Thinking Out Loud: I Am An “Emotional Top”

“You are SO a top.  Well at least when it comes to emotions.” 

 That sentence was spoken to me by one of my dear friends a few weeks ago when we were discussing relationships.  I was explaining that with my friends and family, I think I tend to be really aggressive with my expectations with them and in turn it stops all of us from forming tighter bonds.  His response that was an “emotional top” was a play on words regarding what many assume to be my sexual position within my relationship. 

 To those of you unfamiliar with the lingo, within the gay community, we like labels.  On our clothes, on our vodka and on ourselves.  It’s one of the things that tends to annoy me about the gay community in general is this superficial concept that we are all one inclusive family bonded by our sexual preference.  The reality is that just like any community, we are divided, not only by outsiders, but by our own kind.  So when my friend said I was a “top” he was referring to the notion of top versus bottom where the top is aggressive and the bottom is passive.  These terms are traditionally used in relating what sexual position a guy prefers in bed.

While a bit clumsy, his phrase me stop and think.  Am I overly aggressive with my emotions?  Do I tend to push what I feel on others?  Am I that person who brings down a whole party?  Am I Debbie Downer?  As we continued to talk, I had this uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach that he may have been onto something.  What’s worse is that I could  count two episodes within the last week when my emotional state changed the moods of others.  Holy sh*tballs, I think I may be the equivalent of an emotional gernade….just blasting folks into a funk when I walk into the room.

So the remainder of the evening, I sat silently in my bedroom aimlessly flipping through magazines and wondering if my lack of deep friendships over the last few years was due to this tendency.  I went to bed with a heavy heart and a throbbing headache.

Yet, a good night’s sleep can do wonders.  I woke up the next morning and sat in bed dwelling on how bad of a person I was/am and now I was destined to be alone for the rest of my life.  With my over active imagination, I envisioned myself a bitter old man confined to a wheelchair.  Each morning I would dress in the finest clothing for a man of my age, simply waiting to be visited.  But no one came…ever.  I was alone in a world of my own making.  Kinda dramatic huh?  (This also explains why I have a knack for improv and once had an interview at Hallmark to write greeting cards).

But then my partner rolled over and said “good morning” and smiled.  It was a sweet smile that made me smile back.  And it made me think….hey if I can make him smile, I am sure I have made other people smile.  Hell, I make people laugh all the time.  People call me the attractive Dave Chappelle for a reason.  I am funny, witty and at times the life of the party.  I am the Mary freakin’ Tyler Moore of my generation….I can turn the world on with my smile (insert  cliched beret toss)!

I don't really wear berets but it seemed appropriate

Photo credit:

So yes, I am an emotional top.  I do affect people with my emotions.  I am bossy.  I can be pushy.  I have more personality than most people have within their whole personal circles.  My personality is big.  Huge.  Mega super duper bongo massive.  But it’s who I am and it’s why I am loved (or liked depending on the person) by my friends and family.  One one hand, my “emotional topness” makes me a leader. I can motivate, mold and vitalize people.   It’s one of the reasons why people call me with their issues, cause they know  I can empathize with them.  They know I can feel and I don’t put up walls. 

 However, I am realizing that the same can happen in reverse.  My bad days can be magnified and projected onto others.   A bad day for me can bring a room to a stop.  I am grumpy.  I am mean.  I can be a mega super duper b*tch.  It’s a double edge sword with my “emotional topitude”  (I so am making up words now). 

I called the same friend back and told him of my epiphany.  Of course he didn’t realize his toss away phrase would lead me on a two-day emotional journey.  He said that I have always been bold in my choices, in my actions and in my life.  Emotions are your “super power” he said.  “You need to use them with caution and tact.”  It’s strange that he would connect my emotions with power cause I don’t see them in that way.  Power is not something I ever thought I had or wielded.  Power evokes ideas of strategy and training.   I think my emotions are my strength.  For many, I think they see the two as tied together.  Yet, I believe that power and strength are two different things.  While I may not be powerful, I am strong.  Strength is natural.  Power is not.  Strength is something the outcome of a natural action.  Power is the outcome of calculation. 

In the end, my emotions make me strong.  There is a reason why passion fuels so many different things for so many different people.  It’s one of the reasons that in less than a month, I will be embarking on a new career.


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