One of the downsides of being dramatic is that we tend to express things in a larger than life sort of way, whether it’s that we’re experiencing emotions deeply or reacting outwardly, our actions are often seen as sudden or striking to those that don’t know us that well.
But really what I’m saying is that most of us who are dramatic, even if we are recovering dramatics, can be labeled in one way or another as ‘too much’.
It can be too loud, too opinionated, too accomplished, too forward, too emotional, too intense, too clingy and really just too much to handle. So, I know I’ve said it before, but a line that is stuck with me ever since the moment I heard it, it was “You are not too much. They’re not enough”.
And now at the time I first heard it, I thought the person who said it to me was just profound and original. But it turns out they were just ripping off a Facebook post. But whatever the precedent that it set still stands. And that line has stuck with me for about two years now.
I’ve been thinking about that line a lot lately. It’s finally brought me to an inner epiphany, a conclusion, that I am really okay with being too much for some people. I’m okay with it, and I’m going to dive into why I’m okay with it by diving into some actual, real life variations of ‘too much’ that I’ve been called right to my face.
The first one: ‘too loud’.
I know this is something that I now boast about, being the loudest in the room. I wasn’t always so proud of it, though. So yes, we’ll get into it.
First, let me state for the record that I’ve always had a booming voice. But trust me – attend one of my family Christmases and you’ll understand that when I say it was either adapt and speak loudly or never be heard from again. Trust me, it’s just an issue. It’s good. This is how I was always going to be.
So anyways, let’s take it back to middle school. You know, the formative years of a young person’s life where any negative comments on their personality could just hold weight for possibly the rest of their life. A good ole time.
I cannot pinpoint a specific moment in middle school, but I always remember being told to use my inside voice to speak softer, to be quieter.
And, you know, when it’s coming from a teacher, I have to respect that. But it’s when it’s coming from your peers, when peers would get on to me for the level of loud pouring out of my mouth, I began to get self-conscious about it. I began to retract in, to monitor my speaking level, to self-edit, and to even stop myself from saying anything during the conversation to keep from being too loud.
So you want to know why I’m so loud? Well, other than genetics.
For me, it’s because I am so sure of myself. Honestly, I am confident in what I’m saying and in the words coming out of my mouth that I’m not worried about who may hear. I’m not worried about the level of my voice because I know I don’t say hateful, cruel things that I wouldn’t want the person of topic to hear. I would say that to their face. Or if I’m talking about a certain topic, I’m not worried of people overhearing me and challenging me because I know that what I’m saying I’m confident in.
I have always seen my loud voice as a sign of confidence, something to be drawn to.
I have also seen my loud voice as a sign of my interest and passion.
It shows my interest in the conversation when I’m loud. And the more and more invested and interested I am, the louder and louder I get.
For example, just last night Jon and I were having a conversation and it was about a very deep topic that we were both had big feelings about. We were talking and we were passionate, excited about the conversation; my voice started to go up, up, up! I was so loud to the point where Jon was confused and concerned that he had crossed the line to make me angry. I scared Jon into thinking that I was mad at him, when in reality I am so heated and passionate about the topic itself that I’m practically yelling. Which means all of that yelling is in his direction because he is who the conversation is with. (I’m so thankful he sticks around.)
Here’s my rebuttal to my argument, or my suggestion if you will:
I understand that some people don’t want their business out there for the world to hear. And I understand that a loud voice can symbolize anger to some. AKA: Jon.
So if you are ‘too loud’, consider ending your conversations or segway into them with a qualifier, a little asterisk, to let the person know that you two are all good, that you’re not being loud at them, but with them. Does that make sense?
For example, at the end of an intense deep conversation, where my voice has raised higher than normal for two people sitting across from each other, I have to tell Jon that I’m not mad at him or upset at him. Instead, it’s the topic, it’s the conversation that was so intense. And as a dramatic, I feel things and express things very big and very extravagantly to where I was expressing my emotions with the topic, not at him.
It was with Jon that I first learned that I needed to have this qualifier, this Segway because Jon would always be like, “Are we okay?” “Are you mad at me?” At first, I would get offended. What do you mean am I mad at you? No, I’m just having a conversation with you!! No, this is this is me just. I am so excited, I’m so excited to talk about this, and that is why I’m pretty much screaming.
It would bring me right back to middle school, high school even.
I would get so excited about talking about something with my friends or someone new. My voice would get louder and louder and louder, and eventually someone would say, “You’re so loud. Why are you talking so loudly? You need to be quieter.”
It would stop me in my tracks. I would feel, and still do, shut down. I take that as being told I don’t need to be passionate. I’m not saying that that’s correct. I’m not saying that that is someone’s intention, but I’m saying that is what I interpret from it. So pretty much what I’m saying is if I’m talking loudly, it’s not that I’m loud at someone, I’m loud with the topic.
So the next variation of ‘too much’ that I’ve been called: “too accomplished”
A story from college to provide context: I was talking to this guy. I think he was a few years older than me. I’ll be honest, he wasn’t anything remarkable. He was pretty average run of the mill dude.
I could sense that things were fizzling out, I guess, on his end, but I was still really invested in pursuing your relationship with him. So, I did the normal thing; I got drunk and texted him the whole “What are we? What are we doing here? What do you think about our future?” (Don’t do that, ladies. By the way, they don’t get drunk and text somebody something. But anyways.)
Well honestly, props to this guy because he came clean and he put it all out there.
What he said to me I can’t remember exactly. This gist was that I was too much. He said I did too much. I was too busy. I was too smart. I was too involved. And all of this pretty much boiled down to is that I was more than him.I thought we were pretty level in life, but I guess he thought I was more than him.
I know that he never quite said it in exact words, but I do believe that my ‘too much’ness was too much for him to handle, that he wouldn’t we just couldn’t be okay with dating a girl that was more than him.
I mean, that’s his loss.
What I’m trying to say here is that being someone who is too accomplished should never be a bad thing. And you know why? Because if you’re the most accomplished in the room, then you’re in the wrong room. And if you really think that you are the most accomplished, you’re incorrect. There is honestly no such thing as being too accomplished. Okay?!
Now, the next thing that I’m going to say took me years to come to terms with. So just trust me, please, when I say this. You are never truly the most in the room.
No one is top dog in life. Sure, you can be the expert in whatever, maybe the best at one thing, but you’ll never master everything. That’s why it’s called ‘Jack of all trades’, not master of all trades. Come on, we are only human. So that means that means that there is always someone out there that you can learn from and someone that is more accomplished than you in some way.
There is really no such thing as being too loud. There is no such thing as being too outgoing. There is no such thing as being too anything, honestly. And the people that are going to say that you are too much are the ones that are not enough.
So yes, I am okay with being too much for some people because that means that the people that are stuck around, the ones that are still here, that means that they are enough.
They are enough. They are the fulfillment to the quote that I was talking about earlier. They are strong enough to handle me, to see who I am and either love it or at least respect it. The people that are calling you too much. They are, frankly, not enough. They do not deserve your time, your energy. They do not deserve to hang out in the orbit that is you and your life.
Obviously, this is not a catch all. This is not universal.
There are things that you can be too much of and it be a bad thing. But what I am saying generally applies.
Just take it takes a certain type of person to be around a dramatic person. They have to be enough.