February 2, 2015



All day staring at the ceiling
Making friends with shadows on my wall
All night hearing voices telling me
That I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for something

Hold on
Feeling like I'm headed for a breakdown
And I don't know why

But I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
I know right now you can't tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you'll see
A different side of me
I'm not crazy, I'm just a little impaired
I know right now you don't care
But soon enough you're gonna think of me
And how I used to be...me

I'm talking to myself in public
Dodging glances on the train
And I know, I know they've all been talking about me
I can hear them whisper
And it makes me think there must be something wrong with me
Out of all the hours thinking
Somehow I've lost my mind

-Matchbox 20

I get it Rob Thomas.  I know how you feel.  I'm right there with you.

I've been called overly sensitive, selfish, rude and probably a lot of other nastier things behind my back.

There were times that those labels and names were probably valid and well earned.  I've always been a little socially awkward so I don't always pick up on the normal cues.  I am also a recovering know it all, so there's that too.  I have ruined some friendships and other relationships because of my short comings. There have been times in my life where I have been extremely inward focused.  It would not be a lie to have called me selfish and narcisistic.

These amazing qualities also contributed to a time when I put myself up on a religious pedestal.  I was following all the "right" rules.  I wore the "right" clothes.  I put the "right" things in my schedule.  I said the "right" thing, I acted the "right" way.  I was winning and everybody who wasn't doing things the way I was doing them was wrong.

Good thing Jesus saved me from that.  Now he teaches me about grace and unconditional love.  I mess up every day and Jesus is okay with that.  Quite frankly, he loved me when I was a religious nut, even though he was just sitting on the sidelines shaking his head.  "Oh, Lindsey, I can't wait until you get it.  You're sucking it up right now, but one day, you'll see it and it will be beautiful."

Those shortcomings are all layers that I have been trying to peel off for years.  Sometimes they served me well in creating a shield of armor but those things are isolating and, as it turns out, a horrible way to life my life.  We are on this planet with actual people who have feelings and I don't want to be constantly walking around with poison spines and bumping into everyone so destructively.

I believe that my life mission is to love everyone, no matter what.  Even though I feel like I've grown up a lot and the selfish, unloving tendencies have faded away a bit, they are still there.  It will always be an internal competing battle.  Sometimes people need to have their needs met, even when I don't agree with the way they go about it.  They need to win this battle so we can all win the love war.  This one is really hard for me though, because I'm competitive and sometimes a bit shortsighted.  I never want to lose any battle and can't they see how ridiculous they are acting?

The part if this that is really hard for me, is knowing when to stand up and say something or when to let it slide.  I tend to be an all or nothing person so I either let people walk all over me and never say a word.  Other times, I'll pipe up at every teeny thing that irks me.  Actually, most of the time that's not true.  I'll let all those teeny things irk me so I'll just passive agressively be rude all the time so I don't have to confront anything.  Any sort of confrontation makes me break out in hives.  It's easier to be rude.  Yeah, just reading that back sound horribly unhealthy.  I've got a long way to go.

As I said before, these negative behaviors have impacted my social and family life.  But not all of those faded or abruptly broken off relationships were all my fault.  Some people just lack a sort of empathy that is required to be around me.  I try to return the empathy most of the time, but that's a struggle for me too.  Others are just plain in the wrong.  Some of the times, people just didn't get me.  I know I come off as a little unwell, but they also have their own stuff to work on.  And if you cross the boundaries and go after my husband and kids, there will be hell to pay.  I can't be held responsible for my reactions with that one.  Maybe I'll work on having healtier reactions in regard to this area, but not now and most likely never.

Walking through life feeling like not a lot of people "get" me wears me down sometimes.  I really don't care if most people understand me, I've got my small circle of people and that's all I need.  Some days though it frustrates me.  What's so wrong with being sensitive?  I've come leaps and bounds in the social department too.  I kind of have to treat it like an algorithm.  If X behavior happens or X words are said, it is most likely can be interpreted as Y.  I also have my partner in crime, who excels in everything social, to whisper tips in my ear.  He's amazing.  Have I told you that lately?  Probably, but indulge me.

When I get written off as different or weird it sucks sometimes.  "Oh, that Lindsey, she's just overly sensitive, it's too bad."  Oh yeah?  I know I have my own shortcomings, but maybe you should stop being such a jerk.  Have you ever though of that?   And I like the way I am sometimes.  Being sensitive can be a good thing.  I feel things and that spurs me to action.

It's just that when the overly sensitive part becomes more self centered and crowds out other people's well intentions or needs is when it becomes a problem.  Are they doing this to spite me on purpose?  Most likely this weird, irritating behavior is not because they are out to get me.  There is a larger picture here and it's not all about me; I need to remember that.  It will probably be something that I will always work on.  The internal battle will rage, but if I'm cogniscent of it, I might be able to get ahead of it to control it rather than letting it control me.  I hope I get to a place where I can grow to let my sensitivity can be more of a strength, rather than a hindrance.

I may be crazy AND a little unwell, but I kind of like me that way.  It makes life spicy.  How boring would it be if we had everything all figured out?  This journey of life is supposed to be hard and confusing, but because of that we get to team up with others to try and figure it out together.  And I promise to keep working on my stuff too.  I may just need a little space for it though.  If you give me grace, I'll try to return the favor.


stacey said...

Reading with teary eyes this morning, friend. You have no idea how much I needed this "me-too".

I'm highly sensitive too and often feel like a bit of a misfit in the world — I want so badly to be a good friend and have good friends but it is much harder than I thought. Add raising small children and it's a recipe for isolation!

I think my tendency is to say too much rather than stay quiet, and this comes with its own pitfalls. I feel like I mean well, I want to be a supportive friend, but I keep shooting myself in the foot by saying things too bluntly or saying things that people aren't ready to hear. And then I get mad because I feel like I put myself out there only to get hurt. Justin says I'm a truth teller and that it's really tough to be one. Nice of him to say, but I still feel like shite about it and say things like "NEVER AGAIN" that we both know probably aren't true.

Blerg. Clearly I'm in a learning place too. J's really patient and full of good insights and a profound lack of harsh judgment, for which I'm grateful.

Anyway. All that to say, I may not totally get it but I do get some of it. And I admire that you're still grappling with it, still working to grow and figure out how to make that sensitivity work for you, not against you.

Here's Thomas Merton on temperament — something that's always been an encouragement to me:

"Temperament does not predestine one person to sanctity and another to reprobation. All temperaments can serve as the material for ruin or for salvation. We must learn to see that our temperament is a gift of God, a talent with which we must trade until He comes. It does not matter how poor or how difficult a temperament we may be endowed with. If we make good use of what we have, if we make it serve our good desires, we can do better than another who merely serves his temperament instead of making it serve him."

Oh man, isn't that good stuff? Love you.

Lindsey said...

Oh wow! That's a great quote and great insight. We'll figure this sensitivity thing out some day I hope. Until then, we'll just sit here and whisper the "me too's" and keep starting new each day. Love you back.