“Nobody understands me, I’m really sensitive.” ~ Iggy Pop
Have you ever been told that you’re too sensitive? That you wear your heart on your sleeve, or that you’re an open book? Well if so, you’re in good company. I’m a sensitive person, like mega sensitive.
I usually go through my days feeling like all my emotions are on the surface of my skin, potentially spilling out uncontrollably at any moment, and threatening any appearance of normalcy. Now, I’ve given up on normal a long time ago, but that constant overwhelming sense of complete vulnerability can sometimes be a lot to handle.
I’m that person that you see in public looking completely absorbed in her own thoughts with the look that I must be going through some heavy shit, and maybe I am, or maybe I’m having a regular moment with the volume turned up high. I’m of course the type of person that cries at every movie.
It doesn’t have to be a sad movie either, happy endings and I’m in tears of joy. An awesome song playing in my headphones, talking a walk along the river’s edge appreciating the beauty of Mother Nature, or even sharing an awesome moment with someone special and yup, I’m on the verge of waterworks. If I’m having a bad day, feeling misunderstood, or there’s some tragic story in the news, its Niagara Falls and I’m in a puddle totally losing my shit.
“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe
I’ve gone through most of my life feeling like no one really understood me. That I must really perceive things different, if everything seemed to affect me so much more than everyone else.
As a teenager, I really believed that there must have been something wrong with me on the inside. I began to voraciously read on different topics in psychology, like bipolar disorders and even schizophrenia. I realized that I wasn’t plagued with anything that I could find written about in books, and that maybe I was just an over sensitive freak.
And I went with that, feeling the ever present separateness that was me and everyone else. It seemed like such a burden and inconvenience to have all my delicate and vulnerable bits right on the surface all of the time.
I used to believe this was a major weakness and that in order to be normal; I had to stifle my sensitivity. I mean who knows where this model of ideal stoic strength originated from, and why it’s been so highly praised in human history, but being “too” sensitive can definitely be frowned upon.
So I carried the tough girl persona for so many years, burying my emotions, I was tough as nails on the outside. But on the inside, it was a totally different story. Luckily my inner world found vehicles of expression through my art, journal writing, yoga, meditation, music and dance.
It was through these mediums that I expressed the inexpressible and inadvertently saved my life. Who knows where I’d be today without my art, writing and spiritual practice. I shudder at the thought.
With time and dare I say wisdom, I’ve come to realize that being too sensitive isn’t a weakness after all. That I can build on this and actually utilize all these feelings I’m constantly bombarded with as a positive force in my life. On a creative level, I can use this excess of emotions and pour myself out on canvas or paper.
This constant sense of intensity has been a driving force in my desire to learn and discover everything that I possibly can. Catapulting myself into all kinds of things that I might not have otherwise felt motivated to do, these vehicles that help me deal with these inexplicable happenings inside have become not only my art, but my path for healing.
Mending my perception that there was something wrong with me, my spiritual practices have taught me to embrace my inner world and sit with discomfort and love the parts inside me that I thought in the past were ugly and weak.
These days I embrace the fact that I am too sensitive, that I do wear my heart on my sleeve and am indeed an open book. I’m good with feeling vulnerable. For the times that all these feelings become too overwhelming to deal with, I know to turn to my different practices as cathartic outlets.
My hope is that for anyone that has ever felt different for being too sensitive, that you can reclaim your inner strength through this and laugh in the faces of those who criticized you for being too sensitive.
It’s ok to be too sensitive, it’s better than ok. Through this vulnerability we are stronger. Let it pour out, and come what may.
“Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror, just keep going. No feeling is final.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke
Self-portrait by Jenn Grosso. Yes, I’m really this emo.
Originally published on YOGANONYMOUS.