I was always somebody who cared too much. Ironically, caring about what others thought about me was a more recent thing. Typically, I cared too much for others and for organizations I was a part of. There was just something about another person entrusting something to you, carrying that sort of legacy, that really spoke to me. It made me feel like I was a part of something bigger. That is why I really cared about the causes I was a part of, or the people who gave me their time of day. I felt empowered, knowing that others relied on me.
But there is a such thing as being too caring. That’s what I realized when I became a mentor/older sibling figure to several through one of my clubs. I had to look after not even just a family of younger sibling figures, but basically two families’ worth of siblings; thirteen people to be exact. It got to the point where I would lose sleep over being that concerned over all of their wellbeing, their future plans, their lives. It was all-consuming, stressful, and when I felt like none of them even reciprocated that sense of care, it just felt hurtful and depreciating. I let their treatment of me affect me that much. For me, it was excruciating to care for that many people. But when my attention and care is being distributed amongst thirteen people, it gets diffused, diluted, to them, it probably did not seem like I cared that much.
I still don’t understand why I cared so much. Some people seem to know how to not care a lot easier than me. My guilty conscience, it’s probably my biggest weakness. I feel bad knowing that I let others down. It’s like there’s a voice, nagging at me, telling me I could have done more, I could have done better. I guess it stems back to elementary school, when I was frustrated with my fourth grade teacher. To put it bluntly, she was a creativity-smiting, fun-hating, heartless bitch. And in response, I basically went on strike and refused to do almost any of the assignments or tests. And naturally, my grades reflected in that, and my mother would cry hysterically, thinking that I was going to be a failure. So I begrudgingly tried, even though I knew that my doing well in school would reflect well on that oppressor as a teacher.
When it comes to things I love, I care. When it comes to things that pertain to people I resent, I will refuse to try, unless that person can hold something hostage that I do care about; in the fourth grade teacher case, it was my mother emotionally, as that teacher controlled my grades, which in turn, controlled my mother’s emotional security. I guess learning to not care will be a process in itself. Un-investing myself in friendships that aren’t worth it, causes that waste my time, it will be something that I understand the need for, but still need to work on in the future. I need to know when to and not to care, regardless of what is emotionally charging me. Only then can I live a feather-light life.