INFPs and Work-Related Stress

infp girl.jpg

Well, I think—I think—I may just have perhaps over the last week induced a fever through work-related stress.

Yes. An actual fever. A low-grade one of 37.5°C (99.5 °F), to be exact.

I mean, I knew I was wildly stressed-out; after all, not only did the job  entail plenty of draining chit-chat in the form of customer service, but it was also quite physically strenuous, as I was on my feet all day, with only one break in-between, walking around the store. I knew, as the weeks passed, that my stress levels were building. That I was pushing myself too far. That dealing with people non-stop, day after day, would take its slow, but terrible toll, on me, especially wrangling with less-than-polite and sometimes downright sweetly-mean customers.

The signs of stress started off innocently enough. A painful pimple here and there, which I put a little cream on and hoped would go away. Some small, devilish canker sores on the inside of my mouth. Then things started to upgrade themselves, and I woke up one morning with a searing, throbbing pain on either side of the back of my mouth, and discovered my gums had swollen there, become red and painful and inflamed.

By the next sunrise, the fever came on, and I found myself bedridden and calling in sick for work, my body aching all over and a headache pounding at my temples like a hammer.

That was Wednesday. It’s Saturday now, and I have finally recovered enough to be able to sit at my laptop (after buying an extendable keyboard, since the letter “t” has stopped malfunctioning on the laptop’s keyboard) and write. I still feel pretty bad, to be honest—my gums are still swollen and painful enough for me to feel as though my body is quietly torturing me, and I still feel a little shivery—but the need to write came upon me like an insatiable urge, and I had to do it.

Look, let me just say it: INFPs are fragile creatures. What I just wrote about is a clear example of just how delicate people like us can be. And I’m not the only one. Lots of INFPs I’ve read about, or who have reached out to me through this blog, suffer from career dissatisfaction and unbearable, work-related stress because of our gentle personalities and fragile souls. That’s a fact.

We are not as strong as other people, not mentally or physically. And by physically, I mean our constitutions, our immune systems. We are soft, and sensitive. Stress can strike us down just as bad as any virus, and a spiteful word or look is enough to cut us to the bone, or make us feel physically sick. There’s simply no way of getting around it—trust me, I’ve tried.

Actually, you know what, I don’t think I’m making it clear just how fragile a lot of INFPs are. Sure, we have our books, our big, powerful imaginations, but all of that is spiritual, cerebral. Everything else that makes up a human being, in us, is soft and delicate beyond belief. Fear of the meaninglessness of life is enough to exhaust us. In case that still isn’t clear enough—if we just spend too much time thinking about life and death, we get tired. Our souls get tired. Our will to live, and be happy and animated, shrinks. As a highly sensitive person on top of that, places like brightly-lit shopping centres or loud and busy roads add extra stress, bombarding my senses until I want to just curl up under some blankets somewhere and hide, and lose myself in a daydream.

A quiet, simple and slow life is the healthiest life for us to lead. I, for one, when allowed to at my own pace, take everything simply, slowly and quietly. I do not type these words with the crazed fervor of someone struck by the creative muse—in fact, even when struck by the muse, which happens rarely, I still type at a relatively steady pace. When left to my own ends, I am the tortoise, plodding and slow, gentle and soft, in everything I do. Wolfing down food too fast makes me feel ill. Too much high-intensity cardio exercise contributes to stress build-up in my body (which is why I always jog for short intervals, never run at high-intensity for a long period of time). Sunlight after a bad or average night’s sleep is horrific, which is why I much prefer the night, and rainy or cloudy days. I don’t race through books. I read them slowly, savouring the words, sometimes re-reading sentences because they’re just so pretty. I am quite skinny, pale, and perpetually absent-minded.

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Whereas the modern workplace? Bright, artificial lights. Loud voices, raised in chatter and talk. Constant verbal communication, and, if you’re working in customer service like I am at the moment, never-ending false cheeriness. Physically strenuous marching up and down the store, to tackle customers, move from one display shelf to the next. Long hours spent standing on my feet at the cash register. No-one there understands me, so I have to employ my acting skills and pretend I am talkative and robust just like the other employees or run the risk of being told by my boss to “to put in more effort”. Really, if it wasn’t for the money, I would have tossed in the towel long ago. Probably my first week. But I gritted my teeth and stuck with it—I needed to help cover living expenses, and pay for upcoming nursing school fees—and sort of muddled through the whole thing in a kind of painful daze, and then everything just blew up and I found myself lying in bed, feeling like a corpse, and staring at the ceiling.

Am I going to go back to that job after I’m better? Yes. Probably. I don’t know. For a while, I was on government benefits, but that was a pittance, and getting the money involved applying for job after job, engaging in interview after interview, and it was simply not a good way to live for the long-term. I don’t think anyone would want to live on government benefits for an extended period of time. Not only is the money not enough to cover basic needs, not to even mention school fees or supplies, but you feel rotten while you’re on it, with the sense that the government is breathing down your back everyday, nudging you to be a good, hard-working citizen like everyone else, you lazy “dole bludger”. I want to contribute to society like everyone else.

It’s just difficult to find a proper job suitable for people like me, INFPs, that allows us to be both compensated for work and not severely taxed by the requirements of the position.

I am seriously re-thinking my long-term goal of becoming a mental health nurse. At the very least, if I do continue pursuing that path, I can only work part-time. After this job, at a busy pharmacy in a customer service role, I have become all too aware of my limits.

Which brings me to the question: what should I do with my life? How should I earn a living, when all I really like to do is daydream, write and read?

Obviously, being a professional writer comes to mind, but that’s out of the question for now—I’m still writing, but none of the books I’ve sent out have received any replies from publishers. As for this blog, well, while it has built itself up over the years, traffic isn’t high enough for me to warrant buying a domain name and getting any money from advertisements.

I did consider starting a Patreon for my blog, dreamerrambling.wordpress.com, so that people can choose to donate, if they want, for each blog post I put out, even if it’s just a dollar. To somehow try and become self-employed, through the expertise and knowledge I have accumulated over the years about the INFP personality, based on research, personal experience, writing on this blog, and talking to other INFPs. In my imagination, I fancy myself a kind of INFP guru, or fairy godmother, who whisks a magical wand and—writes about secrets inside the hearts of INFPs, the daydreams, the struggles and tears, the love and joy.

These are all possibilities, Tenuous ones, I must admit, because I don’t know if I have the readership to do such a thing, or if anyone would be interested at all in donating or supporting my blog posts. Or how exactly to go about offering services—maybe advice columns?—that would be enough to create my own business and become self-employed. Really, I have no experience in anything of the sort, and kind of find myself expecting it to fall over on its face if I try, like a puppy taking its first steps.

In the end, as with everything in life, and in the healthiest possible way for INFPs, I will take it slow, and steady. I will be quiet, and gentle about things, as I naturally am, and we will see what comes of it. I hope you are all in good health, and doing much better in your lives than I am.

—Dreamerrambling

A Tiny Call For Help

I know very well that I’m only one tiny organism out of billions, and that my life does not matter much in the long run, that nothing matters, really, seeing as the sun will one day expand in a red wash of fiery energy and engulf the earth and instantly vaporise every single living creature on it, but…

                   …I skipped school today.

So many thoughts are swirling in my head, a crowd of vultures pecking at my skull for attention. I’ll try and stand still and let them descend, one by one, until they pick me clean. I would like to be a skeleton.

My loathing for school has reached an all-time peak, to the point where it is making me physically ill to attend classes. One of the main reasons for this is the impersonal nature of the educational system, where you have all these students crammed into a small space, chattering and laughing and socialising, while I’m left dangling at the fringes, trying to suppress immense anxiety at my own awkwardness. Today, in class, I sat next to someone who I had interacted poorly with many times, and almost had a panic attack right there in class. I seem to have a lack of ability to tolerate people at all, especially in crowds, and feel so starved of solitude my soul is withered with the deprivation.

Motivation for my classes have plummeted. Even some of my favourite subjects, like English, hold little allure for me anymore; every single class is so regimented and dull, it’s more like a game of connect-the-dots than actual learning. Teachers talk to us and we parrot back whatever they say. Hundreds of students clip-clop down the corridors down like automatons, faces gleaming with fixed, metal smiles. The entire affair is an object of horror, like lying down in a casket crawling with cockroaches. I want to scream. Hard little bodies are tickling over my tongue and down my throat to skitter among my organs. I want to scream.

After one of my classes, during which the teacher publicly showcased by incompetency for not keeping up with the coursework, I walked slowly by myself into the bathroom, locked myself in a cubicle and cried until I felt like I’d squeezed all the juice possible from my face. It was very dramatic, and stupid, but I was in so much pain, over everything, that I simply had to release it, though silently, so no-one in the cubicle next to me could hear. Then I just picked up my bag and strolled out the school gates and caught the bus home, even though I still had two more classes until the end of the school day.

Just like that.

A sense of surreality now overlays everything. I’m so detached and dead inside, even reality has begun to thin, and what lays beyond I do not want to see.

Honestly, what I’m writing may sound lighthearted, but it’s not. I’m really struggling. I hate saying that, because I don’t matter, but I just have to write it out, if only for the sake of catharsis. I’m really depressed. Social isolation at school has only grown worse: it seems as if I can’t relate to the other students at all, like they’re these gleaming, shiny, highly-developed creatures while I still remain stunted and unseen and strange, an abnormality from the Old Age. I can’t stand the lot of them. Teachers used to tell me I’m talented (before I started getting serious about my writing dream), the school counselor told me it would be a shame for me to drop out when I was such a bright student, but how can I POSSIBLY be a halfway-smart human being if my grades are falling like shot birds and I can’t even manage basic social interaction with my peers without a panic attack?

That’s the worst thing: the attacks from the inside are far stronger than the external. My desired path in life is to drop out of school, get a part-time job and obsessively pursue writing in my free time. But the self-doubt is overwhelming, clawing up my throat like goblins, until I can’t swallow, I can’t breathe, I can’t think, I can only choke and choke and choke. If I can’t even talk to the kids at school, how on earth am I supposed to land a job anywhere? And what places hire a highschool dropout? But the biggest doubt of it all squats squarely on my chest like a bloated slug the size of a bed, slime dripping into my eyes and mouth and nose: I doubt my own abilities. I doubt them so much I can’t even see anything except the slug, taste anything except the slime. I live in the swamp, every minute of my life, trying to keep the marshland out of my lungs. To take a gamble on my own writing and creative talents when I’m sure I’m delusional and fooling myself, is terrifying. I can’t speak for the terror. Even now, every word I write is atrocious, so terrible, that it makes me cringe. You are an idiot, the voice screeches. You’ll never be a writer. You’ll die with your words unsung, your books still locked away in the library of your heart. Quit dreaming.

Unfortunately, writing is the only skill I have. Anything that requires the slightest social interaction is odious to me – I do have social anxiety – and I have trouble relating to others which I’m sure is some terrible, personality defect. But I must get a part-time job to help my mother somehow, who barely scrapes by as it is without a drop-out daughter. My existence will be a stain upon her heart, and I don’t think I could bear to live in this world anymore if I were not able to get a job, if I failed my mother, my mother, who has already gone through so much.

These words are disgusting smears of excrement on the page. I blame sleep deprivation, to preserve my waif-thin ego, as last night I was so caught up in the web of my thoughts, so feverish with anxiety, that I did not sleep the entire night. At this rate, I’m afraid of becoming a downright dysfunctional human being, one of those twitching, haggard, neurotic ladies who cart around plastic bags like old ghosts. I’ll end up homeless, trailing the streets with my ragged dress and broken dreams, too dirty and lowly to even gain admittance to a public library and enjoy the books I so love.

I just feel so wrong. So broken and wrong, so bad and stupid, so silly and pathetic, so hopeless and useless. And I don’t know what to do. I fear that if I wallow in the black sticky pool of my thoughts any longer, I’ll drown. Today, while on my way home, for the briefest of seconds, I contemplated just running out onto the road on the off-chance I car would hit me and end this suffering. I obviously didn’t, but I was frightened that I’d even considered it. It would have been so easy.

The world is so loud. The cars are so loud. Everyone talks so loud. Everyone is coarse and hard around the edges. My aura is starting to gutter like a candle flame in their presence – soon, it will wink out, I know it will, it’s just a matter of time. Existential depression lurks always in the corner of my mind, an elegant demon in a gray-suit and with eyes cold as the universe. Books hold no allure. I can’t write. I can’t write.

I don’t even know what I’m writing about anymore. Words that once seemed to me a ticket to bliss now hang like fleshy growths from my body, misshapen and bloated and veined. None of my stories work, and each time I try to begin a novel, it runs out of steam before it leaves the station, sputtering and disintegrating into a mass of rusty parts and wheels. What do I have? Nothing. Not even hope. I just don’t…know…anything.

Loving Yourself: Another Deeply Personal Post. Tread Carefully. Thank You.

Pain

Now and then, I get a brief spurt of high self-esteem.

It was during one of these waves that I wrote the post “Anthem For Misfits”. One person even commented to tell me how proud she was of me, and I felt proud of me, too.

And then…I fell. The next post I wrote was about how scared and insecure I am. These bursts of fervor come and go, and when I hit a low point, I go very, very low.

Overall, I am a very insecure person. Right now, I’m screaming at myself for writing so poorly while trying to convey my suffering. Right now, I’m berating myself for using the word “I” so many times, and using this blog as a personal dumping ground for my issues. I’m afraid to appear like I’m whining. I’m afraid people sneer at such self-preoccupation, because I know in the end we’re all inherently selfish, and it’s hard to bother about other people’s woes.

But tonight, I’m going to keep on writing. Because I know someone out there, in spite of the self-centered attitude of this post, in spite of the horrific writing (the words flow out without any filter, I don’t press the backspace button for these types of posts unless it’s to fix the spelling) will be able to relate.

I know some of you out there care about me, purely through the glimpses of my soul you have seen through my writing, and those of you astound me – truly, for someone who has struggled with low self-esteem all her life, and has felt unlovable for many years, I am gobsmacked by your care and kindness. I can’t even begin to convey my gratitude; I feel that if I tried, I’d just start crying, crying, the kind of crying that makes your heart squish and contract in pain.

Deep within me is a gaping maw of unworthiness. No matter how hard I try, deep down, I still feel very, very worthless as a human being. I feel inferior to everyone I meet. I criticize myself ruthlessly, a constant barrage of negative self-talk, and only now am I starting to realize the true extent of my own destructive thinking.

Honestly, I’m not sure where these feelings of unworthiness started. Perhaps it was in primary school, when I was bullied by a group of beautiful girls, who giggled and taunted me and made me feel low and small and ugly. I don’t think I’m ugly anymore. I know I’m not ugly. In fact, I’ve grown more beautiful as I’ve grown older. Facially, I can laugh and say I’m pretty, but deep down, a little gremlin sneers and says, in a gravelly voice, “Really? You, beautiful? Look at those other girls.”

It partially has to do with growing up Asian in Australia, as the ideal standard of beauty over here is a Caucasian woman, preferably with a tanned, sexy body, and blonde hair and blue eyes. I love my Asian heritage, and wouldn’t want to look any other way, but have to work extra hard to maintain my self-esteem when bombarded with images of white beauty by the media every single day. It’s one of the reasons I cut television out of my life altogether – the lack of diversity was starting to sicken me – and why I even change the lyrics of some of the songs I sing, such as describing “green eyes” as “dark eyes” instead, to be more racially inclusive.

Piled on top of this is my idealism, my introversion, my eccentricity, my desire to help and care and trust and love, love, love. Even I scoff at how sweet and sentimental I can be sometimes, pausing along my walk to smile at a pigeon pecking at the grown, or showering a surprised friend with excessive motivation and compliments and love, just to have someone to lavish the contents of my heart upon, when she simply remarked that she was “feeling blue”. I know I should love this part of me, this part of me that’s so nice, and so wants to be nice, but mostly I feel it’s taken for granted, and repulses people in its enthusiasm. Then, I just shrink into myself, and weep in my heart.

Oh, and for those of you who have asked to email me. I would love to, but if I accepted one, I’d have to accept every single one, if only to be fair, and I don’t think I’d be able to handle it. Nevertheless, what I’m typing right now in this post is exactly what I would write to you; though perhaps a little shorter, for fear of boring you.

You know. I know I say this a lot, but I so desperately want to LOVE. I want to love every creature under the sun. Kiss birds. Hug bullied children. Wipe tears from the faces of those who have lost their loved ones, commiserate in the shared experience of being human and feeling pain and being so fragile and yet so strong and yet so hurting. I want to know their sorrows and their woes.

It’s one of the reasons this blog has made me so happy – your loving comments, and the love I hopefully give you in return, has allowed me to expend some of my deep and untapped affection. I love you. We’re all human. We all harbor secret pains in our heart, and are lonely when we close our eyes to sleep at night. I love you, from the bottom of my heart. No matter what race, what gender, no matter how you look, how much money you earn, I don’t care! I love you. Look at you. You’re a living creature, and you’re marvelous.

Now why can’t I say that to myself?

Why can’t I be so loving and nice to myself? It’s as if all my love is fighting to be freed out into the world, while where it is truly needed is back at home. I need to start loving myself the way I love people from afar, and it’s so hard. It’s like walking in reverse: strange, alien, awkward. The boy I was talking about in my last post? I’m sure I’ve repulsed him with my coldness, and it eats away at me, because I want to get to know him so badly, but I can’t seem to take the first step, and I haven’t had the opportunity to in quite a while. However, the next time I see him alone, without a group of friends of judge me, I’m going to talk to him; even if I’m shaking in my boots, I’m going up to him and I’m facing my fears of rejection and repulsion and I’m going to talk to him.

In the end, in order to love myself, I have to face the battened down child within me who was bullied for a few days at school, many, many years ago. Bullying is always terrible, but for a quiet, sensitive, shy child as I was when I was six, seven, they might as well have stabbed me with knives and left me to bleed in a crimson pool. I can still remember their faces. Their eyes shiny with condescension. So much bigger and better than me. So much stronger, standing over me. I’m not going to cry, writing this. I promised myself I wouldn’t. Often, I just use tears to pity myself, and I’m not going to do that anymore; self-pity does nothing.

Action. I need to take action, and take control of my life.

I need to hug the sad child within myself and tell her she is worthy, that she is beautiful, that she deserves to have friends who understand, that she is a good, competent human being. That she deserves to be loved. My eyes misted then, but I didn’t cry. Kept my promise. I always do. I always try to keep my promises, and I try so hard, I try so hard at pleasing people. I try so hard I loathe myself for my own desperation. I can’t be secure and bold and confident and cocky – that simply isn’t in my nature.

I can only be quietly secure in myself, once I regain my self-esteem, and I know, I know I will. Once I stop cowing inside every time I smile at someone and they don’t smile in return, every time I greet someone and their eyes stay cold while their lips stretch, every time I walk towards a group of people and they turn their gaze and avoid me, once I can brush off slights, I know I’ll be okay. That I’m truly brave and strong. Not just a lost little girl deathly afraid of people disliking her.

And I’m going to talk to that boy.

He may not be my soul mate, he may be nothing, he may be a jerk, he may treat me with derision, he may be indifferent towards me while I’ve already built our wedding in my head, already pictured him picking out books for me at the bookshop and us making dinner together in our cozy little kitchen, but I don’t care. I’ll talk to him, and after that I’ll sigh and pat the head of the little girl inside me and say, “See? It wasn’t so bad. It’s just talking. They can’t hurt you. Only you can hurt you. Understand?”

Yes. I’m going to talk to him.

A Private Diary Entry: Bravery

scared

Dear Diary,

I am scared.

It’s strange, how shameful it is show your fear. You’re seen as feeble. Someone who revels in their own pain, and has the impoliteness to rip out their own intestines and show the pinkish-grey coils to others. No thank you. We don’t want that. I am scared, and I wish I knew why. I wish I could clinically extract my fear, distil it into a test tube, and then view it under a microscope to determine the best way to destroy it.

Do you ever find yourself curling your lip at your own behavior and thoughts? For a moment, you are disgusted and shamed by your own neurosis. All my life, I’ve been this tangled knot of fears and insecurities and anxieties. It’s pretty much like walking around as a human-shaped tangle of nerves. A network of live wires. I get thousands of shocks every single day, until I’m twitching and buzzing in pain. When you’re so…aware, so self-conscious, so sensitive, when loving yourself is harder than inching a nail through rock, everything hurts. It hurts so much. Honestly, it’s as if you don’t have a skin, that you’re just exposed to the world, slabs of red flesh lined with muscle laid bare for all to see and poke and prod at with surgical instruments. Lift up the gleaming organs. Stab the heart until it spurts and gushes a red fountain. It’s as if you’re entire soul is a festering canker sore. You’re a cat, festering with sores and itches and rashes, missing an eye, fur ripped out in places, crawling with fleas, and, most of all, mewling in pain, and yet they still beat you. Again and again and again.

I care too much about what people think. I’m terrified of being disliked. And this is at counter purposes with my desire to be individual. To be brave, and strong, and not care what people think. I fear everything under the sun. I fear the world. I fear it all, and it swallows me until I’m just a dark rush of shrinking. I try to be strong. We all try to be so strong, because we’re told that breaking under pain, curling up into a fetus to nuzzle at the imaginary flesh of our mother’s womb (Safe. Safe. Where has safety gone? I’ve lost it, long, long, long ago. I never feel safe. It’s all danger) is weak. Weakness is frowned down upon, in both men AND women. Strength and toughness are admired in our society, along with persistence and grit and being true to yourself. So, we are strong. We show ourselves to be strong. But being strong can sometimes be a cover-up. It doesn’t mean we aren’t hurting, hurting so much we’d rather fold ourselves into shadows and collapse into dust. I don’t know why I’m weeping a bit writing this. It’s just life. It’s all transient, and it all ends. That’s the thing about pain though – it always seems the most important thing in the world in the moment. Battling with anxiety, trying to handle social situations without looking like a fool, keeping your head up in a world that doesn’t understand you, feeling so wrong, so off, so defective, feeling so delicate and yet being told that we have to be TOUGH, tough and confident and assertive…it’s like being stabbed every day. Everyday. Wounds. Come home to lick the wounds.

I know I’m an overly neurotic, anxious, depressive, melancholy and obsessive person, but the knowledge of that does not make it any better. Only, it leads to self-hatred. Look at me. My insides are curdled with these thoughts. I feel lesser than others for being haunted by so many demons. Like I’m unhallowed. Add to this the desire for perfection in one’s art, and you’ve got an exhausting cocktail of angry shadows that seek to chew apart the deepest recesses of yourself. My writing has been taking a nosedive, along with my confidence, if it isn’t obvious already. My jewel, once so bright, and faceted, and tough, is being squashed like a mere grape. Squelch. I know it takes persistence. I know it takes hard work. I know I have to get used to misery, and create art despite the misery, even when it hurts. To run even when it hurts. Nevertheless, when you’re knee-deep in it, it’s hard. Especially when being bombarded by the talents of others. This envy is pointless and no-one cares about it, but I think that if anyone reads this diary entry, and feels the same way, and feels less alone for, then I will have accomplished my goal. I so want to love you. I so want to love everyone. I want to hug and love people. Why is that so hard? Believing in yourself is hard. Loving yourself is hard. Why is it the hardest to deal with ourselves? Why are we so often in conflict with ourselves? I wish we could separate the parts of ourselves into different people, and send them off to situations that require the specific functions. That way, I could send my confident and happy self into the world every day, rather than the hunched, scared self, wringing hands and giving weak smiles. It’s just life. We’re all going to die. But boy, must we suffer between the interval. There’s nothing I wish for more than to embrace other people who are suffering. When people suffer, and expose the rawness within themselves, a bottomless reservoir of affection within me rises up to the surface. I love the rawness. I love the pain in their eyes, not for some sadistic reason, but because it makes me feel close to them, makes me feel connected, as suffering humans.

I think I could only fall in love with someone who shows me their vulnerability, their suffering. There’s nothing I love more. As suffering organisms, all swimming in the same consciousness. If you’re suffering right now, I wish I could hug you. To wipe the tears from your eyes, and know, together, in our hearts, that this is all we have, this sun, this moon, these stars, this us. Just, to cry, and to know. I’m so idealistic when it comes to love I even laugh at myself, but it’s the bad kind of laugh, the kind of laugh you laugh to cover up the true pain underneath. I hate that about myself, you know? Independence is something I try to pride myself on. I use it to hold my head high and weather the batterings of life. I tell myself to be realistic. I tell myself not to hope for too much, for fear of getting disappointed.

Disappointment hurts more than any other emotion. It’s a grey wound, deep, and very, very quiet. When we’re sad, we cry, when we’re happy, we smile, when we’re angry, we shout and fume and seethe, but disappointment is silent. We just sit there, a little dumbfounded at the intensity of the pain, while the hurt nibbles at our soul like so many ethereal piranhas. We allow ourselves to be eaten, to be chewed, and do not run away, so stunned are we.

But, yes. Deep inside me, down where the glowing fishes and shipwrecks lie, there is a deep yearning larger and older than the universe for love. For true love. A grand, tired, sleeping fish, with sad eyes the size of countries filled with pale glitter. I tell myself it’s just a fantasy. I remind myself of my own parent’s divorce. I tell myself no-one can love me until I truly love myself. I tell myself love is transient. I tell myself there are more facets to love than that of the romantic. I tell myself I’m not worthy of love, that no-one could love anyone as messed up as me, as unwanted, as socially shunned, as misunderstood. Who wants a broken toy? No-one. I tell myself that I don’t need true love, that friendships and soulships and familial relationships are enough. I tell myself that a relationship won’t complete me, that life is dissatisfaction. That love can’t fill the gaps in my being. Nothing works. I’ve never even met true love, yet I yearn for it as deeply as mothers yearn for their lost children. The entire concept caters to my sensibilities so perfectly it makes me weep just to think of it. I yearn for it so hard it sometimes feel like my heart is ripping to shreds in the process. I yearn, oh!, how I yearn.

And how I loathe my own yearning. Sylvia Plath summed up my feelings perfectly in one of her quotes: “How we need another soul to cling to, another body to keep us warm. To rest and trust; to give your soul in confidence: I need this, I need someone to pour myself into.” The moment I saw this quote, grief stunned me in the chest, hard as a smote from a loved one. None of my family members understand the slightest bit of me. I want to be understood as much as I want to be a writer. I need to be understood as much as other people need to breathe. To grieve for something you have never known! To feel safe, secure, loved, understood by a single person. To be in someone’s arms, and to wake up in the morning to their soft comfort. To love. Love. Needless to say, if I ever loved, it would be with complete and utter devotion. If I ever loved, and were betrayed by that love, I would shrink from the world. There is no middle ground when it comes to emotions, when you’re an INFP and a HSP. It’s either splintering joy or crushing despair. I’m afraid of dying alone, and never being loved. I’m afraid I’ve idealised love too much. I’m afraid of loving too much. I’m afraid of losing the love I have not yet received. I’m afraid of pushing away love. Of being too socially awkward and in too much pain to open myself to love. I’m afraid of people being disgusted by me. I send the wrong messages. I do this stupid thing where I push people away, and act cold and aloof when what my heart really is screaming to do is to talk to them, get to know them. And this empty screaming inside me goes on and on. For instance, right now, dear diary, there is this one person I would really like to get to know. I keep bumping into him, and I’m afraid that he hates me for my coldness, my unresponsiveness. I would love to get to know him. I find him quite fascinating – incredibly logical, systematic, and grounded, yet kind and heartfelt, full of integrity and wisdom. I’m afraid of being too enthusiastic, and pushing him away. I’m afraid he won’t like me enough to let me talk to him.

I’ve kind of let the relationship (if it could be called that) devolve into mutual hostility from pretended apathy on my part, when all my heart wants to do is be amiable. This has been bothering me a good deal, and I’m afraid of not talking to him soon enough and thus giving my silly brain time to build him up in my mind, to fall in love with a fabrication of my own imagination. I’m afraid of falling in love with ghosts. I’m afraid of being seen as too obsessive or weird. I’m afraid of passing up an opportunity to get to know a good soul. Someone I can connect with. You can see that kind of stuff, in the eyes. The next time I bump into him, I’m going to try and strike up a conversation, and if it doesn’t work, if he brushes me off (a stab of rejection, deep into the sensitive flesh of my soul), then I’ll lift my head, put on a brave face while my heart cries, and move on. That’s what I always do.

Maybe if I yearn hard enough, I’ll disintegrate.

I’m going to write for a while, and then go to bed. I’m going to find solace through my distasteful words, and dream of better worlds. Of better “Me”s. Of true love. I’ll probably sniffle and a shed a few tears. And then I’ll wake up in the morning and scoff at this entry and scoff at myself and scoff at my words and toss my hair over my shoulder and go out into the world with a flat smile on my face.

I’m brave.

Love,

Anne

Anthem For Misfits

Anthem

I’ve suffered from an inferiority complex all my life.

No. It’s not just my own problem. It’s because of you.

You were so sure, so bold. So confident. You still are.

But the problem is, with that assurance came cruelty. Indifference. You batted me down, like an alleyway of cats swiping at a single desperate starling.

Your words were etched in stone. My own opinions, qualms and dislikes, even when I did voice them, evaporated like smoke. I was a ghost among the living, unheard, unnoticed, unheeded.

When you’re introverted, it’s hard not to be intimidated by extroverts of facile tongue.

When you’re sensitive, it’s hard not too feel weaker than your less soft counterparts.

When you’re a dreamer, it’s hard not to let the words of realists get to you.

Every word I hear in my day-to-day life is another nail hammered into the coffin.

You can’t be a writer. You don’t have any talent. Besides, it’s really hard, and takes a lot of time.

Thud. Thud.

You’re too sensitive. And optimistic. You need to start thinking realistically.

Thud.

Why are you so quiet?

Thud.

Only unintelligent students who will get nowhere in life skip school.

Thud.

You have to go to university to be successful. Otherwise, you’ll be a failure. Washed up.

Thud. Thud.

You must work at a job, even if you hate it. You must give up precious minutes of your life and stand at a desk shuffling papers and twittering on phones. This is the contribution of every good citizen.

Thud.

Follow our rules. When the bell rings, then you can go home. When the man turns green, you walk across the road. When everyone rushes in one direction, you better follow.

Thud.

You’re dead. You’re dead and buried, at least three feet down beneath the earth, and you can’t breathe. Thick earth clogs your throat. A thousand beetles scuttle industriously over your body. Rats chew out your eyes. You’re dead.

And how fantastically easy it is to live a life this way, with a tombstone weighing on your heart. There is nothing less stressful and more simpler than to coast along the path ordained for you, passed from hand to hand like a well-trained little puppy.

After all, that’s what they told us, and look at what tough, grand, glorious, knowledgeable people they are! Navigating through the perils of society like it’s only a little trip down to the corner store. Their words must be right. They understand the harsh realities of this world, and while they go out and succeed, sipping wine in their million dollar complexes, you’ll be a raggedy, homeless person by the curb with only the bitter dregs of broken dreams in your mouth.

No. I refuse to believe it. I refuse to believe what they say. I refuse to be buried. I refuse not to trust my own words, my own instincts, my own intuitions. I refuse to feel inferior every time you ignore me, talk to me, hate me, avoid me, look down on me. I refuse to see my strengths of sensitivity, creativity, quietness, insight, and understanding as weaknesses.

Enough.

I’d rather be a pigeon pecking at crumbs on the sidewalk than live on jeweled fruits in a gilded cage.

I’d rather be out in the open air, and see the sky, the clouds, the stars, than be buried in the most comfortable coffin.

Yes, I’m not like you.

I like to talk to flowers more than people. They can teach me more of life than you ever could.

I like my own company better than that of others. Our conversations will sparkle like stardust. You don’t like talking to me? You think I’m too strange and awkward and quiet? Good. Because I don’t like talking to you either. After conversing with you, the taste of lies and high-pitched laughter that lingers in my mouth reminds me of blood. My eyes are shiny and bright and blank as copper pennies after trying to light up for you. No more.

I like to be quiet, and I like silence. All the better to hear the mice chewing through your soul. Oh, did you know your face was cracking? Look, it’s splintering like plaster. Goodness, what squeaking. I wonder when they’ll burst your skin open and crawl down your chest in a tidal wave of furry grey bodies.

I like to daydream and imagine. It makes my existence happier. Sure, I might lose my keys. Misplace my money. Forgot phone calls. And maybe my imagination will not earn me a single dime – after all, like you said, I can’t become a writer, right? But don’t slap me across the face for it. Don’t rip my books out of my hands and slam my head into the jaws of a mechanical grinder. My brain works differently from yours, and, in the long run, you’ll lose more than me.

I’m soft. I’m sensitive. I’m a daydreamer. I’m quiet. I’m an introvert. I’m a misfit. I’m scatterbrained. I’m awkward. I’m solitary. I’m not like you.

But that does not make you better than me.

But we both have dreams, don’t we? Only, you sure like to crush mine, grinding your heels into my fingers until they break and bleed. You sure like to discount me. And I don’t need that. I have enough self-doubt as it is. I don’t need you to make me feel worse.

And your dreams of making big bucks and living the high life? They don’t touch upon the pulse of life. They are dead, shiny dreams, like slaughtered animals with hairy golden pelts.

We are different. I chase my dreams. You chase yours. Just don’t try to kill mine before they’ve grown their wings. Don’t try to put me down before I’ve even taken my first shaky step.

We’ll see who’s happier in the end.

To All The Sensitive Males Out There

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You are sensitive.

Never view that as an insult.

It’s not. The only reason you might see it as an insult is if you have swallowed the image of the ideal male that society has fed you.

I realize that it is harder for males to be sensitive in our society. We have these paradigms of masculinity which are enforced upon boys at a young age. And everywhere you go, these enforced stereotypes slam into your face, whether you are with your family, watching the news, hanging out with friends. They’re all the same. They’re all about being tough. Don’t cry. Be a man. Be strong. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t show your emotions. Be stolid, stoic, a warrior. Laugh. Have fun. Stop caring so much. Stop feeling so much. Sure, you can be upset now and then, but for heaven’s sake don’t be weepy.

That’s complete and utter bullshit.

Look. I know one little blog post isn’t enough to iron away all the ridges of social conditioning patterned on your psyche. You have probably hated yourself and been depressed because you don’t live up to societal standards of masculinity. I am a sensitive female and I have hated myself and been depressed because I don’t live up to societal standards of the ideal human: extroverted, happy and thick-skinned. And you having the whole masculinity thing thrown upon you as well  – that’s a lot for anybody to have on his plate.

But I’m going to try. Because I care about you. I know I’m just an anonymous human being on the internet but being the emotional and sensitive little soul I am, my heart breaks when I receive comments or see posts on the internet written by sensitive males lamenting their lot in life.  

The main thing I want to get into your head is this: to hell with what society dictates is masculine or feminine. I know that’s easier said than done, as most things in life are, but you’ve got to realize that those rules or regulations don’t apply to you. You are not just having a hard time following the rules. You are following the rules in the wrong game. Step out of the boxing ring. Dust your hands. Just, step away. Cut yourself off from these poisonous expectations. They are not for you. Doing so doesn’t make you less of, not a man, but a worthy human being.

Cut off the friends who don’t accept your sensitivity and who hoot or jeer when you are simply expressing who you are. You don’t need them. Every time a friend rejects you, whether for voicing a thought that is too sensitive or doing something that isn’t ‘masculine’, they are drilling into your head that who are you are is not good enough. That is a disgusting way to treat another human being. You are good enough, in more ways than you can imagine.

Cutting off family members is harder. You mostly likely have a not-so-sensitive family member who wants you to toughen up and ‘be a man’. Gosh, just writing that odious phrase makes the bile rise in my throat. That is wrong. Realise this. They are not right for trying to mold you into what they think being a male member of our species should be. But don’t judge them. They have swallowed and digested society’s paradigms, especially if they have been around on Earth longer than you. So here’s what you do. Whatever they say to you, don’t take any notice of it. Don’t internalize it. Don’t hate yourself. Don’t feel like you are inadequate or not living up to expectations. Don’t feel like you are weak or useless, because you are not. Try to ask them to stop but if they continue with their behavior, just let the words wash off of you. Imagine the words are droplets of water and you are wearing an emotional macintosh. They can’t affect you. You have to accept yourself, which I am going to talk about further on, but just don’t take in the words. Zone out. Play along, act, pretend. Sometimes, you have to give people what they want for a little while to make them leave you alone and let you live your life freely. Next, and this is very important, find a haven/s – your bedroom, your garden, a group of caring friends, other sensitive males and females. Let the expression of your soul flourish in these havens. This is where you will grow. Society will try to stunt you with its pesticides, thinking you are a weed, but you will find your own corner of soil and flourish into a thing of beauty.

Yes, that’s right, beauty. Because being a sensitive male is not a curse. It is a gift. Clichéd as hell, but it’s true. Sure, you may not be able to reel in the ladies at the bar as well as the other boisterous lads, but those females who are attracted to those kinds of males are probably not going to be compatible with you. Do you realize how many sensitive females there are out there who are just wishing their paths will one day cross with a sensitive male like you? Trust me. I am a sensitive female. I know.

There is a special spark inside of you. You know it. You are know you are unique. You know you are different. You know you experience life more fully, see the world more vividly, feel the ups and downs more strongly.

If you accept and love your sensitivity, if you disregard the voices that try to put you down and stroll down your own path being your own self, you will live and experience life with a exalted jubilance that so many people in life never achieve. You will attain this joy because of your sensitivity. You have already experienced snippets of this joy. Staring at the beauty of a flower and feeling your heart ache with the wonder and magnificence of it. Creating a piece of art which makes you feel like you are riding a chariot flanked by seraphs into the heavens. Sure, you might feel the pain and disappointments more keenly. But, if you truly think about it, would you give up those shining moments of joy in return for less sorrow? Even in sadness, even in grief, even in suffering, there is beauty, because to feel, to experience, makes you feel alive, as if the universe were expressing itself through your body in surge of cosmic power.

Now, how do you accept yourself, you may ask?

Because none of the above things will work if you don’t accept your own sensitivity.

What I am about to write is something you HAVE to understand. Sear it into your mind. Stick it somewhere in your room where you can see it everyday and remind yourself.

It is this.

Gender may be fixed but the expressions of our gender are fluid. A woman can be stoic and strong. A man can be sensitive and nurturing. Or it can be the other way around. Your behavior, your interests, your desires, are not dictated by the gender you were dished out with at birth. Your gender has no bearing on who you are or should be.

We are all human beings. And human beings cry. You are allowed to cry. Human beings feel and show pain. You are allowed to show and feel pain. Being sensitive isn’t a weakness.  Being sensitive just means you are a human being, a living, breathing, intelligent and conscious creature, who just so happens to have a more sensitive nervous system and psyche than other people. These views of society’s which have poisoned your views of yourself are constructs. They are built, manufactured. They are not real. Sometimes, if we get enough people believing something is real, then everyone starts to believe it is real. But that doesn’t mean it was real in the first place.

As a sensitive human being who cares, sometimes too much, I just want to say that I love you. I love you because you are a human being. I love you because you are an expression of this universe. I love you because you and I and everyone else, we’re all in this together.

So, please, love yourself.  

Feeling Isolated As A Kid

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I hated school.

I was a good student, but I did it all with gritted teeth and vindictive fury towards the entire education system that valued obedience and memorization and class participation rather than free-thinking, creativity and introspection.

Primary school was alright.

One, there weren’t any academic pressures.

Two, I was oblivious about being ostracized socially and spent a good deal of my time, all alone, cooped up in the school library. And that made me happy. This was back when libraries were still quiet. The world seems to get noisier every day.

Three, I still hadn’t faced my individuality. Basically, every time I felt a disconnect with my inner self and my surroundings, I ignored the discord and simply molded my mind and thoughts to fit in with others. Dialogue of moi rejecting myself:

What? This conversation is shallow. I don’t care about sport. I don’t care about what you are going to wear to the party. Why am I smiling so hard, why does it hurt so much, like my face is plastic being stretched? No, no, just smile, be happy, why isn’t this making you happy, something must be wrong with you, talk, talk, TALK. Be normal. SMILE.

But highschool. Highschool. That hellhole sure topped the cake.

Highschool was perdition. I felt like I was being scorched every day. My self-esteem and my sanity were being burnt off, slice by slice, until I was left raw, exposed, a twitching mass of muscle that frittered its way from class to class like a robot on overdrive. Mouth clanking open into smiles. Talking until my cells withered from exhaustion. People, everywhere. I felt like a sardine crammed into a tin case, the oiliness clogging up my brain and my lungs. And the libraries were noisy! Full of gaggling students. My haven was gone. My soul was left homeless. People had even desecrated this? They had already taken almost everything I held dear. But now, they had taken away this? This glorious depository of literature?

No-one understood me in highschool. I repeat, no-one. Sure, I had a couple of nice, sort of close friends. But they had barely scratched the surface of who I was. No matter how hard I tried to be genuine, I always tried to present a façade. Partially because I wasn’t sure who the real me was. Partially because I wasn’t sure I could express the real me through oral communication when written communication is a medium I feel far more comfortable in. Partially because I knew that people would not accept the weird, quirky, eccentric me and that even if I revealed that part of me, they would not understand. Different wavelengths with different signals can’t communicate. I do not mean that in an egotistic way. I just mean that I was different. It was like trying to cram two jigsaw puzzles together when they obviously don’t fit. You can’t make a picture, no matter how hard you yearn for completeness.

I was pretty much a loner. I hate to use that word, as it has such a negative connotation, as many adjectives describing introverted and sensitive people do (touchy, anti-social, quiet, boring) but I was. I drifted away from my group of ‘friends’ because I felt no personal connection with them. All my conversations with them were held on an entirely superficial level, they didn’t like or understand me and I was wasting my break times in pleasing them, being this artificial, extroverted clown, painting a red smile and hoping it would not crack and splinter into a bloodied grin.

So, I spent my lunchtimes alone. I hid from people, in whatever nook and crannies I could find in the school, retreating into books, my own thoughts, music, because I was so socially drained. I feel energy sapping away from me just by being in a room of people. It makes me feel self-conscious and insecure. And some people might say this is because I have no confidence. But since when did confidence equate with extroversion?

The worst part of highschool was my jealousy. I didn’t understand why it was so unfair. These laughing, happy, chatty people were incredibly happy. And they fit in with society. I wasn’t happy fitting in. But I felt ostracized, jeered at, demeaned and lonely when I was being true to myself and catering to my introverted needs. I had a lose-lose situation. They had a win-win situation. What could I do? Wasn’t I stuck?

I still struggle with this. Highschool isn’t the end of social situations. All of society is a swirling pot of interaction. Some bob and float to the top, happy as can be, while others sink.

I sink. I sink everyday. I sink to my watery death, hair trailing, fingers scrabbling at the water like frantic spiders, mouth open in a horrible, drowning gargle.

So this is what I grasp onto when I feel terrible about myself. When I feel like no-one in real life understands me or accepts me. When I sing songs and cry to myself because a lack of validation, a lack of belonging, is a starvation of the soul and I’m so hungry for people to see and understand me. Me. This essence in this flesh-sac. I retreat into my imagination:

One day, I’m going to have a small cottage, near nature, a bubbling brook, a grove of trees, away from civilization, remote. The entire house will be converted into a library. I will sleep on a bed constructed of books. I will read to my hearts content and write everyday. I will have a bevy of felines to comfort me. I will grow my own garden, to sustain myself. And no-one can bother me there. I will create my own validation, through my words, my imaginings. I will validate myself. I will create a place where I belong myself. I will shape my own reality.

And maybe, one day, I will float.

– Dreamerrambling

I Want To Be Anyone But Me

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I Want To Be Anyone But Me

I want to be anyone but me.

I hate being introverted.

I hate the shiver of anxiety I get when I talk to someone new.

I hate the fact that I can’t talk and be bubbly for as long as I want to.

I hate that social interaction makes me feel like my cells are withering after an hour or so.

I hate that people think I hate people. I don’t. I just hate the feeling I get when around too many people for too long.

I hate people drawing me out of my book to talk to me. Just, please. Can I have a little bit of peace?

I hate the fact that my mother thinks I have a mental disorder because I don’t want to be around people all the time.

I hate how she puts me down and hits me because I had a mental breakdown after a day of work and university.

I hate that no-one around me understands.

I hate that the people who ‘get it’ are in books or on the internet.

I hate that I can’t live my life in a hut somewhere on a remote island and just live on wild plants and read and write everyday.

I hate the fact that I completely understand why Emily Dickinson became a recluse.

I hate knowing that so many careers are closed off because I can’t stand extended periods of social interaction.

I hate that the only times I am happy are when I am reading or daydreaming.

I hate feeling so out of place. Everyone seems to be swirling around in the maelstrom of life while I teeter on the edge of it, an observer, peering into the dark, thrashing masses and trying to make sense of it all and never succeeding.

I hate having to please and satisfy the social demands of extroverts.

I hate feeling shame for stealing away to be by myself.

I hate people’s reactions when they find me, all alone with my thoughts, happy as a breeze, in some corner. Why the pity and scorn? Why? I’m not weird just because I’m not mingling. Stop it. Stop making me feel like nothing.

I hate introversion being mistook for submissiveness. Especially since I’m a feminist. They. Are. Not. The. Same. Thing.

I hate having to keep quiet in class even when I know the answer to the question the teacher is proposing, simply because it uses up too much of my socializing battery to speak, my voice echoing through the room, everyone watching, everyone listening.

I hate knowing that I could be a great English teacher but being barred by my introversion. Teaching? Got first-hand experience. Could I do it? For years and years and years? Day in, day out, laughter, chatter, talking, talking, talking, students, teachers. Help.

I hate being highly sensitive.

I hate that I can’t stand next a busy highway without wanting to curl into a ball and wail because of the noise.

I hate that I pick up on everything, social cues, gestures, until I convince myself that everyone hates me.

I hate that I can’t stand my raucous students after thirty minutes.

I hate having to leave the room to go to the bathroom when a bloody or violent and frightening scene appears in a movie and seeing the derisive glances of my friend, ‘Oh, what a wimp, what a soft, weak, little, fragile thing.’

I hate having to move to a different seat in the classroom with everyone watching my migration because one of the fluorescent bulbs above me is flashing.

I hate that I feel like crying if someone looks at me the wrong way.

I hate replaying every social situation or blunder or painful experience from the day. Over and over again. Like a tumor I can’t rip out.

I hate the fact that my own mother doesn’t understand and in her fits of frustration at my sensitivity (life is hard for everyone! Pick yourself up! Why are you crying just because you’re tired of noise and people and talking? What’s wrong with you? You have a mental disorder. SHUT UP. It’s not sensitivity. Don’t use it as an excuse. You’re lazy and didn’t get enough sleep. You’re useless. How do you expect to survive in the workforce? Whack. Slap.) Her physical assaults only sting but the emotional pain burrows deep inside my soul.

I hate being an extreme right brain thinker.

I hate not being practical.

I hate having my head up in the clouds so people think I’m either crazy or weird. Or both.

I hate liking the humanities more than the math and sciences. Math and science are practical. They will get me a ‘proper job.’ It’s where the money is, darling. Now go and study those scrawling numbers that are like barbed wires sticking into your brain, prodding and churning it into a grey mush.

I hate how I’m not suited for any job in the world except being a writer. That’s going to pay the mortgage, isn’t it? Sitting at my desk, typing words, not knowing if I’m just fooling myself and not selling any stories. Not to mention the self-doubt. Besides, your parents will need you to support them, one day. Give up your dreams. Stop being fucking foolish.

I hate people making me feel dumb for liking the soft subjects, the arts, literature, philosophy, anthropology, history. I’m sorry, okay? My brain just isn’t intelligent enough to chew through quantum physics and calculus. And I’d rather die a million horrible deaths than force myself to study them because something deep within me roars and screams and tears at its rib cage enclosure when I do, screaming to me that I’m wasting my time, my life, my abilities, that I’m trying to sieve cement, that I hate this so much, all these dead numbers and formulas, that the only way I could ever push through it is if I daydream and imagine the numbers coming to life and peeling away from the page and pirouetting across the ceiling, telling me about what life is like in a textbook and the students they meet everyday.

I hate that I don’t like the practical subjects, which means I can’t get a practical jobs, which means I’ll be poor forever. Or so they say. Or so my mother says, with her disappointed glare. Only my mother can look both disappointed and affronted at the same time.

I hate my mother’s wrath when I told her in high school that I wanted to drop math. I hated her threats. I hated her telling me I was her only hope and that if I didn’t study some practical subjects, she would die in poverty. Did I want to do that? Her own mother? Sell your soul with a smile, dear.

I hate having weird, off-beat thoughts. I hate having once made the mistake of voicing them once. I hated the judgmental stares and the silence.

I hate feeling like such a freak in a left-brain society. I hate the fact that health and engineering and accounting or whatever are where the jobs are and the art courses are being cut back at universities every year. Arts degree? Pffft. Hope your parents are rich. Literature and writing is a luxury, darling. First, go off and study something practical, like pharmacy. Then you can save up money to dabble in your quaint, little writing hobby. Besides, who knows if you’re good enough to make it? Don’t take the risk. You’re probably not good enough. Only one in a billion make it. You can’t make it.

Money. Love. Money. Love. ‘Money!’ they scream, gold fever fizzling in eyes, lips stretched wide and teeth whisked with gleams, a billion faces, clutching banknotes and throwing them like green birds into the air. Love. Love? It’s a job, honey. You’re not meant to love it. A starving, disheveled writer at his desk in a garret, nibbling on a piece of bread and fighting for crumbs with the rats. Now, now, you wouldn’t want that would you? That’s it, get in line, become a good, hardworking citizen of society. Join the ranks! Collect your retirement money. Live for the weekends. Don’t think too much. They say that helps.

‘She was such a quiet, strange child,’ said Society.

‘Oh?’

‘Oh, yes. In kindergarten, wouldn’t talk to or play with any of the other kids. Best friend was a cat.’

‘How queer.’

‘I’ll say. And she reads, all the time. And she always looks off into space. She gives me the creeps, to be honest.’

‘What does she want to be when she grows up?’

‘Ha! Get a load of this. A writer. The stupid flake wants to be a writer. When her parents are in a state of such indigence. Irresponsible. Flighty. Morose.’

‘Does she need to see a doctor? We can book a psychiatrist for her. There’s something terribly wrong. Yes. Not quite right in the head.’

‘Yes,’ says Society, and pats the heads of laughing, gaggling children.

I hate me.

Why I Love Being Highly Sensitive

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Hi.

It seems that high sensitivity is more often viewed as a liability than an asset. In my last post, I lamented some of the difficulties I have experienced as a HSP.

However, I don’t think we should forget all the wonderful abilities and attributes highly sensitive people have. And yes, even if we don’t fit in with the rest of society sometimes, react far too strongly to everything and are viewed as just plain weird or different, the silver lining is glorious. I wouldn’t trade my high sensitivity for anything.

So, without further ado, here are a few reasons why I love being highly sensitive (I really have come far in acceptance and I am proud of myself. Used to think of myself as defective and now I am writing a blog post on why I love being sensitive. Go figure).

1. Good listeners. We are that kind friend who listens to others pour out their sorrows. Except we don’t do it just to put on a show and be a ‘caring friend’. When you tell us your worries and problems, we truly feel for you. Acutely. Because we are so finely tuned to emotions, we empathize incredibly well with people. And that’s why I am always the shoulder to cry on in my circle of friends.

2. Imagination and creativity. Okay, I know that people who are not highly sensitive can have great imaginations and creative capabilities as well. But I swear, my imagination is directly linked to my sensitivity. If I wasn’t so incredibly sensitive to all sorts of things as most people, I don’t think such vivid ideas and images that I translate into stories I write would ever spring to my mind. It’s like having a more fine tuned nervous system makes me more aware of what is weird, fantastical, beautiful and wondrous.

3. Being a HSP makes me highly intuitive. I can ‘feel’ the emotions of other people. But I don’t only operate in the arena of feelings. Oh no. I can sense what others are thinking, what their dreams and goals are, what they worry about, etc. I’m not saying I am psychic or anything. I can just read people really well. And I am usually uncannily right. I can tell if a person is fake or genuine, moral or immoral, simply through observation of their mannerisms. Sometimes, I am the only one who sees it when a person acts superficial, glib words spouting from their mouths much to the delight of others.

4. Appreciation of nature, art and music. When I say ‘appreciation’ I don’t mean it in the normal sense of the word, that ‘I really like this stuff because it’s so beautiful’. No. When HSPs say they appreciate things like art, we often mean that we cannot live without it and that if we come in contact with it, we are in heaven and tears seep out of our eyes like there is no tomorrow. It doesn’t happen with all kinds of art or music. But when we hit upon something that really touches us, we become some of the most happiest people in the world at that moment. When I read an achingly beautiful line in a book or my eyes land upon a fantastically strange surreal artwork, I want to cry with joy because it is all so beautiful that my mind and body is utterly overwhelmed.

5. HSPs are compassionate. At my core, I am an idealist who is filled with empathy and compassion that I want to expend. Translation: I want to help suffering animals, children, insects, adults, teenagers, the misunderstood, the overlooked, the underdogs, that decrepit library that should be renovated so it can bring joy to readers, that poor pair of shoes that must feel so lonely because it hasn’t been worn for so long and that poor careworn blanket that wants nothing more than to be hugged…you get the idea. I was that kind of kid who does things like trying to revive a dead ant by letting it crawl out of the water onto a stick to dry in the sun or is filled with anguish when seeing dead birds lying near the pavement.

6. Curiosity. I don’t think I am at all smart or intellectual. Just because I think deeply about things now and then doesn’t make me better than other people in the mental department. It just means my brain is wired a little differently, being a HSP, introvert and right-brained thinker and all. But I truly believe that my sensitivity at the very least lends me great curiosity. Because I am so hyper-aware and notice every little detail, whether it be of my physical surroundings or of the emotions and reactions of other people, I am a very curious person. I see everything, so I want to know everything. I hunger for knowledge, to figure things out about people and the world.

7. Allows me to see the important things in life. Perhaps this ability is a combination of my introversion and being an INFP. But nevertheless, I think that being a HSP has allowed me to see the bigger picture and cut down to what truly matters in life. This is due to my extensive observation throughout my life of the world and people and subsequent introspection. I don’t go for the petty things. I just know that there are greater and more magical things in life to worry or care about. And that’s pretty cool.  

So there you are. I’m sure I missed out on lots of things. And I’m sure other HSPs might have different things they love about their high sensitivity. I’d just like to say that some of the worlds most famous writers, inventors and pioneers had traits of high sensitivity. And that makes me happy. I am not gloating. But I feel happy to know that I shared a personality trait with all those wonderful human beings with their wonderful minds that have brought something magical to the world during their existence. It makes me believe that I can do something like that one day too.

Have a wondrous day.