I am a ball of emotions and I am sensitive. I am also ashamed of my emotions and my sensitivity. I think a lot of that part of me was damaged a long time ago and now I have to do the work of recovering myself, my emotions and my sensitivity. The burden of that work is confusing and sometimes tends to draw me towards shutting down or angry outbursts.
Sensitivity in our society is not permitted in children and as an adult I find myself struggling between acknowledging my sensitivity and wearing an armour of strength. Emotions in others make us so uncomfortable so much that to cope we refuse to acknowledge their existence. That’s why when we punish children we keep asking them to not cry and shut up. As adults we have invented ways that don’t allow us any sensitivity. We say women are too sensitive therefore senseless and men refuse to acknowledge any part of their sensitivity. These are different ways of coping with the same problem: the dismissal of our normal human behaviour. There are numerous times my sensitivity has been misconstrued as dramatic tendencies. It’s easier to assume people have issues rather than allow eachother the space to swim in our sensitivity.
The strong woman trope has taken over and replaced sensitivity over time. While delicateness is expected of women when dealing with men and the world, strength is also required of us as women in dealing with every other aspect of womanhood that’s usually difficult and stressful. A strength that we have to wear like a clock to not only survive but also to prove ourselves worthy. There is a certain internalized false pride of sorts in being strong. We get societal validation for enduring when we shouldn’t. But I am tired and done with strength. I want to embrace my weaknesses even though there is absolutely nothing weak about being sensitive. Being sensitive is beautiful.
So where does sensitivity fit in all this?
Our sensitivity has been dismissed, devalued for so long we no longer know how sensitivity feels like. We associate it with weakness and something we ought to be ashamed of. Mocking our tears, defining things that should be emotional for us and what shouldn’t is one way the world shuts down our sensitivity.
Recovering my sensitivity means allowing myself to experience the full spectrum of my emotions on my own without any external triggers. Ask myself how I feel, how that impacts on me and noticing the changes in my emotions. I constantly have to remember to recheck how I feel, how people make me feel and use my senses.
Sometimes I think it works to just cry and let that pain, fear, shame come to the surface. Let it unravel on it’s own wheel.
I avoid partners and friends or even relatives who continuously dismiss my emotions and mock my tears. Sometimes people who do not value your humanity are not worth the trouble.
Sensitivity as defined for women means never blazing your gun, taking your arrows and shooting. There is something about rage that fuels sensitivity. Sensitivity can range from quiet, shyness, softness to fierceness, anger and strength. Everything in between also embodies sensitivity.
In claiming back that lost glory, we must define sensitivity on our own terms, live it in our own experiences and begin to acknowledge it in others and in ourselves. Perhaps then we could save ourselves.
Go be ye sensitive as fuck!