Hello dears,

Thanks for clicking and reading !! however this post will probz be slightly different to the usual codswallop i post on this thing so you might be disappointed, or maybe you'll be relieved because i won't be talking rubbish about nothing for once. anyone who knows me knows that i'm a true scholar at heart ( lol ) and a feminist so i thought i'd talk about an issue that has affected me and my friends over the past few years.

recently, I read this article entitled “Why Women aren’t Crazy”. The article is centred around ‘gaslighting’, which is a term taken from the 1944 film ‘Gaslight’. in this film, the spouse of the lead attempts to institutionalize his wife for being crazy in order to get his hands on her possessions. in a bid to convince everyone ( and most importantly herself ) that she’s crazy, he tinkers around with the gaslighting in their house making it flicker and falter. whenever his wife reacts to this, he maintains that she is seeing things. Ergo, she’s a crazy lady!!! and must be removed from society. thus, as the article puts it, “a gaslighter is someone who presents false information to alter the victim’s perception of him or herself.”

I read this article aloud to one of my closest friends who, in her last relationship, had been a victim of gaslighting - although of course she couldn’t see it at the time. This guy had basically convinced her that emotion, namely her emotion, and irrationality often go hand in hand. she was constantly being told that her feelings were an ‘overreaction’ and that she was ‘too sensitive’ or she ‘couldn’t take a joke’. this got so bad that she actually changed her contraception (on his recommendation obv) several times in an attempt to ‘stop the crazy’, which is shocking. what she couldn’t see was that emotions are emotions whether others deem them as irrational or not, and that surely a loved one should respect those emotions. anyway, I read her this article and sadly she nodded along to almost every word. “I genuinely thought I was crazy,” she said, “When you spend so much time with someone and you’re constantly being put down you really do start to believe it.”

I too have personal experience to back this up, but maybe in a slightly more innate way – which is worrying. I’ve never really been in a long term relationship before, yet I feel an inbuilt need to constantly apologise for my emotions. I do feel that this is partially to do with the kind of person I am – I’m quite a strong, ‘no holds barred’ person. I live to entertain people and make people laugh and I think, ludicrously, there is a part of me that wants to wall my emotions in and pretend they don’t exist. this undoubtedly builds and comes forth in uglier ways like obsessive thinking and even, in the past, bouts of depression. I have to say I’m getting better at expressing emotion, but I can still feel it niggling away at me sometimes – one of my good friends would often describe me as having an ‘emotional disability’. However I too can also trace this to a relationship/friendship whereby the person convinced me that my friends didn’t want to hear about my emotions or how I felt. i literally clammed up, in fact i can remember making the conscious decision 'right, i'm not going to say a word to anyone about anything then.' Of course, looking back, this was obviously a tactic which was put in place so that I didn’t go off and badmouth him and I’ve since spoken to my friends about it. surprise, they didn’t say anything of the sort. Although it has been resolved now, i somewhat still hold this view deep in my psyche that nobody wants to hear it. in fact, I’ve kept journals since I was pretty young in order to vent: in other words, I write as not to ‘bother’ anyone.

And you know what the sad thing is? I used to keep a very, very private diary throughout school i.e. I’d literally hide it in the most obscure places and... I still apologize in my writing for being emotional. I apologize to MYSELF.

“I know I’m being so over the top here”
“This sounds so petty”
“This is really self-indulgent”
“I really hate to whine but...”

I have diary entries from when I was 15, 16, 17 and even as recent as last week which start with “I KNOW this isn’t a big deal, but...” It’s like I feel guilty for expressing emotion and need to apologize even when I know I’m the only one who is reading and writing. That’s kind of fucked up. And I started to wonder why this is and that surely this sense of your emotions being redundant and stupid is much more ingrained into our way of thinking than we think. Or maybe it’s just me.

ANYWAY I basically found these old diaries and it triggered these thoughts so I thought I’d publish them in a bid to be a bit more vocal and fearless about my own emotions. And I would like to encourage others, especially young women, to never ever apologise for feeling things and expressing those thoughts and feelings. You should know that if they love, respect and value you, they should equally love, respect and value what they deem as your ‘crazy’ emotions too.

ps i should also take this opportunity to say that i have a wonderful group of supportive friends around me and never for one second think that they are disinterested in me when i need advice - it's definitely more to do with my own experiences and my own inbuilt sense of self awareness - which is disturbing.