This year I’ve been coming to terms with being a sensitive person. I was always a sensitive person as a kid, as a teenager and as a young adult, but it was never something I was proud of about myself because I never heard anything good about it, I only heard “You’re too sensitive,” “Grow a thicker skin,” and “Don’t be so sensitive.”

Yeah, ok, well why don’t you try not being so tall. Or hairy. Or white. Or black. Or being so pear-shaped, or having such a big nose, or having dimples or tiny teeth. Those are all things I guess you could change by covering up or altering permanently, but it doesn’t change how you were originally built, it just covers it up. And in 30 years, I’ve covered up how sensitive I am at certain points, which just means that all the natural reactions to things that I would have publicly or out loud, I have internalized and held in so other people aren’t bothered by it.

I was talking to a friend today and noticed that we both are pretty ok with being completely ourselves despite other people pointing out to us how ‘different’ and ‘weird’ we are. And also that I have been retroactively rejecting things that people have told me about myself, or labeled me with, or convinced me that I am. I think I am different. But I think everyone is different. And a lot of people don’t accept that, they just try to make their different edges match up to everyone else’s so they can all blend in together and be ‘normal’ in their cookie-cutter existence. I do accept it. I feel like I have no choice but to be myself, and I don’t mind it at all. And I don’t think I have to do what everyone else does or wants me to do just so I can fit in with them.

That’s great if you think I am weird, but you can keep it to yourself. Because even if you told me, first of all, I’ve already heard it. Secondly, just because I am ok with doing exactly what I want to do does not make me weird, it means that I know who I am. And, when you try to tell someone else they are weird, you are also trying to convince yourself you are the normal one, and covering up that you are uncomfortable with other people’s capabilities of saying “Fuck that shit. I don’t need to do that just to appear ‘normal’ to you. I’m going to save time and just do the things that make me happy.” Why don’t you just join my train of thought and stop worrying about jumping through hoops to meet other peoples’ expectations? When you’re on your deathbed, who has to feel the pain of your regrets? Is it all the people who expected you to act a certain way or do certain things? Nope, it’s just you who gets the pleasure of that, you come in this world by yourself and you leave by yourself. You probably won’t feel proud of how normal you were and how well you fit in. But you probably will regret not doing that thing that you always wanted to do but never could because you were a full-time forever mommy/wife, or because none of your friends liked to do that kind of thing and you didn’t want to do it by yourself, or because you didn’t want your straight-laced relatives to judge you.

So anyways, my friend and I were talking about all of this and she says “It’s called Highly Sensitive Persons” and sends me this magical website: The Highly Sensitive Person. I took the Self-Test already knowing the results, and guess what! I’m a highly sensitive person! I checked all but 3 answers. Guess what else! I’m ok with it. Now that I have more perspective than I did when I was a little kid, teenager, young adult, I’m ok with all of this, and excited to learn more about it, and excited there’s nothing wrong with me and that I never had to blame myself for something so innate and so programmed into my existence. And also that so many other people are this way that it’s not even a disorder, it’s a trait. And finally, which I have been working out for a while now, that a lot of the nice things about me that make me who I am, can be attributed to me being a sensitive person. I don’t think that connection was ever made when I was younger.

It feels great to get to know who I am and to start working with it instead of against it. Back when I was “Too Sensitive,” I worked on repressing myself a lot, hiding my feelings, trying not to be vulnerable because I could be hurt, and pretending a lot of shit didn’t bother me when it really did. And then when a string of bad shit happened to people in my life (a bunch of people I knew died over a period of a few years), that method really stopped being effective, and all the built up stress, internalized stuff and grief gradually gave way to depression. Since then I’ve learned a lot about better ways to deal with feelings and emotions and reactions and stress. So I’m still sensitive, but I’m choosing what to be stressed about, and dealing with things more effectively so that I don’t just have to clamp my normal lid over a bunch of sensitive things to hide them from everyone. And it feels really nice to be done worrying about being labeled as weird or people judging me. And if you insist on doing those things: Talk to the butt ’cause the face don’t give a shit.

silverstein

 

These are some doodles I’ve done at work (during breaks of course). Most of them are from several years ago. After I had been at my current company for a while, my friend Tyler and I started doing post-it doodle exchanges. Most of the time we would come up with some kind of topic, and then we would both draw, and then exchange the results. Recently Tyler was cleaning his desk and came across some of my doodles so I borrowed them for a bit just so I could take pictures of them, because I really liked some of them, as silly as they may be.

doodle owl on a tree branch at night

An owl sitting on a branch at night. I used to draw this all the time when I was a little kid, an owl sitting on a branch of a tree that had a hole in the trunk with a creature peeking out of it.

doodle crocpenguin, a penguin riding a crocodile, preferably into battle with a common enemy

A penguin riding a crocodile, preferably into battle with a common enemy.

doodle stacheman, a man made almost entirely of mustache finds some books growing on a stalk, hipster stuff

A man mad almost entirely of mustache, who finds some books to read growing out of a stalk. Undoubtedly he is a god among hipsters.

doodle phillip & ferguson siamese dog twins which one is which

Phillip & Ferguson, the lovable siamese dog twins. I picture them as yellow labs, which is nice because the drawing is on a yellow post-it. They are generally very good-natured.

doodle angry bee denim a bee wearing pants

Angry Bee Denim was founded by an actual angry bee. It’s a brand for the “angsty cool kids” because he is angry he had to stuff his stinger in some pants, but nobody made him. He rages against himself unknowingly while blaming the system.

doodle bitch mower industrial farm like equipment for turning bitches into smaller pieces

The bitch-mower is an industrial farm-like piece of equipment for turning bitches into smaller pieces. I don’t really believe in using the word ‘bitch’ anymore in reference to women because it doesn’t benefit us. But I still think this doodle is funny.

doodle my friend tyler as a bird, bird body with a guy head, in old mill bend oregon

My friend Tyler as a bird, a bird body with a guy head, in Old Mill Bend, Oregon. If you know him you know this hair is legit.

doodle dusty rodriguez a bowlegged sharpshooter from the wild west

Dusty Rodriguez is a bowlegged Mexican-American sharpshooter from the wild west era.

doodle grizzly adams did have a beard

Grizzly Adams did have a beard. And maybe he also did look like a dark-haired Kenny Rogers.

doodle dont worry about stupid shit from stupid shitheads

These ones are more recent. I’ve been dealing with depression this past year and recently started getting my energy back due to a change in regimen. Which was awesome, except I was having a hard time channeling my energy productively, and I was getting angry at a lot of stuff & people, all things I couldn’t control. I asked my friend for some advice and then I made a tiny little paper reminder out of it which was helpful. Time also helped.

doodle on the books

My coworkers and I were in a phone-meeting with one of our industry partners reps, and he kept talking about getting something “on the books”. It was distracting.

doodle things to be thankful for, puppy, tacos lunch, energy

This was the same or similar type of day day as the doodle about channelling my energy & not worrying about other people’s shit. Things to be thankful for. My dog, she always makes me smile. Lunch. Some people don’t have lunch. Energy! I lost it, and now I have it again.