“Some men say that I’m intense or I’m insane” – Angelica Schuyler, Hamilton The Musical
When I first heard the line above sung I screamed out YES! because it fit my life so perfectly. I have always been that woman. I have always felt like I am too much and
yet, not enough.
We know her, the woman that and her 1,001 labels – too loud, too big hair, too loud laugh, too sexual, too dark, too light, too skinny, too fat, too confident, too breaking of the rules, too much going on, too outspoken, too woke, too intimidating, too emotional, too analytical, too unapologetically black, too smart, too strong, too extra, too messy, too difficult, too many questions, too weird, too eccentric, too different, too bold. Just too freaking much.
I know her well. I see her in women I admire, women I love, women who inspire me.
But few understand her, them – me.
The world never sees our struggles, our worries, our balancing act on the tip of a pin to figure out is this suit navy blue enough and are my pearls conservative enough (because they aren’t quite the classic kind) to fit in so our corporate actions are judged on merits and not on people staring at our wild, curly hair? Just how often and how much do we speak up in that meeting before we are labeled too bitchy, too bossy and too aggressive?
We walk with the purest of intentions because we seek to always be our authentic selves. Yet we constantly question if we are good people, if there is a place for us in the world. We spend our nights racking ourselves remembering everybody we ever hurt and did we ever make amends for making you accidentally fall off the jungle gym when we laughed too hard in the 3rd grade.
We support you. Lift you up on wings patched with duct tape. Listen to you in the middle of the night on late night conversations our eyes wet with tears from trying to hold in our own fears. Fund you with our last $23.84. Believe in you with such a fever it can be classified as a new religion, but it’s so rare for people to ask us simply “How are you doing?”
We wonder did we apologize enough? Apologize for asking too many questions, or seeing through you too quickly exposing feelings you thought nobody could see. Apologize for the feelings, through no fault of our own, we elicited in you.
We are labeled too much, while we worry we are not enough. We concern ourselves with thinking we are not reaching out enough, not being supportive enough, not making enough progress, not upholding our own standards we set in our mind. We worry that we are overshadowing the people we care about in life and that they do not have the space to be their full, complete awesomefantabulous selves.
We berate ourselves when make a mistake because it’s magnified with “I told you so” and “I always thought she was fake anyway.” Our humanity, always prone to error as much as anyone else, is taken as proof and an Icarus warning to other woman who dare soar above their station.
We try to find partners in life. Dating is a challenge because we’re too busy overthinking about when do we show our full self to our partner? Will you run away screaming into the arms of someone who is softer, not realizing that we are more gentle than the breeze through a field? Will you leave us to look for a woman who doesn’t elicit such deep, strong feelings? Someone who doesn’t frustrate you because we asked too many questions making you face dragons you never wanted to even though we are there with your sword and shield.
We see those of us blessed enough to find a partner and we know her partner realizes the secret that we women who are too much are the real ride or die chicks. We will lift you to heights you’ve never imagined with our unwavering belief in you knowing that your belief in letting us be free will always result in someone who supports you. Those that chose us know that we will communicate too much, ask too much, but also let you see inside of us knowing that you are getting our full complete selves and never a representative.
So what do we do, we women who are too much?
I am too much me to know that I will never stop wondering if I am too many labels. But I know that I can never stop being who I am. I will keep moving in joy. I will keep searching for my kindred spirits and ask her – How are you sister? I will listen to her fears, anxieties. I will help her find her quiet contentment when she needs that too.
So thank you Angelica. Because we can’t be anything but intense and probably a little insane to keep living this life as too much.