too dumb, too much a tomboy, too serious. I kept the smart, dumb, serious part and became known as Little Miss Priss to my family by age ten. Puberty found me weighing in at 85 pounds, heft that was stretched across a five six frame, with a mouth full of teeth that wouldn’t fit until I was about twenty, braces, and the self-esteem of a mouse. No tits, no hips, just elbows and knees and braces. Gorgeous from any perspective. My mom always told me I had a great smile, though. Very small comfort to a human tree.

I learned early that kids are mostly mean and stupid, so I found solace with very old people; they had something to say and knew how to listen. The first love affair I ever had was with my grandmother who died when I was nine. I played dominoes and jacks and could skip high waters/hot peppers with the best, but I also read forty to sixty books a semester from second grade on. I loved Hank Williams and Patsy Kline when Elvis was king. Vincent Price, who was better than John Wayne every hoped to be in my book, introduced me to Poe. Our twit of a librarian refused to allow me to check out the collected works of that dear alcoholic because I was only in fourth grade, but she poured the first shot in a life-long addiction.

I knew rocks, snakes, trees, water, rabbits, cats, and horses had souls; I was uncertain about people. I wanted to be a ballerina from age six until I dropped that nonsensical dream on my twenty-eighth birthday when I did an arabesque and semi-permanently sprained my ankle.

I fit well in high school, too. I had to take the high school entrance exam twice because I scored higher than the male genius and the first score was obviously a fluke. By fourteen I had fallen in love with a man who was to fill my dreams to the present, some thirty years later. We were an item during my twenties, but that story best fits in later. I dated three guys in high school, none of them him, and scandalized the town with my supposed promiscuity (you were only allowed one man every four years back then). I wasn’t selected to cheer for the team because, as the kind president of the pep squad told me, they were afraid I might become too egotistical. My algebra teacher made certain I was never elected to senior honor society or chosen as an honor student because I was too loud in the halls. I was asked to run as secretary of the senior class, but wanted to run as president. Girls names were never entered for that position so I didn’t get to run for anything.

I kept thinking I was going through a phase, that some time in the near future I would be just good enough. In fact, it wasn’t a phase and it expanded to include too sensitive, too loving, too good, too bad, too intense, too modern, too wild. Let’s see, what did I miss? Oh yeah, too sad, too happy, too mad, too glad. Too much a hippy, too old-fashioned. Don’t get confused here, these were certainly not words I applied to myself. Good-intentioned professors, friends, therapists, bosses, unknowns told me these things, for my own good, of course.

What the hell is a twenty-year-old supposed to do with this kind of knowledge? I thought love might help me figure it out. Believe me, it doesn’t. It just adds to the list. Drugs don’t help either. They mirror the words back onto your soul and write them into your heart with a bitter, indelible ink. Alcohol is a socially acceptable method of drowning, but that leads to alcoholism and, dang, that’s a tough one to get rid of. Thank God for the rare soul who believes in you, without strings, without wanting to own or change or manipulate.

I’m not certain when I started thinking I might be okay to look at, that my nose wasn’t too big or my cheekbones too prominent or my lips too big. Somewhere in my mid-thirties I decided my eyes were really quite nice, but pretty? Never. In fact, I settled for exotic. That’s better, anyway, isn’t it? I think getting sober at 32 unlocked the gate for several revelations, including that I was bright, could be charming and okay to look at, and might have something of value to give to friends and lovers. It’s a theory I’m still testing, twenty years later, though.

Briefly back to the love of my life. He recently got married for the second time, obviously not to me, and that’s because, he says, he would rather be comfortable than passionate. Ergo I am too passionate. He’s probably right that our marriage would have been tough, but damn him anyway.

What the hell is wrong with being too passionate, too sensitive, too everything? Why is this silly little adjective thrown at me in explanation for each aspect of me? My beloved sister once told me I was too supportive. Jeezo peezo! Was I supposed to become less smart, less pretty, less lucky, less sensitive, less passionate? Would that ensure that someone would love me? That I would find a place I fit in this world? That the pain would abate? What was I supposed to do with this stuff? How do people want me to react, to change? I was simply befuddled by this. It ebbed and flowed. I could go a whole three, maybe four, months without someone using that adjective to describe something I had just done, some feeling I had just expressed, some thought I had just expounded. But without fail, that well-intentioned look would descend on someone’s face and the next “too” would pop out.

It’s an interesting phenomena, this “too” stuff. When people say “you’re strong”, it’s a compliment. When they say “you’re too strong”, it’s a criticism. It implies that you are supposed to do something about it, that somehow you have stepped over an appropriate, social boundary and that, if you were a “good” person, you would do something to correct that faux pas. When I first encountered it, it stung but I didn’t spend much time thinking about it. I had no idea that little word will become my personal Chinese water torture, wearing my heart away drop by drop.

I started hearing that word in every conceivable context. Was there something wrong with me? Did I have some major deficit? Was I born missing some key ingredient that would allow me to understand this too stuff? The weight of that silly little word is extraordinary because not only was it used to put me in my place, it was also invariably used to explain why someone treated me abominably and why I should be big enough or strong enough or gracious enough to let that rudeness pass. Essentially, because I was a “too” person, I had to accept every form of appalling behavior imaginable. People were allowed to and, according to their moral precepts, were supposed to bring my “too” behavior to my attention, just in the off chance I wasn’t aware that I was a “too” person.

I spent years shaving off parts of my personality. You know, trying to speak softer, act nicer, be stupid. I even wore suits and coiffed hair. Jeez. I figured if I kept carving off pieces of my personality I’d eventually get to the “good enough” part and then everyone would start saying I was just strong enough or smart enough or whatever. It doesn’t work that way, but dang it takes some learning to figure it out.

Finally, though, it came to me. They ain’t never gonna be satisfied. They just need to break my spirit for some reason. When I got to that understanding, and believe me it didn’t come quick, I had myself a year-long cry, dusted off my boots, and start living for myself again. Now I glory in being too much. It reminds me I am vitally alive, full of piss and vinegar, raring to go. It lets me know that they haven’t broken me to saddle yet. Oh sure, many of them still want to but, until they figure out that wounding an animal’s pride only makes it mean, they’ll never get this mare in their corral.

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6 thoughts on “Just Too Dang Much

  1. Well Ms Ravenjet, people deserve a woman like you in this world as you are a special lady! I’ve known you all my life but have not known the Deepness in you. I’ve always have seen you, even as of today, a beautiful long hair, strong, happy woman who believed in herself. Beautiful jet eyes, a leader and who loves to spread kindness. That’s what I see Ms JT. I’m about to say the “too” word, I was too little not to no all. As I read through your blog I didn’t realize you struggled with the “too”. Too word could be destroying as a child or carried into adult life but I didn’t see that in the mighty JET, I see you. You didn’t have any reason to shave anything off your personality. I did not realize the nuns and education. It just seems in that generation it was the normal thing a parent would do not realizing the outcome. Growing up in the country we were raised in, I can see the beautiful Jet riding horses out there with the boys and men doing a better job then most. Courageous with any animals including snakes. I did not see the Ms Priss, I seen and see “mighty.” Your mom was Absolutely correct, you have a beautiful smile! As a child, are schoolmates were bullies and mean, I must agree I found solace in the older, one in particular with me was Julia Weimer, she was my everything like your grandmother was to you. My favorite grown ups in my life was not only Julia but it was you & your sister. You my dear, would play Jacks with me and I played around the world like a champ. I’m with you Ms Jet, Vincent Price was awesome but some reason John Wayne was right up there for me as I seen Papa. I see me like you, the challenges in life we go through. I remember only the bold and mighty of you! Teachers back then would try to break us down (I will say they got me and I did turn into shyness, afraid, humiliated, self-esteem lowered & afraid to ask questions) I see and remember stories by you and your lovely sister and the popularity in you. I didn’t realize about the Senior honor society, it’s the loss of the school, the algebra teacher didn’t see incredibilty. I too thought love in my life would be settling and great, I’m still learning it’s not. (#3, you’d think I would learn) As far as the love in your life and the one man you are talking about, who’s been married twice, guess what Ms Jet, it’s his mistake twice for not wanting to make a life with this incredible woman I see. Comfort verses passionate, this is why he has not had love success. He is not right JET, and it’s going to happen to him again. Passionate out ways Comfort. We cannot see the future along with the struggles of relationships or the outcomes, It’s a one day at a time. If I had a future crystal ball, I myself would have taking the other “Y” in the road. I am sorry for the past struggles of the “too”, men, drugs, alcohol, but happy to see after 32 you saw once again the beauty of you in your inner soul. I’m glad to hear you dusted your boots off, had re-looked at the beautiful you and no one is going to knock down “You” again!
    Now that I am 53, on my 3rd marriage and yes this one has had struggles along the way, & still does. I finally have discovered who I am and I am pleased with me. It’s taking therapy for both. It made me stronger and I don’t have to take the manipulation, controlling, one sided marriage anymore. 50/50 as it should be. I really believe my husband thought I needed therapy and our marriage issues was because of me. He stated I didn’t know how to communicate. When “She” brought us into the room, I was free to speak my words, no judgement, no me being wrong and not just one person hearing me, trying to be little me. I had someone to help open his eyes there is no right nor wrong along with listening to my words. Plus he had a rude of wakening of his own life even back to childhood. I feel I have a long ways to go but I’m back in control of who I am. I know if I had to live alone, I am good with that and have peace with myself.
    Back to you my friend, just so you know you have ALWAYS been an inspiration in my life and love you for that. As I was a little girl you were my rock and still are! You are an inspiration to so many people, maybe more then you have acknowledged. The love you spread has rewarded so many! When you continue looking at the lovely you in the mirror just remember you made a great impression on me (and so many others) and love you in my life!
    Love you my dear, Always!
    Marti (Bodaness) Taylor

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    • Oh, Marti, you beloved woman, friend, and love. This is amazing! You deeply touched my heart and soul. Thank you for letting me know how my story affected you. Thank you for telling me part of your story. Thank you for loving me. Thank you giving back to me so richly. Oh, Marti, thank you. I treasure these words and you.

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