“Aaron, you’re too much.”
I remember hearing those words, poured like a poison into my ears. They stung me in the kind of way that my soul felt like it had been exposed, vulnerable and trampled for being willing to show itself. Those words are the kind that make somebody shutter themselves in for the rest of their life, afraid to ever really be themselves again because they don’t know if they can take another blow.
The words we give to others is one of the greatest ways we can show love or inflict pain. “Sticks and stones” doesn’t really apply to reality. Rather, one can heal from a physical wound – yet carry words of hate for years after they’ve been dealt.
I grew up in a home where words were valued, as well as protected. “Shut up” wasn’t a phrase I was allowed to say in my home or at the church. Why? Because it implied that somebody wasn’t worth enough to speak, and conveyed the ultimate insult/dominance with just two small words. We weren’t allowed to say “butt” either, because it was ‘crass language’ according to my Mom.
Years later, I took a strong liking to profanity – like a lifetime vegetarian being dropped in the middle of a Dallas BBQ cook-off…
I first heard those words “too much” from an now ex-girlfriend of mine. In my 20’s, I didn’t quite know how to process these words, because I was still figuring out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. Did I get it wrong? Was I really ‘too much’ as a person? Is there something wrong with me?
The thoughts drove me mad, and spiraled me into a dark pit of insecurity, anxiety and depression. I nearly took my own life one morning, and have been on a profound journey of healing, self-discovery and acceptance since that dark day.
As an artist, I’ve found healing through creating abstract pieces of art. It’s as if every stroke I create helps combat the feeling of being ‘too much’ when I lay it on the canvas – either digital or acrylic.
“That’s not too much – it’s more than enough” I often think as I watch a piece come alive. That revelation always works its way back into my own heart and perspective of myself, as I continue to accept myself the way I am, even if I’m not everybody’s cup of tea.
In a lot of ways, I am a lot to handle for some people. I wake up in the mornings with a smile on my face, no matter the hour. I find joy and curiosity in random facts, experiences and topics. I still insist on taking a stroll through the toy store during mall visits, for no reason other than my own curiosity. I find joy in knowing the little facts in life – like your gas indicator has an arrow on one side.
The list could go on, but I’ve come to realize that in some ways – I can be too much. And that’s perfectly ok. Not every painting is loved by everybody who sees it. However, to the one person that it resonates with, all of the strokes have their purpose and place on the canvas.