I used to be the kind of person who made fun of people who were open books. Not make fun of them maliciously or anything, I just didn’t understand how people could just be so, well, open. Even as a kid, I didn’t really get a grasp on the whole I-got-my-heart-on-my-sleeve, I-tell-people-how-I-really-feel kind of thing.
Instead, I was the quiet, awkward type. I hid away, writing and doodling in my notebooks. My feelings would easily come across paper, but struggled surfacing in front of people. I did better on my own, and in my books, better than I ever have in any kind of social interaction.
People are scary. Or, at least, that’s what I’ve built up in my head. So long as people weren’t open themselves or open to understand, they were terrifying. Especially when they come in groups. Large, intimidating groups.
For example, my family. Hypothetically, they’re a great group of people. But so long as one person knows something, it takes maybe five minutes before everyone knows. Or you mess up one time, and you never live it down, because there will always be That Guy. You know, That Guy; the one who mentions that one time you messed up. I hate That Guy.
So I taught myself early on to keep things to myself. It was easier that way. No one gets hurt, no one judges you, you don’t get hurt. It was all about safety.
And then something changed in me when I went to college. I found a group of people that really got me, who respected my thoughts and feelings and what I had to say. They let me truly be myself for once in my life, and I think that’s why I hold onto those people and that place so much. I’ve never felt more free until then.
So when I came home, I was different. Besides my self-diagnosed depression, I was a different person. I was sick and tired of being The Quiet One, so I started telling people how I felt. It caught everybody by surprise, and a lot of them didn’t like that. So it turned out that they didn’t like the real me.
I started to let my book open up (the operative word being started). I liked the freedom of speaking my mind, but some part of me never even really opened back at Iona. You see, opening up was a huge deal for me, so I still kept a part of myself to myself. I just wanted to feel a weight lift off my shoulders—I wasn’t self-destructive.
When it came to feeling things like anger and love and pity, I am really good at keeping myself at bay. I can simply tell myself to calm down, that nothing is forever, to keep moving on. It’s actually kind of easy to have yourself seem so indifferent, almost like a robot. I do it way more often than you would expect, seeing as how, on here, I lay it all out on the line.
Real life is different.
But when something gets to me—like, really gets to me—I open up like a child on Christmas morning. Like when I read a book, or bond with somebody over something that I am passionate about. I tense up, I blush, I giggle. I turn into a little kid; I can’t help myself.
It kind of makes me wonder what life would be like if I got out of my comfort zone and opened my heart. Would I be obnoxiously cheerful, smiling at every passerby on the street, and text that come my way?
Hell, I do that kind of thing already, when a friend send me a simple, “thank you”. What the hell am I supposed to do if I get an “I love you” or “Good morning, beautiful” (assuming I would receive a text like that, because I’m a romantic and was probably born ten years too late). I don’t know if I’d turn into a heart-soaring, sky-high idiot, but chances are that I probably would. I’d be an open book, just like the rest of them.
And I know for a fact that I’m not prepared for that kind of thing. I’m okay with being a book that’s slightly ajar; I like keeping a bit of myself hidden from the rest of the world. Is that weird?
Let me know.
Prompt: Are you an open book?