Category Archives: Highly Sensitive

Tu Me Manques

I just read an article that Alan Cumming wrote for Canada’s Globe and Mail.  He mentions how the French do not make ‘missing’ about us. It isn’t, “Oh I miss you.”  They say, “Tu Me Manques” – to me, you are missing.  Boy, that socked me in the gut, today.

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That truly is how I feel. In these calm moments where I feel confident in the solidity of our marriage. Confident in his love for me and our ability to weather storms. Confident in where this separation will land us – him with more experience and potentially a better job, me, with more experience as well and hopefully, an inner strength that I know I need to find.  Confident in the way this will force us to better communicate. To love harder. To talk more.  In these quiet moments where I simply feel sad and heavy, that perfectly describes how I feel.

To me, he is missing.

My walk through the city feels lovely, but, it would feel just a smidge better, with his arm around me.  Ordering from our favorite Mexican joint is so delicious, but something’s missing. Everything is fine, wonderful, good – but, to me, he is missing.  No one is critiquing the investigation on TV.  No one is at home talking about some serial murderer. The books that I used to joke about, the ones on interrogation, hunting humans and sexualized violence – are missing.  The sweat shorts that are always tossed on the shelf, are missing.  The bathmat is always hanging where it should be…

Tu me, manques.

It’s those little things that I miss, and more and more as I think about it, it isn’t that I miss him, it’s that he truly is missing from these things. These life events. These moments.  I’ve been so blessed to have shared these moments with him for nearly 10 years. TEN.  He and I have had so many fights, so many ups and downs, so many really…really…really hard moments. SO many times that we have both taken each other for granted. We’ve both gotten caught up in hurt or work, or school, or or or. We’ve gotten caught up in the wrong things.  We expected the other person to just…be there.  Because, well, why wouldn’t they be?

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If there’s one thing that I take away from this time apart, is that I never, ever, ever…EVER…want to take him for granted again. I can’t. It breaks my heart to think of the moments we’ve lost because of doing just that.  I am so very aware of how much he is in my life, in my heart and in those moments when I take a second to really look and see the whole picture.  He’s in my packed lunch, the coffee in bed, he’s in my routine of checking in and of coming home.  To me, he is missing.

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I vow to try as hard as I might, to never take his presence, the small things he does to show me he loves me, for granted.  To never take HIM for granted.  I’m human and I make mistakes, but I want the rest of our lives to be the best ones yet.

For now, Andrew, tu me, manques.

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Overflowing

I overflow a lot.

In the form of tears. Words. Gasping sobs. Sometimes quiet woe. Often energy that has me flying around like a whirling dervish. Sometimes with feelings that I can’t find the words to express without rambling.

As I described before, it’s like this feeling in my chest gets too big for me. Too wild. Too strong. I can’t contain it anymore. Cue spillage.  I mean, we make fun of this one birth video because the woman says she, “Could feel the love bursting forth from her womb” when she looked at her husband while in labor. (In 26 births, I have yet to see love bursting from anyone’s womb.)

But lately? It’s kind of like that.

Andrew and I have been together for almost ten years now. TEN. I met him when he was *cough* a teenager *cough*. We’ve been together since before he could legally drink.  I’ve watched him grow up and I have become a completely different person who is no longer running, but deeply intent on staying put.  With his departure rapidly approaching, I can’t help but look over the years past. Where we’ve been, what we’ve done, how far we’ve dome.  I think that’s inevitable.

Amidst the sadness, the fear, the worry and all of those “I’m going to miss you!” feelings, there is also this intense sense of pride and this huge…swelling in my chest that I can’t contain. It’s built up of love, pride and just emotion. I started really feeling it when I sat at his MA Thesis defense a couple months ago.  He rolled his eyes when I told him I teared up, but I DID! He was so casual, so non-chalantly speaking on topics that the average person would have no idea about. He spoke about linguistic analysis, he spoke about the habits of serial killers’ language, he spoke easily about cognitive load and speculation for further study. He had an intense panel that included the world’s top profiler, one of the world’s leading experts in deception detection and one of about 50, licensed forensic evaluators in the country.  It was so impressive and yet they all conversed with ease. They threw him tough questions that he didn’t bat an eleash at returning. He spoke so eloquently with such knowledge and poise – I just couldn’t help but tear up.  I mean, I always knew he was smart but this? This was different.

When I think about him leaving, it feels like there’s this gaping hole in my chest. Like part of me is being torn out without consent.  And yes, while I’ll miss the sweetness of him making coffee for me in the morning or packing my lunch, and the help that he gives me while I work three jobs – mostly? I’ll just miss being around him.  I’ll miss hearing him jabber on about this criminal or this case – things normally I just roll my eyes at (while secretly swooning).  I’ll miss hearing about his work int he FBI lab, or him joking about how the tri-state area is safe from eco-terrorists for the day. (He’s been involved in a research project and he’s been interrogating fake terrorists.)  I’ll miss his brain. His heart. His drive.  Yes, I’ll still see him or hear his voice via skype and phone, but it won’t be the same.

In the last year or so, I’ve just been so overcome by how far WE have come together.  I’ve gone from not having an idea of where I wanted to be, from being a housewife (that sucked at housewifey things), from being depressed and aimless, from fearing another birthday, to a woman who has direction. A woman who has supported over 26 families through pregnancy and childbirth. A woman who has begun teaching countless more through childbirth education. A woman who burns passionately for women and babies. For their rights. Their choice. Their births.  I’ve become firey once again, and while with that comes the emotion, I’m realizing slowly that in order to be the best doula (and hopeful midwife) I can be, I need to be able to be vulnerable and tap into those feelings.

He has gone from front line security and law enforcement applicant, to having alphabet soup after his name. To having three documents working on publication. To having results that may potentially affect his field in a major way.  He has become so confident. So strong. His brain is so well fed and growing. He has a job that is begging for him to start sooner and two advisors all but begging him to come back to complete his PhD. He’s gone from having one job prospect to seeing the world open up before him with opportunities, including private enterprise.  I just am in awe.

Together, we’ve weathered such storms that many marriages and relationships never have to weather. We’ve grown individually and it has made us so strong together.  Sure, we fight. Oh, boy, do we FIGHT.  But in the end, we are together. We’re better, together, and I feel like we both really know that now. We might not have before, when we were idealistic young people, but now? We know it.

I am just overflowing with all the feels, but there are some pretty big, wonderful ones in the mix.

The Sensitive Life

I have been trying to think of how I could accurately describe what a “HSP moment” is like for me, as I sit and come down from a stormy spinup this morning and somberly process my emotions, actions and interactions.

Sometimes, it feels so beautiful and passionate when I feel something. It’s like, my chest swells with this warmth, love, pride, whatever the feeling is. It grows so large, so big that I cannot help but let those emotions spill out over everything.  The feeling spills into tears as they roll down my cheeks and I just feel like I am swallowed whole by the emotion.  It can happen anywhere, about nearly anything and I am left completely transformed with emotion in that moment.

Othertimes, it combines with my anxiety and they do battle.  I get ‘spiked’, or worried about something. Maybe a tone someone had, or the words they used, or how they said something, that makes me start to worry. Maybe they are mad at me? Maybe they’re unhappy? Maybe I did something wrong? Then it begins to spin further into worst case.  What makes this spin even worse, is that I can actually FEEL the frustration from the other party. I can feel the confusion, the frustration that I won’t just STOP what I’m feeling and again, I am completely overwhelmed with sensation.  With their facial expressions. With their tone of voice. With some way that they said what they said.  They might tell me that it’s all fine, everything is okay – but unless I can FEEL that it’s okay – I cannot let myself believe them. I just can’t. It’s like I can feel them still being frustrated or angry or confused. Whatever.  It’s a really hard moment and something I work on trying to sort out but man, it’s hard.

Hard.


I feel so completely and utterly, out of control and totally misunderstood in the moment.

It’s also so hard on those I love. The hope that they can help me, or understand me at the very least and not blow up too.  The hope that they can hold me and love me despite these flare ups.  The need for them to accept me as I am, without wishing I was different.  It’s hard enough to wish that I was different myself…let alone thinking that others would like it if I were different too.

At its best, I feel so lucky to feel so deeply. To smell so richly. To feel that swell in my chest of love. Of pride. Of warmth and sunshine.  To be so moved by the chirp of a bird or the depth of a sunset.  But at its worst? It’s like this terrible nightmare that assaults all my senses, that I can. not. wake from. I can’t get out. I can’t stop feeling. I can’t stop hearing. Smelling. Feeling. Thinking.  I know it’s happening, but I’m feeling things so fast that I can’t stop it, I can’t get out and I can’t stop and say, “Hey, I”m having a hard time right now.”

It feels like a toddler who is feeling, but can’t express themselves yet so they throw a tantrum. I feel like a freaking child throwing themselves on the floor.  Then comments come about how keeping my emotions in check would be an adult thing to do.  Salt on the wound. Insult to injury.

I AM an adult.  I just can’t always control it.

I was reading a book and they quoted Pearl S. Buck, and the quote spoke so much to me.

A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.

To him… a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a lover,
a lover is a god,
and failure is death.

I appreciate the gifts I have that allow me to be compassionate for others, that allow me to be a wonderful doula who recognizes what others need, that allow me to love fully and completely.

Just sometimes, I wish it were a little easier.

All I know

It seems like I only ever come here to post lately, when I need help. When I’m heavy and struggling. When I need people. And I’m sorry for that. I hate people to feel like they NEED to respond or reply, but honestly? It’s so hard for me to reach out for that reason exactly. I never want anyone to feel burdened by me or heavy. Ever. Regardless, I still need people.

For many years, I felt heavy and neglected. My husband worked a stressful, demanding job, 12-13 hour days where I wouldn’t hear from him. Where he would potentially be in dangerous situations, dealing with awful situations. I mean, I still remember the 1am phone call that he had been punched in the face and I was to meet him at the hospital. It was one of the most terrifying and life-altering moments that I’ve ever had, followed by facial reconstructive surgery two weeks later. He attended school full time in a prestigious, yet again, demanding program. There was no time left for us. For me. For a while – that was okay. I worked too. I missed my family but couldn’t reach out without hearing, “chin up!” I missed him. I missed us.

After we got married, I became a full time housewife for a couple years and for a while, that was okay too. We fought as I begged him to spend time with me. To take a semester off. As I noticed the changes in him the longer he worked a job where he had to shut off his feelings. As he denied the changes and blamed me. I cooked because I loved it. I provided. My heart on a plate because that was what I could do. I could show my love and care in carefully constructed meals. I could provide some love at lunch time for him, even if I wasn’t there. I worked out. I obsessed about food. I lost weight. I put too much value in my appearance. I dreamed of what I wanted to do with my life but couldn’t yet.

When we moved to New York, it was tumultuous. If I am completely honest, we were openly talking separation before we both decided to put TWO FEET IN and make it work. Even now, I admit that when we fight, I worry that we’re still there despite making big leaps and taking great steps. The move shook things up and settled the all the same. I somehow, by the grace of…who knows, finally took steps to enter in a career that I’d felt absolutely compelled to be in for years. Finally.

The pieces started falling into place after I took the training. I got another job. I was accepted into a collective of amazing doulas with mentorship. I started taking clients. I got promoted to office manager. My office grew and grew and I got a raise. I found an amazing childbirth educator and she started referring me fabulous clients.

And here I am.

I am emptier than empty. I’m still charging very low rates due to my membership in this group. I am running all over, answering multiple emails from multiple accounts daily, all hours. I feel like I can recharge a little bit, but then each interaction takes more than I was able to recharge. I keep talking about it and talking about it – but I don’t know how to change it. I can’t figure out what I can possibly drop as the sole earner right now. I am useless when I get home and that certainly doesn’t help my relationship no matter how badly I wish it could be different.

I love giving to people. Supporting my clients feels so good. I get to see new life. I get to cut cords. I get to tell people how much I really do believe in them, that they CAN do this. I get to watch people become pain free and live their lives healthier. I truly, in my heart LOVE helping people so, so much. But…I just don’t know how I am finding the energy to keep giving. It’s all coming at a cost that I quickly am becoming unable to pay.

Pressing the publish button is really difficult for this post. I feel like I am just whining and people are rolling their eyes but…this is really hard. It’s just so, so hard to love what you do but still feel completely worn out and exhausted by it all.

I don’t have answers on how to fix it and you don’t have to respond.

It’s just all really heavy right now and all I know is to talk about it.