For most of my life, I lived with a fear of not being understood.
When people misunderstood me in some way — my intentions, my ideas, my motivations — I rushed to explain myself. The more I grew and changed, the more my ideas and thinking diverged from that of the mainstream culture around me, so the more I felt alienated. The more I felt misunderstood. And the more I felt a slight panic that I would be “in trouble.”
This took me a long time to figure out.
When I was a child, I constantly had to explain myself. My father could launch into one of his verbal assaults any time the mood struck him. If I said the most casual of things which he misunderstood — as “disrespectful” or wrong in some way — I could be under assault without warning. And once he started, he never backed down.
I learned to go to insane lengths to be clear to him, but I still worried about the inevitable misunderstanding — and I grew up to take that same fear of being misunderstood into all of my life.