I recently have been studying the Enneagram model for human personality, a bit, with my Yoga teacher, she herself having trained in it.
I struggled with the analysis model in the past, as I claimed not to believe in what I considered boxing people in.
I did not wish to be pinpointed, or narrowly confined.
I now realize that my strong reaction was primarily due to my ego’s misinterpretation of the whole thing.
Eventually, I consented, and decided, that because none of the numbers truly fit me, I must then be a four. The artistic, intuitive, sensitive and moody type. The one governed by emotion.
It was the only piece that possibly made the slightest bit of sense.
Until I ran into conflict, fairly recently, and through my reaction to the drama, my teacher kindly opened my eyes to a new possibility.
Upon confrontation, my insides twisted and turned and became shaken to such a degree that I tossed through sleepless nights, and wanted desperately for it all to go away.
It is exactly these types of circumstances I work so dearly hard to avoid.
And as I mentioned this to the wise one, she calmly stated,“That isn’t how a four would react. You might be a nine.”
Nine is the starry-eyed peacemaker.
Often checked out of reality, we are the dreamers who idealize the world and our emotions to such a degree that we can lose all touch with reality and our sense of self in the process, not to mention the uncomfortable feelings that go along with human life. Including, among other emotions, anger.
It occurred to me, when she told me this, that maybe, in fact, she was right.
I embraced my nine-ness and began confronting the discomfort of the drama face forward, in remedy.
A few weeks into my newfound approach, I waffled a bit, losing my sense of self, yet again, this time in the story of myself as a creator.
You see, I am highly emotional, as well as an empath, and extremely sensitive. I feel everyone else’s emotions to such a degree that I have no choice but to take them all in.
Every child’s blinking, wide-eyed stare, and every stripped shoelace life slumped by the side of the street, pierces through my paper-thin skin to a heart that dances at the wonder and rends at the very sight of despair.
And the best way I have found, for processing all of this feeling, is through words.
Family members used to laugh at the intensity of the letters I would write, when I was a teenager going through all the aches and pains of growing up.
I would grow so heated and all the emotions would become so bottled up that the only way I could possibly begin to coherently organize my thoughts was through pen and paper.
Even today, I tell people I write because I cannot talk.
Spoken words stumble and trip on my tongue.
The thoughts, ideas, and feelings swirl from my heart, through my head, to an outpouring rush from my fingertip to pounded-upon key, and only then do I begin to feel even remotely okay.
I cannot achieve this same level of okay-ness, in any other way.
Yet, through my brief Enneagram study, I realized that writing is, by no means, the end-all, be-all for me. Writing is not where my true spiritual work lies.
Writing is merely a gateway, a door opening to the horizon of the desert of real growth, through which I must walk for centuries with parched lips croaking at the far-off dream of a droplet of water.
As I waffled between understanding my intuitive, artistic,deeply emotional side, the side that must write, must create, every single day, without negotiation, in order to feel alive, and my neurotic tendencies as a passive peacemaker merely floating by, it suddenly dawned on me.
It became evident, with a spring-into-cold-water awakening, that writing holds the potential to serve an incredibly passive aggressive form of communication, depending on what I then do with those words.
Hammering out my deepest feelings, only to free the thoughts and post them in threads of ether, is a significant form of cathartic release.
But it does not take the place of picking up the phone and reaching out to those who may have hurt me, or even worse, who I may have hurt, in whatever way, shape, or form, of the moment. Even those whom I hold most dear to my heart.
And why do I write about the generality of my feelings, skimming the bottom of the ocean for shells with closed-tight eyes lest I feel the stinging of the salt?
Why do I hold other people at arm’s length, keeping them just far enough from both the brightness of my heart’s beating pulse as well as the sharp flashes of true, human emotion I at times feel toward and around them?
Why do I numb myself from feeling the deepness and the fullness to the rawest degree?
I have no problem speaking my mind around those I know to be just passing through. The temporary coworkers, transitory housemates, and people I meet on various travels.
And in the process, I have been able to foster real connection with so many strangers. Yet with my own family and friends, I am afraid. I hold back.
Because what if they don’t feel the same way? What if they do not love me as much as I love them? That could very well be the case.
In fact, who could possibly hold this much love for itty-bitty old me (as I hold my arms wider still than the span of Earth, moon, and sun combined).
When your love touches mountains, it can never be reached. And so I guess this raises my deepest, darkest fear. Of only ever being able to love on human terms, under human conditions, and in the very limitations of our earthly ways.
I once saw my life flash before my eyes.
I have been waiting for the right moment to write these words aloud (Lord knows, I’ve written them thousands of times, before, in the privacy of my journal’s safe leather binds, as well as in notes for my therapists’ ears alone).
But now feels as good a time as ever to get this off my chest. At the risk of sounding starkingly mad, I was attacked once, and in the moment, I knew I was about to die.
My attacker, as he tazed me with a stun gun shot to the neck, also had a knife, and I intuitively knew in an inexplicable way his every intention to stab me. Only then he didn’t.
And, clear as day, I felt a message from God (because God doesn’t always speak, so much, in the linearity of words or images.)
And the message filled me with a new kind of love, a feeling so full and pure that I knew I had experienced it before, possibly as a child, or perhaps in another life. As I was filled with this feeling, I knew it was not my time to go.
I was here for a mission, to feel this kind of love, again, here on Earth. As I received this divine message, my attacker stood, and walked away. Without reason, he let me go. He let me go, to run.
And so run I did.
I ran until I found the haven of my bed, in a city that would not feel safe for months to come.
I ran until I found a shell in which to hide myself away.
I ran, and I ran some more.
I ran until I found the familiar sensation of numbness I had discovered in recent years, as a soother to all the hurt.
I allowed being numb to swallow me whole.
For far too many years. Under far too many methods. Some physical, but many of which appeared as mental inflictions of an imagined sense of control.
Until I could no longer bear the shutting-down engine, sputtering in the wake of a smogged-out highway full of flat tires and pierced dreams.
I could no longer stand sleepwalking my way through life.
The re-awakening has been a slow, painful process, full of much, much feeling.
Crawling my way back to the light of day has, at times, left me battered and bruised, and feeling deathly alone.
But this aloneness, I am forever in the process of realizing, was always part of the delusion.
As was the idea that I would never be loved, just as I am, anger and all. As well as the idea that I, with all of my feelings, am too much for anybody else.
So, for all you other peacemakers, floating through life on idyllic daydreams so far, up, and away in an effort to keep your too-muchness at bay, please know, that I can feel the rays of your love, down here, from where I stand, as well as those of your anger.
I can reach to the very ends of your dreams, and I will not let go of what I find there, however slippery and gruesome the mess. I will not let go, just as so many, here, did not let go of me.
This article was published on Rebelle Society.