In 2008, I moved from a tiny town in Florida to the big city of Atlanta to pursue a job promotion and what I thought would be the biggest opportunity of my life.
Less than two years later, I was released from that job and left to navigate one of the busiest, most hectic cities in the U.S.
I was struggling from a lot of mental, emotional, and spiritual turmoil living away from family for the first time. Still licking my wounds from personal failures earlier in my 20s, my returning home was not an option.
Since then, I’ve put myself on a journey to discover the ins and outs of my head while living the life I actually want to live and loving the people who truly deserve to be loved.
What Is a “Super Introvert”?
I consider myself a super introvert. I dubbed this term after being told by several professionals–and through my observations on myself–that I am in fact sensitive on three fronts:
An introvert is an individual who builds their mental and emotional energy by spending time alone. They are stimulated and enthused primarily by the internal environment: imaginations, thoughts and emotions. This is opposed to an extravert, who becomes energized by the environment outside him/herself: being around people; or ambiverts, who are a happy medium between the previous two.
Introverts are not shy by definition, nor are they anti-social/hate people (very common misconceptions). Just sometimes, a lot of social interaction can be exhausting. Most introverts like to think, and think deeply. It’s hard to do that when also focusing on the outside world’s words. We say what we want to say; then we’re done. Me + small talk? Eurgh. Besides, why say so much when saying less is more effective? I’ve measured my introversion so precisely, I know exactly the amount of time I can spend at a party before my energy is depleted (*cough* two hours).
For more information about different levels of -versions, I recommend visiting the 16personalities site and/or taking the Meier-Briggs personality test (don’t worry; it’s free–and fun!).
My Meier-Briggs personality is INFP-T: The Mediator. While I love people, I quickly tire from social interactions and environmental stimuli–which is exacerbated by my also being a highly sensitive person.
The Highly Sensitive Person
I can’t tell you how many people have leapt up and squeezed me tight, claiming, “I love hugs!” to which I immediately stiffen up. But I tighten up not because I hate the hug–quite the opposite. I feel everything when I receive hugs, including the weight of emotional connection that comes with it. And I know I would creep many a stranger out if I in turn went for the slow, full-body embrace.
Being highly sensitive is not just “some thing” that was made up without scientific backing. Nor should it be confused with hypersensitivity. Also known as sensory processing sensitivity, being highly sensitive is, according to Wikipedia,
“an increased sensitivity of the central nervous system and a deeper cognitive processing of physical, social and emotional stimuli”.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensory_processing_sensitivity
Watching the negativity on the news can shatter your concentration for days. A scent doesn’t just bring back memories but also evokes a psychosomatic response. HSPs are immediately aware of the light fray on a designer skirt or the light whistling in a bustling crowd. And then, it stays in their head like a catchy tune.
Psychology Today summed it up best: they’re sensitive about themselves, they’re sensitive about others, and they’re sensitive about the environment around them. Always. All the time.
The first four seconds of Michael Franks’s Lotus Blossom will, without fail, drop my shoulders, shut my eyes, release the tension in my facial muscles, and lift a smile to my face. I don’t know why; no past event ever triggered it.
As is generally known, empathy is the ability to feel what someone else is going through, even if the first person has never gone through it. Whelp, think of empathy, and personify it.
Empaths can sense other people’s moods–either through noting body language or a different “sense”–and suddenly they’re in that same mood. They don’t mean to be; it’s almost like placing a dry sponge or paper towel on a puddle of liquid. The sponge is going to soak up that liquid even without pressing or wiping at the sponge. According to Dr. Judith Orloff, empaths can even go so far as to feel physical pain or have panic attacks due to what they’re taking in.
I wish I had a funny story for this one. However, I’ve just noticed that…what I take in from a lot of people is…sadness. And most of them fake a smile so hard through the day, I’m surprised I don’t hear plaster crack. It’s those I sense the hardest, because many of them are not yet ready to admit their own pain. How do you think they’d feel if a stranger came up and told them on their behalf?
The Purpose of this Blog
This blog is a chronicle of my struggles to handle being a super introvert and the extremities that can vary from day to day.
I’ll share my insights as I navigate towards becoming a published author, an established voice actor, and someone who is learning to love every moment that comes my way.
But this blog is also about connecting.
There is no set trope when it comes to being a human being. There are some who are brilliant at it–the meeting, the greeting, the socializing, the living. And there are some who are fighting so hard, I wonder how they’re even upright.
I’m sure that there are many who go through life probably feeling like me — that they work so hard every day to take steps forward, only to fall back. There is no shame in falling back. If you’re getting back up and continuing to step forward, you’ve already won.
Feel free to contact me with any questions of your own, or just to share your own experiences. I would love to hear what other concerns are lurking about.
I love writing, cooking, making hair care products, writing, watching professional wrestling, practicing my taekwondo forms, reading, being active with no real goal in mind, writing, and just sitting and watching the river flow. Tis a simple life, but it’s mine. And despite all that trouble above that can wreak mental havoc…I still kinda like it.
Disclaimer: I am not a psychiatrist or licensed therapist. This blog is for informative and entertainment purposes only. So, if anything…I hope I can warrant a smile. 😊