Friday, November 26, 2021

Microstory 1765: Easel

I’ve never been good with emotion. I have them, sure, but they don’t ever move far from the middle. When someone does something that I don’t like, I get upset, but I don’t get mad. As the date of an event that I’m interested in attending approaches, I feel enthusiastic, but not excited. I never lash out, or cry, or squee, or anything like that. I don’t have a problem with other people doing all such things; their emotional reactions don’t annoy me, but I bother them with my lack thereof. My first girlfriend deliberately let herself get caught cheating on me with another guy. I wasn’t happy that she did it, but I easily let it go, and didn’t break up with her. Of course, she broke up with me, because I wasn’t passionate enough, and that’s when I realized that I needed to find someone who didn’t need too much attention. I was never able to, and I eventually decided that it wasn’t fair for me to lead my partners on, and make them feel like there was hope for the two of us. It’s mostly been fine, but unfortunately, it became a problem when my last ex-girlfriend reached out, and revealed that I had a nine-year-old daughter. She was with another man shortly after we were together, and the two of them had always assumed that he was the father. The girl even looked a little like him, so it didn’t occur to them to get a DNA test. They only did it recently when there was a medical issue that required some background information that didn’t match up right. So it was no one’s fault, and the mother felt comfortable breaking the news to me, because she knew that I would not take it poorly. The problem was I couldn’t ignore this new child, but I also couldn’t be a good father to her either. More than math and language skills, kids learn emotional intelligence from their caregivers. Even I know that. I decided to seek professional help. It went a little too well. It would even say it broke me.

I tried a few therapists, each one of them deciding that I needed to be referred to someone else. Again, it wasn’t anybody’s fault, but they had to dig a little deeper to find out what my problem was, and the next layer always fell beyond their expertise. I ended up with a world-renowned hypnotist, known for managing to get through even the most steadfast of skeptics. As far as the technique went in general, I wasn’t a skeptic, but hypnotism often involves latching onto some kind of emotional trigger, and as you know by now, there’s not much of that there with me. At least, I didn’t think that there was. It’s like there was a switch in my brain that accidentally got turned off when I was young, and never got turned back on. I saw a TV show about that once—three of them, actually—where it makes vampires worse than they usually are. I didn’t go on a killing spree, but I did go a bit crazy. I destroyed my hypnotist’s office. All of my emotions from the last 29 years of my life came flooding into my mind all at once. Everything I might have felt got locked away without me even realizing it, and now they were unleashed. After the initial shock wore off, and I paid for the damages, the hypnotist referred me to yet another psychologist, who could help me deal with my newfound feelings. She suggested I channel them into art, even though I’ve never been much into it, because I wasn’t capable of seeing the beauty. As it turns out, I’m not half-bad as a painter. I put everything I’m feeling onto the canvas, but it’s not about the fabric, the paint, or even the images. What I’m doing is unloading my burdens onto the ease my pain. It’s been working well, and I think I have a decent relationship with my daughter now.

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