When you’re sensitive, you’re used to other people looking down on you for it. Telling you that you shouldn’t be that way. That to feel things deeply is a kind of character flaw.
It used to happen to me all the time. I’d get told that the way I experienced the world emotionally was wrong. Because I was quick to tears when hurt. And I also got extremely excited when something good happened.
“You’re too sensitive,” they’d say. “Even keel is better,” I’d get told over and over again. “Gotta keep that even keel.”
I hated this. Rolled my eyes. It just wasn’t the way I experienced the world.
I Don’t Get Told I’m Too Sensitive Very Often Anymore
It’s been a while since I’ve been told that I’m too sensitive by people who know me. There are likely a few reasons for this. Over the years, I’ve gravitated towards other sensitive people, and so the people closest to me are less likely to judge me for being sensitive. And they are more likely to feel relieved and understood that someone else feels the same way they do.
But that isn’t the only reason. I’ve also learned to mask it better. If I’m devastated or thrilled, I’m better at not letting it show outwardly. Unless you know me terribly well, you probably have never noticed that I’m upset. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have tough days; I do. And it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been upset around other people; I have.
I’m just in the habit nowadays of reserving knowledge of tough days or big swings to just a few people.
It’s peculiar because I’m often thanked for writing so vulnerably — and the truth is that I’m not even sharing my vulnerabilities when I write. At least not my current ones. Perhaps a slice of a troubled past but one that doesn’t ache anymore.
Writing in Public as a Sensitive Person
Even though I write in public, I rarely write about my truest, rawest feelings when I’m having them. I write about them later, or not at all. This is more difficult some mornings — as I’ll have a giant issue troubling me that’s monopolizing my thoughts, and I’ll have to write about something else, since exposing your true pains to countless strangers quickly becomes psychologically unhealthy. (It’s folly and even reckless to expect a particular emotional response from people who don’t and can’t know the real you.)
So when I’m struggling with a burdensome issue but must write something publicly, I’ll have to ignore whatever my major malfunction of the moment is and focus on something smaller and easier to write about. I’ll do my best to crowd the pressing issue of the moment out of my brain for a few minutes so I can write an article for now. An article about something safe, approachable.
If I must write about an issue, I typically do so in my private journal. Or I might start a draft that I’ll finish and post much later, when I’m no longer raw about it.
Inevitably when I post, I’ll have readers presuming that something I typed in a sober, level-headed frame of mind is a rant or a screed born of that moment. I don’t do that.
Vagueposting and Online Reaction Scrying
I spend a lot of time wondering what the proliferation of vagueposting has done to our expectations of what people write online. And how much we read into it.
But interestingly, these days I don’t spend a lot of time worrying that people are vagueposting about me. Nor do I spend time these days counting likes and reactions and accounting for the who’s who. Wondering why this one friend didn’t reply but this one did.
It’s not like I’m above doing this. These are old behaviors I can remember doing years ago when I was sensitive in a different way. And something I still see other friends doing, as they’ll call me in for a consult about some status they posted and who reacted and who didn’t.
They want me to help them scry, except it’s not with tea leaves but online reactions.