Most of the articles I find about Highly Sensitive People make us out to be soft, gentle, copacetic creatures who value beauty and intuit the needs of others around us. Like fairies in an Irish fairytale or swans bathing near a fall….
I call bull shit.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a good person. And yes – I appreciate beauty around me. I don’t like conflict. And I have the capacity to be graceful on a good day. Those things are all true. It’s just that it is also true that we sensitive types are just as capable of being messy, lazy, moody and (dare I say it) GRUMPY.
I had a busy week this week. I didn’t get enough sleep last night. So I woke up in a sour-puss mood.
In the past, when this came up, I used to resist it. I tried anything to squeeze myself back into a pleasant space. After all, I love that version of me. That version of me that is connected and fully alive and open to every experience the day has to offer. The version who loves half marathon runs and healthy meals cooking on the stove. She’s a hoot. THAT Leah is legit. But this one? This one just wants to netflix binge Finding Dory (Don’t you dare judge me). She wants to curl up with her cat and stair into space. She wants to flip the world the bird, read fantasy novels, pretend Trump isn’t President of the free world and that she doesn’t have to go back to adulting tomorrow.
I used to hide this version of me. I hid my grump the way Notre Dame hid its resident hunch-back.
But you know something? Recently, I have started to shift my perspective.
I mean…who was my favorite of the seven dwarfs? Grumpy. Who is my favorite comedian? Lewis Black. Who is my favorite celebrity cat? (Because, obviously THAT is a thing). Grumpy cat.
People that are perpetually in a state of feeling “pretty and witty and gay” without ever having any edge or sarcasm or shadows are at BEST boring and at worst…well…kind of annoying. At least they are to me.
I know this. And yet I work like hell to pretend I don’t have any nuance or edge or sour-puss face in my repertoire of daily emotional emojis when I’m around other people.
What’s that about?
My only explanation is that we HSP tend to get stuck in perfectionism. We people please. We present our best selves. At least these are the the things I do. I don’t want to get in anyone’s way. I don’t want anyone to know just how needy I can be or how dark my moods can go. I’d rather people go along thinking I am a rock. Unflinching in my optimism.
But in the spirit of being authentic…today’s topic is not going to be a list of self help ideas or reflections on the meaning of life or meditations on the majestic quality of sunsets. Grounded Leah is currently not in today. Please leave a message.
Cause I just can’t today. So I’m just not going to. And you know something? Oddly enough, admitting that feels sickly satisfying. Maybe grumpy Leah has some value to add after all. Grumpy Leah is critical and thoughtful and careful. Grumpy Leah insists on quiet time and is unapologetic about taking it. She feels no need for excuses. She just retreats.
So if you identify as being a highly sensitive person and you have stumbled on this blog, I encourage you to give your inner grumpasaurus-rex some room. Maybe you’ll find that version of you to be as oddly endearing as our beloved grumpy cat. Rainy days make for flowers (or so I’m told). Maybe giving yourself a day of unabashed unpleasantries will allow for you to move back to a more lush space sooner.