this is how it is

It was a great relief to me some time ago to discover that there are other people in the world who are highly sensitive to outside stimulus as I am.  This is just a small reflection on living as a highly sensitive person. 

On Saturday afternoon we have to go to Home Depot.

I know what's coming. 

I set a foot inside the doors and the lightsandthenoiseandthepeople make my head go fuzzy and after five minutes I really need to sit down; but there is floor moulding to choose and a new door. So.

I trudge along behind feeling like my frame is carrying a whole other person, or maybe two.

After the moulding is on the metal cart and the hunt for the door begins, my mouth feels dry and I think maybe I could slip away and find a drinking fountain and a bench.  Maybe if I could just close my eyes for a bit...

But there are no drinking fountains and no benches so my terrible thirst and my heavy body just keep walking around that concrete box until he smiles and says, "That's it!" And mercifully, we find the van just where he had left it and we begin the drive home.


"Are you okay?" he asks.  "We were only there an hour; I tried to make it fast."

But of course, that only makes me want to cry because of the absurdity that other people go to these stores every day and also to Costco and to concerts and new restaurants and Spain or maybe Istanbul, and he would like to do these things, but now I am so tired I can only go home and close the door in relief. 

As we drive I imagine myself holding his hand and smiling through Home Depot and when he asks if I want to stop afterward at that restaurant and see if it's any good I say "Yes!" and my eyes are bright and his face lights up with surprise.

This is what I would do for you, I want to whisper.  Instead I keep silent, staring out the window as the landscape slips by.

But when we get home I ask if I can sit with him while he watches the football game and I do, curled into the welcome of his arm, resting in the quiet warmth until my body gets lighter and I begin to fall asleep and my heart unfolds into its rightful space once more. 


related:  survival guide for the quieter species