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.