Too often I feel like I’m holding back the full extent of my feelings. I get misty-eyed in movies, watching baby product commercials, and when I see small furry animals. I can be shy, and I get my feelings hurt easily. I feel as though I’m constantly holding back a tide, just enough so I don’t look crazy or embarrass myself.
Being emotionally vulnerable and honest with people can be scary and I guard my heart. But I know I’ve missed opportunities to show people I care and to develop relationships because of this.
This concept of holding back or downplaying emotion would never occur to my sister Hayley. Happy, sad, afraid, frustrated, enraged, devastated, disappointed, enamored, proud, convicted, impressed, or full of joy — she doesn’t filter her emotions. You always get true blue, unadulterated Hayley. I feel so blessed that despite — and perhaps because of — her Autism, she expresses her love freely and without fear or hesitation. Her love is unconditional and without cynicism.
It is quite a thing to behold, the purity and sincerity in her voice when she tells you she loves you. I love that she strokes my hair or cheek when she tells me. I love that she wants to link arms when we are out walking. I love that every time we are together and a prayer is given, she rests her head on my shoulder. She gives compliments and means them. She is a constant reminder to me that it’s okay to feel deeply, and let it show.