I’ve never found a historical figure more like myself than Alexander Hamilton. What I lack in his obsessive stamina I match in my overt too much-ness. See, Hamilton came to America with a dream and he worked hard to achieve it. Along the way, he overwhelmed people with words and honesty and was constantly fighting uphill battles to make his new nation great. His words, especially when written, were his tools.
He made mistakes and sometimes his honesty got him into trouble. That didn’t stop him from continually working and publishing. Ask anyone around him and they’d probably tell you he was a little too much. Except etiquette was the obsession back then so there would some gentlemanly way to express it, like ‘Hamilton always has ideas and suggestions for every situation, even when not directly involved.’
Like Hamilton, I’m too much.
I have strong opinions about everything. Today I started a tirade against autographs and why they’re pointless. I can feel when one starts rising within me. An unknowing victim cordially chats with me about any random subject and suddenly I’m triggered. My demeanor changes and my voice becomes strangely forceful and somehow I get a little louder. It’s never against them or what they think because fortunately my manners work occasionally. I only care about nonsense, like the travesty of wearing jeans to the theater and why ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ is a really demeaning song.
At least in a professional setting, they’re supported by my experience and knowledge. Still it happens. We’re discussing something related to branding or marketing and then the strong opinion starts building. Usually it’s useful and drives my work ethic, but sometimes it just means I talk a lot during a meeting.
I’ve often claimed to be a very dichotomous person. I am either in full makeup or I look like I just rolled out of bed. I will work hard nonstop or I will spend hours on my couch rewatching The Office. I either don’t care at all or I care so much everyone else begins to hate me.
I’m really familiar with that last one.
One of the hallmarks of my personality is my intensity. I have zero bedside manner and tend to sound like a jerk when in reality I just don’t know how to tone myself down. I want to help where I can and often I go into overdrive and people no longer want to work with me. In college, I started wearing bows every day to appear less harsh, but it probably just made me look crazier.
People probably wish I would remain lethargic so the passionate beast wouldn’t be unleashed to annoy everyone. I just don’t know how to care less.
I want things to be the best that they can be, and sure you can argue that it’s just my perception of ‘best,’ but whatever. When I dedicate myself to a project, I want everyone to feel as strongly as I do. This is why working at Girl Scouts is such a good fit for me – everyone care a lot, just like me.
I’ve never understood why people don’t care or try. They don’t implement new rules or pay attention when something is being changed. They just keep going with how they’ve always done things because to them, it doesn’t matter. I DON’T GET IT. Whatever.
After more than 28 years of being this way, because yes I’m sure even as a baby I was like this, I’ve learned a few tricks. Primarily it’s keep the raging beast within. Get to know people and let them think you’re quiet and then SHABAM douse them in insanity when you can trust them.
Jk. Kind of.
It’s not that I pretend to be someone I’m not, it’s just I hold a lot of opinions to myself and just kind of nod along. When I used to meet people, they either liked me or they didn’t. Now I’ve mastered to art of tricking them into thinking I’m likable. Once a real relationship is established, I’m fully Chelsea, lock and loaded with opinions I will most definitely express. So if you know me IRL and I’m a spaz around you, take it as a compliment.
Recently, though, I’ve moved back toward my roots of ‘this is me’ (sung to the tune of The Greatest Showman classic). I don’t want my behavior to act as an apology for who I am so I don’t accidentally annoy someone. Yes I know I can be more tactful and quiet, but in general I like who I am. I like that I care so deeply about everything. I like that I’m intense. I understand that not everyone will jive with by vibe and that’s a-okay. God made me to be this passionate so why would I dare deny Him the joy of seeing me express it?
Right now it’s got me in a tough situation. I’m in a new place with new people and we hardly know each other, but I’m in full-Hamilton mode. Like dropping a pamphlet denouncing John Adams deep. I feel like I’m in this place for a reason, with the right experience and skills to make a difference. The more I push, the more I feel I’m the only one. Except now instead of worrying that they won’t like me, I’m wondering if this is worth my time.
I don’t say that to be uppity like my time is so precious (see previous comment about rewatching The Office). Moving against the popular current alone is exhausting and frustrating and frankly, it makes everyone hate me. Contrary to what my personality may say, I don’t want to be disliked. Sometimes it’s uncontrollable, but sometimes it’s the result of me trying to make waves nobody asked for.
The remedy for this situation is a polite confrontation where everything is laid on a table and a decision is made. But conflict isn’t my forte. I’m the girl who will ignore our texts if we’re fighting because I don’t want to deal with it. Being an adult is hard.
Tonight an email became the straw that broke the horse’s back. Is that the right phrase? Either way, something finally snapped within me and I realized I can’t avoid this conversation any longer. I won’t make myself less or belittle my intensity, but I will respect the outcome.
It just means I might have time to obsess and lose my mind over something else. Most likely The Office.