Previously, I've shared how I always try to write from scars, never from open wounds. I want my words, experiences and conversations to be helpful, and so always wait until I’m confident that I’m publishing something for the right reason. This has been important with this post, as it's taken me a while to be ready to hit "Publish.".
Today I want to talk about moments of feeling I am “too much”.
I vividly remember a moment in 2022 when I was in tears, and fearfully asked my best friend “I feel like I’m just too much. Tell me, am I too much?”
You may imagine I was treated to a resounding “Noooooooo! Babes, if you’re too much for someone then actually they’re not enough for you!”. However, that’s not how my bestie and I roll. She knows I value honesty over platitudes, and I only ask such questions when I’m geared up for a truthful response.
(Side note: I think I owe it to her to clarify that she never, ever calls me “Babes!”)
Instead, I was told, “Yes. You absolutely are too much, way too much, for some people.”
My stomach flipped, and the hot flush of shame set in. Yuck.
She continued, “but so am I, so is X, so is Y. We’re a lot. Not to the right people, not to our people; but to those who aren’t our people, we’re too much.”
I’ll be honest, examples of me being too much were flashing through my mind, as I started to consider how I could tone down my “too muchness”. Weirdly though, before I went too far down that mental road, I found myself saying (albeit in a shaky voice) something rather badass… It was along the lines of “but I don’t want to not be how I am. I want to be passionate, I want to be all in, I’ve gone through too f*cking much to compromise the me I’ve found and I love”.
Alas, in true Bu style, having that moment wasn’t enough to settle the issue (or my mind). I knew shame was still lurking, and that I needed to explore and fully unpick it.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with Brené Brown, if not I highly recommend checking out “Call to Courage” on Netflix. It’s glorious, and I re-watch it every couple of months as a form of self-therapy. One thing that Brené highlights is that shame can only exist in silence; by voicing the source of our shame, we take away its power.
So, I decided to tackle it head on. I wrote down some of the ways in which I am “too much”, and now I need to voice it. What better way to do that than with you all, right?!
I know the level of reflection in this post may seem a little self indulgent to some, but I'm hoping that the exercise and what came up may help others who have similar insecurities.
(Second side note: Yes, I get the irony. I know that for many the way all of the above may be an example of me being far “too much!)
I’ve done so much work on myself, I’ve acknowledged and processed a lot. It’s involved forgiveness (of myself and others) and acceptance of the roles I’ve played in some crappy situations. I’ve verbalised things that have left me raw, exposed and ashamed. I’ve unpicked memories to levels where I was desperate to stop, but I never did. I continue to do this, I know that the work is never totally done.
Rather than find this scary, I find it fascinating and exciting. I geek out over it, relishing in the discoveries and deep conversations. I’m an extremely intense being, and there is no point pretending otherwise.
For a lot of people, they don’t know how to handle this, or they think (incorrectly) that I am fragile and they have to find a way to ‘handle me’. For them I am too much.
If something is wrong, I’m in tune with myself enough to determine (usually) what it is that is bothering me, and how it is affecting me. When this happens, I prefer to voice it and deal with it, so it’s no longer an issue.
My anxiety also means that sometimes I need to ask those I trust whether my perspective about a niggle is reasonable, or whether my anxiety is excessively influencing how I’m seeing things. I bring up concerns as a way of dispelling uncertainties, rather than letting them spiral.
The reason I speak out int eh above situations is because I’d rather spend my time having fun, and curating the best relationships I can with those I love. I don’t want to be dwelling on negative feelings or thoughts – I can assure you that my depression creates enough of those, so I don’t need to add to them!
Sadly, some people interpret my honesty as negativity, or see me asking for clarity and/or reassurance as a sign of neediness rather than a positive show of trust. In such cases I speak out and become too much.
3. I love people to be raw, imperfect and unravelled.
I believe magic happens when we show up in all our messy glory, and in that state connect with others. It’s a privilege for someone to trust me with their real, clunky self; I honour and respect that, and for me it’s what it’s all about.
I’m not ashamed of my struggles, or the ways in which I feel ‘less than’. It isn’t me being derogatory about myself, it is me embracing myself.
For some people it’s uncomfortable to see the messy me or to reveal the messy them, and so it’s easier to ignore the discomfort and instead consider me too much.
4. “I just like to smile, smiling’s my favourite” ~ Buddy the Elf, and Bu.
If something brings gleeful happiness, I’m all in…
I’m tone deaf, but after a few gins I throw myself into karaoke. I have no rhythm, but will drag you onto the dance floor. I like to laugh until I cackle (or snort), and can always be relied upon to lower the tone purely for a cheeky chortle.
I think everyone is doing the best they can, and I believe in the magical transformative power of kindness.
These may sound lovely, but for some, my choice to see things through a Disney filter wherever I can makes me far too much (and rather irritating!).
5. I love loving the people I love.
I want the people closest to me to feel valued and never doubt how special they are to me, and I will find different ways to try and do this whenever I can.
Having a bad day? I’m on my way, with wine. Something awesome has happened? We’re going to make a point of celebrating you. You have a favourite chocolate bar? It’s on my next shopping list. There’s an excuse to send you a card? I’m on it… (Truly, any excuse. I once bought a friend a card purely to tell her she was my ‘number one blonde’ after that term was uttered in a drunken conversation).
Finding ways to bring special moments into ordinary days is an absolute delight, but some people think it adds pressure for them to do the same, and so I’m too much.
I hold people accountable; words mean something to me. I don’t suffer fools, I won’t have my intelligence insulted, and respect is a huge thing for me. I’ll call friends out and say if they’re being an arse. If I think someone is in the wrong I tell them, it’s ended friendships before but I refuse to be a “yes-woman” and pretend. Ask me for advice and it will be honest (and often blunt); this comes from a place of deep, wholehearted love though.
I’m compassionate, understanding and realistic. When people are open about messing up, I see that as brave, and would never hold it against them. When I forgive, I forgive fully, and never hold what I’ve forgiven as ammo in my back pocket.
When I say we’re in it together, I mean it. It’s easy to go through the good times together, but the real beauty comes from tackling the bad as a team.
In all my friendships and relationships, I am fiercely open, honest and passionate. For some, my fierceness equates to me being too much.
I wonder if separately some of them are simply ‘a bit’ much, and it’s the amalgamation of them all together that makes it ‘too much’.
If I can take you back to point 1 for a second, I’d like to have a mini geek out. By typing this list, I hoped to get rid of any shame around it. Interestingly, I’ve realised I’m actually proud of a lot of those qualities! This is why I love to do the challenging work on myself, the rewards can be huge.
In fact, I had quite a big reframing moment while typing this, which I want to share with you:
My closest friends are all (among other things), intelligent, fierce, passionate, loyal, inspirational, loving and wholehearted. I wonder if those are the glorious qualities that are required for someone to not consider me “too much”? Maybe, my “too muchness” isn’t a barrier that pushes people away; perhaps it’s a beacon that attracts a certain calibre of people?
This is a funny post to share, as it’s me talking about some personal things that make me me, and it feels like a shift from my other posts. However, the bestie I mentioned at the start of this post sent me a text after our conversation about me being too much, and by publishing this post I hope I am honouring it.
Until next time…