Absolutely nothing. I mean, I suppose I have a few differentiating qualities which might make me stand out in a line up, like my dazzling purple hair, but I’m still just human. Just another cog in the proverbial machine of life. Although, people have told me I’m nice. Nice. That’s like saying water is wet or that dress looks good on you. But how good? You’re going to have to be a little more specific there friend.
Over the years people have often thought of me as the quiet but nice girl that floats around somewhere in the back, not trying to rock the boat but still good for a borrowed pencil or a piece of paper. However, as I’ve grown older and faced new experiences and people, I’ve come to realize that I’m not just nice, oh no, I’m what they call empathetic. And let me tell you, it’s a curse. Yes, I’m better able to understand and sympathize with another person’s feelings and problems but when they hurt I hurt.
When I was younger, my best friend had confided in me that he was going through a particularly hard time, that he had even resorted to self harm and had begun to experience dark thoughts. I had no idea any of this had been going on because like most people suffering from depression, he wore a good mask and had been suffering in silence for quite some time. When he finally came to me with what he was feeling however, he was already starting to dig himself out but that didn’t make me feel any better. I felt like a bad friend for not noticing what he was going through sooner and soon began to question my own value. My young adolescence was not the best time for me or for anyone else that I knew actually.
On the flip side, my empathy has also allowed me to have an incredible relationship with my mom who I am not ashamed to say is one of my best friends (cue laughter). We kind of have the whole “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” dynamic going since she grounds me just as much as I ground her. That’s not to say that I don’t have any other friends, I mean of course I do, only losers are friends with their parents ha ha…ha.
Through many trials and errors, I’ve come to learn that even though my empathy makes me the person that I am, makes me a good wall to lean on, I had to learn to distance myself while at the same time saying, “I completely get where you’re coming from and I’m here for you”. Because that’s really all that matters, truly being there for those I care about and if I’m able to help them by perhaps shouldering some of their burdens, then I’m more than happy to do it time and time again.