Anyone who really knows me, knows that I can be a bit intense, a bit compulsive obsessive. When I decide to do something, I am like a dog with a bone and I don't mind putting in the work. I can be quite single minded about things and throw myself into the journey with a great deal of passion. The opposite side of all that is I can scatter easily, become unhinged, lose myself in the voices of others and suddenly the world is like a tilt-a-whirl and I can't stop the spinning.
I am sensitive. Extremely sensitive. And that doesn't mean I cry a lot though I have when crying is warranted. It doesn't mean I can't be told hard truths and it doesn't mean I break easily or am too fragile. I am incredibly strong willed and have no problem hearing opinions and giving my own. I used to confuse sensitivity with weakness but that is not really the case for me.
I am sensitive in these ways:
1. I am constantly tweezering out dog hairs from the bottoms of my feet. This doesn't happen to my husband or to anyone who comes and visits us. Just me. I have porous skin perhaps? I do know that I have incredibly sensitive skin and it turns rosy red easily, it rashes easily, it doesn't do well when I fly and switch climates and I swear I must be allergic to my own sweat along with the a laundry list of known allergies to basically everything that is beautiful in this life.
2. I see the spaces in between the words, the innuendos, the feelings, the shift of the eyes, the words unsaid. I see them clear as day and sometimes it is overwhelming to see the obvious when everyone around me is seemingly oblivious or in most cases just plain old oblivious. I suppose you could call it a super power but some days it just feels like a plain old curse.
3. I hear all the conversations around me even when I attempt to block them out. I hear them all at the same time and somehow my brain manages to catch all the nuances even while I am having my own conversation with someone. When I am around large groups of people, I often need to escape in order to find the quiet.
4. I feel all the emotions around me even when I attempt to block them out. I feel them all at the same time and I find myself mirroring them and feeling them as if they are my own. Again, when I am around large groups or even small groups of people, I often need to escape in order to sort out which emotions are actually mine. This can either make me the life of the party or the wallflower depending on how good I am at sorting out what is not mine.
5. I get overwhelmed inside my head when I go too long without being alone.
I am really good at taking my alone time and have learned over the years of my life that it is necessary. Enter social media. I love it. I love the connections, the ease of finding information, the conversations, the visual array of amazingness, instant access to news and politics. All of it.
It was in so many ways, easier to manage when all I had to do was walk away from my computer. The days of the smart phone sort of changed things again only I didn't catch up to ensuring I could manage that change. I haven't been good at stepping away and it has become socially acceptable somewhere along the line to always have your phone in hand. I see it on elevators, as people walk down the street, in restaurants, at parties, shopping malls, hell even at the gym. I used to walk and read large books when I was a full time university student and full time worker bee and people always asked me how on earth I could do it and still see where I was going. It was a skill I learned out of necessity because there were only so many hours in a day and hello, English major. Now everyone seems to have mastered that skill with their phones and since I had already mastered that skill, it just came oh so easy for me.
So, the pauses in life became a rapid fire of information, a rapid fire of news and stories and conversations and all carefully curated by other people on facebook. In between deadlifts or walking downstairs for a work break, or while waiting for the car to warm up and. and. and. Suddenly I had no pauses between activities. I logged off of facebook yesterday and took a 24-hour pause and noticed that I would pick up my phone, realize I didn't need it and set it back down. I paused. I thought I might leave facebook for a week, a month or however long it took for me to find myself again. It took less than 24 hours for me settle back into myself.
All I needed was an escape in order to sort out when emotions are actually mine, in order to find the quiet. I am sensitive but I am strong and I know who I am when I take the time to filter out all noise around me. So I will log back on to facebook but I will be more aware that facebook is for me like being in a large group of people and I need to escape when I find myself overwhelmed just as I would in person.
Good to know. Breaks are good, I will take a lot more of them now without feeling the need to say anything about it and I will keep notifications off because really, I don't need unnecessary interruptions while I might be on a self care break.