We’ve all been tricked into a game of “who can care the least” - but I am proud of being “too much”.
It is safe to say that, both socially and romantically, I have never had an easy ride. As a newly diagnosed autistic woman, there are two words that have followed me around and haunted me throughout my entire life:
I am always the one that cares more, I am always the one that is “too intense” and I am always the one that winds up getting hurt. I wear my heart on my sleeve, I would do anything for the people that I love and I will always pour and pour and pour into the people around me.
Until recently, this has always been something that I have felt deeply ashamed of. It seems as though we, as a generation, have been tricked into a game of “who can care the least” - and I have never been the one to come out on top. Recently, though, mostly thanks to finally getting an answer as to why I cared so deeply in the form of an autism diagnosis, being “too much” is something that I’ve come to reclaim - and actually even begin feel proud of.
I’ve come to realise that, in reality, there is nothing cool whatsoever about “playing it cool”. “Playing it cool” is essentially a synonym for “not caring”, and, to me, not caring is not an attractive trait. For starters, it is rude. But, perhaps more importantly, it is self-sabotaging. By not caring about the person that is sat in-front of you, or at the other end of a screen-based conversation, you are missing out on the sunshine that they bring to the world.
You are missing out on learning about the things that brighten their day, you are missing out on witnessing the way that their eyes light up when you ask them a question that they love to answer and you are missing out on forming a real life connection with a real life human - and God knows we could all do with a few more of those right now.
So, as of now, and with this article to hold me accountable, I vow to be proud of my too-much-ness. I vow to not only accept that I will probably care more, but to actively endeavour to do so. I vow to always show up as an unfiltered, real life human, and not to conform to society’s games of holding back, playing it cool, or waiting X amount of time before texting back.
Because in a world where nothing is guaranteed, and where, especially over the last couple of years, the days can be grey and the challenges can be many, why wouldn’t we want to take pride in our intensity? Why wouldn’t we want to show up as our whole selves, be loved as our whole selves and love those around us for their whole selves, too? Why wouldn’t we rather spend a first date discussing our biggest fears and our wildest goals, rather than making small talk about the weather or about what we got up to at work that week? Why wouldn’t we rather risk it all, put our feelings on the line and feel something rather than nothing? I certainly can not think of a reasonable answer to any of those questions.
And you, dear reader, I urge you to join me. I urge you to forget the status quo, to rip up the rule book and to just exist in your pure, human form. Text them back as quickly as you’d like to. Tell them that you care, and that you enjoy their company, and that you don’t want to imagine a world without them in it. Kiss them on the first date if you feel like it.
Because, after all, caring is one of our most basic instincts - and one that I believe we’d be silly to continue to ignore. It’s time to get out of the game of “who can care the least” - and be proud to be “too much”.