I don’t remember the first time someone “accused” me of being too sensitive. I was always a dramatic child, emotional, on the verge of being a little much. A teacher once wrote on my report card, “feels deeply.” Guess it doesn’t come as much of a shock considering I’ve chosen to pursue writing.
It felt like my heart was constantly connecting to those around me, or I was getting invested in stories I heard. I hurt when others hurt. I cried when my friends cried. I mourned when the world mourned. It was a hard thing to shake, especially as a kid.
I didn’t get why, days later, I was still so worried about the homeless woman that I saw downtown and her frail looking dog. The world kept spinning. Everyone kept about their business, doing whatever they had to do. But still, I’d think of that homeless woman. Or the emaciated animals during those Sarah McLachlan commercials. Even something I saw fairly frequently, like dead squirrels on the side of the road, would cause me great distress.
I was sensitive. I am sensitive. And I thought this meant something wrong. I was somehow missing the strength that the people around me had.
But that’s not what it was.
My sensitivity is my strength.
That sure as hell doesn’t mean it’s easy though.
When you’re sensitive, there’s a protective shell that you don’t seem to form. No matter how many times you get knocked down. You’re still raw. Your edges remained unsharpened.
You see it in other people. There’s a cynicism, a jadedness that seeps into humanity. And it’s understandable. It’s a survival technique. In a world that can be so harsh and unforgiving, everyone does what they can to keep going.
Being sensitive means working twice as hard at that. You don’t have an off switch for your emotions. You don’t know how to log out, so to speak. And that can be exhausting. Utterly exhausting.
But I don’t think I would change it. Every time I get upset at my sensitive nature, I remember how being this way, being who I am, has also given me some of the best things. Sure, I feel deeply. But that means I feel other things deeply too, like love and passion.
My sensitivity has allowed me to experience life vividly, never sitting on the sidelines. I feel it all – the good, the bad, the devastating, the miraculous.
And in this world that can be so rough, I’m glad for that. I’m glad I see the world in bright (sometimes loud and obnoxious) colors. Something grey or muted just wouldn’t be the same.