living life as someone with elevated senses
a story about how i returned back to my inner child as an adult and now live a life that i am so grateful to be living
i was a sensitive kid. i remain a sensitive woman at twenty one years old.
everything in between felt like i was fighting to remain true to myself.
and to be clear, when i say sensitive, i do not just mean that i truly felt the impact of people’s words & actions. i mean everything. i would put my headphones on and jam out to music because i felt it in my bones. when i ate something delicious, or nasty, i would either do my happy food dance or gag to the point of throwing up. when i was happy, i was absolutely beaming. when i was curious, i explored as much as i felt comfortable. to me, every squirrel and every dog and every cat was a potential friend. when i was mad, i would rip up paper or scream into my pillow. when i was sad, i would cry so hard that my throat would close up and my eyes would be puffy for days. i felt everything and i felt it to the absolute fullest.
obviously, i couldn’t have continued ripping paper apart, or screaming into my pillow, or doing my happy food dance, or trying to befriend every squirrel i saw as i got older… right?
wrong! and it took me a long time to learn that i don’t need to stop any of those things. what’s so wrong with feeling everything? what’s so wrong with having particular ways of coping and releasing? what’s so wrong with handling your shit in the way that’s best for you, not just what’s socially acceptable?
it’s very unfortunate that society tries to guilt and change us as we age. all the personality traits and hobbies that you had as a kid are often the same things people will shame you for as an adult.
those “adorable” and “hilarious” little girls who are opinionated, talk loudly, and are bursting with energy become “problems” who are “too much” as they age. those “sensitive” and “precious” little kids who cry when yelled at or have their own happy dance become “crybabies” or “embarrassments.”
but what changed? only their age.
you know how in kindergarten we just kind of approach people and say “do you wanna be friends?” people look at you weird when you do it as an adult, but you know what?
that shit works. not always, but the rejections are worth it when you start meeting the right people. i’ve met some of my best friends this way.
i remember being 19 and asked “what’s your greatest strength?” and i responded “my willingness to be vulnerable and honest.”
the man i was talking to said that i was wrong, and that it’s not a good answer. he said being vulnerable is a weakness, not a strength. he said that telling the truth isn’t always a good thing either.
my response, naturally, is that my answer was not “wrong,” it just wasn’t what he expected. i explained that my honesty and willingness to be vulnerable was a strength because it’s the reason why i live a life that i love to live and form amazing connections with people, even strangers. you cannot truly love and feel alive until you’re willing to feel the depths of everything and every emotion.
plenty of people are eager to feel joyful and successful, but you will never know the real value of those emotions until you’ve fully felt heartbroken and like a failure. plus, people can sniff out the bullshit, including me, so i attract the right people in my life when i show up as myself fully & honestly. at least if somebody doesn’t like me, i always know i was truly being myself. so if they leave, they weren’t for me. the feeling is mutual. to me, that is a gain, not a loss.
imagine you were to go around lying to everybody in your life, even to yourself. imagine you were unable to let yourself feel the depths of every emotion you have and instead, you buried it. those emotions and those lies… they will come out eventually, and even if they don’t, you will always have the knowledge that you are a liar and a coward. maybe other people don’t know that, but you do, and you’re the only one who needs to know something for it to affect you. i will bet anything that if you live a life lying and suppressing, not only will it catch up to you, but you will inevitably suffer before it ever does.
that is why, as of a few years ago, i vowed to be an honest person who is willing to be vulnerable.
my life is so much better now that i have made that oath and honored it every day. am i 100% honest 100% of the time? absolutely not! but i try my best, and i use my best judgement and emotional intelligence to navigate different circumstances. if you ask me about how i fucked something up, i will be honest and straightforward. if you ask me for my phone number in a bar, i will probably lie to you out of fear that being honest will have me stalked or harassed.
i love to live this way. well, i love the other parts, and not the part where i have to lie to protect myself as a woman.
doing my happy food dance even in the nicest restaurants. befriending every animal that reciprocates my kindness. asking people if they want to be friends. screaming into pillows when i’m frustrated. telling people when they’ve pissed me off instead of being passive aggressive. professing my love for people when i feel it, not just because they said it first. dancing when nobody is watching or everybody is watching, even if it’s not the best. crying when i am hurt. turning my music up as high as i can tolerate. feeling each note throughout my body. singing when i know all the words or none of them at all. closing my eyes to appreciate a song, a drink, or anything else i want to.
i love to be this way. i love to feel so free, so honest, so vulnerable, so willing to just shamelessly be myself. i am the embodiment of what you see is what you get. i love to know that i don’t play games with people and that i live a life that i love to live. i love knowing that my friends, family, lovers, and strangers can fully be themselves around me. we are all strange in our ways and i encourage people to showcase that side of themselves. and i love that.
i’ve had moments in life where i lost all hope, all motivation, and all of my will to live and to love. i am so glad that my efforts weren’t successful. i couldn’t be happier that i have found it within myself to return back to the “childlike” spirit of my baby self who would be so delighted to know that i am still reading, still singing, and still befriending the squirrels.