April 2011

Adult friendship drama

I was talking with a friend yesterday who was feeling incredibly saddened by a recent shift in his friendships. A tightly-knit group had “split,” so to speak, into three tightly-knit people with the other two on the periphery. He said, “I feel like there’s something wrong with me–what did I do to not make them want to be as close with me anymore?” I was struck by how similar his thought process was to mine (instantly jumping to the conclusions that it’s something wrong with YOU, not remembering that there are two people in a relationship so the issue could very well lie with the other person).

He then followed up by talking about how these other three write on each other’s Facebook walls all the time, about their inside jokes and plans, and how he feels very much an outsider when watching all of this without being a part of it. That REALLY made me think, because his comments sounded very much like those of the middle-schoolers that I work with. That is not to say that I viewed him as being immature, or his sadness as unimportant; but more to say that issues going on when we are young still creep up into adulthood. He is 23 years old and Facebook is still presenting problems for him. He still feels left out. That makes me really sad. Maybe that’s because I partly understand it; it’s easy for me to jump to conclusions upon reading something on Facebook or Twitter that I’m not a part of. It just made me think a lot; we tell our middle-schoolers and high-schoolers that these issues “get better” when they grow up, and in a lot of ways that’s true; there’s much less petty gossip, bullying, and deliberate attempts to induce jealousy. But it’s all still there, even if to a lesser degree. Even if it’s to a less deliberate degree, which in many ways, is significantly harder to deal with.

The thing is, which I’m realizing more and more each day, it’s really up to us to make things how we want them. If there are issues, waiting around until they magically resolve themselves just doesn’t work. We’ll be waiting a long time.

Trying to make sense of it.

Oh, my heart hurts so much today. I woke up and instantly felt a wave of “heaviness” come across me. I feel weighted down by all of the emotions in the world, all of my thoughts. It’s hard to breathe because of what feels like fifty-pound weights sitting on my chest, on my heart. I want to curl up in a little ball, like a little child, and nap for hours under a safe, warm blanket. I’m not sure what’s behind this. Sometimes, nothing is. Sometimes, it’s just how I am, and a day like that has to happen. Sometimes, I think that I overstimulate myself with so much sensitivity–looking at images that awaken my soul, listening to music with combinations of notes, or lyrics, that put energy and radiance into every limb of my body, feel the intensity of the sun shining down on me…and those are all good things. Those are all things that I need, I crave. But maybe it’s almost like what I imagine coming down from a high, whether drug-induced, or otherwise, would be like. Maybe that “high” I felt from feeding my body all of those intense things, is over, and now I just feel…normal? Maybe it’s a delicate balance. Maybe I need to moderate it better.

Or maybe I’m just in a not-so-great mood, and over thinking it, just as I over-think everything.

Simplicity of childhood

I spent so much of my childhood wanting to “grow up.” I’m still working on figuring out why that was. Partly, all of the older people in my life (older cousins, teachers, etc.) seemed so glamorous and magical. I wanted to be like them. And part of me, especially in my older childhood, felt like when I “grew up,” things would get easier. I didn’t realize how wrong that was, but that’s another topic.

I wanted freedom, wanted to make all my own decisions, wanted to have responsibilities. Rightfully so; most children yearn for those things. But now that I am “a grown up,” I find myself yearning desperately for the days of childhood. I see the kids I work with in elementary school who sit in the same chair each day, who are told when to to to lunch and recess, who are told “Re-do it and bring it in tomorrow, don’t worry” when they incorrectly do their homework, who have teachers and guidance counselors and therapists watching out for their every move, whose big excitement is getting a new pack of colored pencils to use for a social studies map-coloring lesson. And oh, how I miss that. I never realized how lucky children are to not have to make decisions, to be taken care of, to be carried around, figuratively speaking, by adults.

I wish I hadn’t given up playing with dolls because it wasn’t what “older kids did.” I wish a new toy still made me feel elated inside. I wish that rainy days meant a day snuggling in the cozy house, baking cookies with my family, and lying on my stomach on the floor, playing board games. I wish that I could still build forts. I wish I still believed that imaginary friends existed.

I miss it all.

And I think that’s a large part of the reason that I so thrive on working with children. When I’m with them, I get to act like them. I get to be childlike. I get to do all of those things. I get to nurture that little-me that’s still inside of me.

She belongs in the sun

Sometimes it scares me how much weather affects me. I love the high that I get from a sunny, warm day–the rush of endorphins that comes from feeling the sunbeams warming my soul, from looking up at the bright blue sky, from breathing in the beauty of the colorful flowers and grass. But with every extreme happy comes an extreme sad, which is what happens when the sun isn’t out, when it’s raining, when there is no color and life is grey. Most people respond to this with a comment like, “Ugh, I hate the rain” or “I wish it was warm out!” And I agree. But I respond, involuntarily, with crashing waves of hopelessness and sadness crashing onto me, into my body, into my mind. Once, in high school, I wrote in my journal, “The sun came out for the first time in two days today. I feel like a new person. No sun for me is like no oxygen. It’s like I haven’t been able to breathe in two days.”

That’s how I still feel, and that scares me. I so love how good the sun makes me feel, but it scares me that I can’t breathe without it. It’s hard that the intense wave of happiness is frequently followed by a splash of extreme fear, that the feeling will pass, and the sun will go away, and I will feel suffocated again. Oh, I try to live in the moment with the weather just as much as I do for anything else in my life. But it’s such a love-hate relationship, this dependency on the sun.

Sensitivity surrounds me

I am a Highly Sensitive Person. I also definitely have some sensory processing disorder components. That’s always made sense to me; if you feel physical senses very strongly, of course you’ll feel emotional ones strongly also. And, HSP “criteria” include both physical and emotional sensitivities. And, it’s incredibly common for individuals with sensory sensitivities/sensory processing disorder to be sensitive, seem emotionally disregulated, etc. So the first point is, it makes sense to me that it’s all intertwined.

And why am I bringing it up? Mainly because it’s a big part of my life. The fact that I’m so sensitive, that I feel things so strongly, affects each aspect of my daily life. Not always in a bad way, and I want to make that clear. Being so sensitive is a blessing and a curse, but overall, I wouldn’t trade it. I also have always been on a quest to educate others. Not just to promote acceptance, though of course that’s important, but it’s awareness that’s key. It took me years to find out key things about myself, mainly because I just didn’t even know those things existed, didn’t know what they were. Maybe if people knew more, they could save themselves years of hardships by obtaining that knowledge sooner. So if writing about these things helps even one person? Totally worth it.

I’ve talked about these things here and there with a few others, mainly those who Get It. But I’m not really sure how to just start explaining it, to explain the complex workings of my body and my mind. Where do I begin?

Here we go…

It’s my first blog post. I feel as though I should be writing something profound and meaningful. So much so, that I’ve delayed writing this, for fear that someone out there might read it and think to herself, “What a boring first post. She’s an awful blogger.” I also feel as though I don’t entirely have a right to be blogging, because I don’t know that I have anything that interesting to say. So why AM I blogging? I guess because whether or not it’s interesting, I do have things to say. I have thought and feelings and questions that need to come out. I don’t have time to write in a journal anymore; I type about ten times faster than I write. And while it’s very likely that nobody will read this or be able to relate, or care, maybe they will. So maybe it’s worth a shot.

What do I want to write about? I’m not sure. Life. My job. My schooling. The thoughts I think. The ideas I have.The things I love more than I can express and the things that upset me to my very core.

If you’re interested, stay tuned. If you’re not, I’ll never know. It’s all good.

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