Sensitivity

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There have been many experiences this year that have unearthed a lot of difficult memories from the past. This has been immensely intense, as much of it has been concentrated over the last few months.

During the first part of the year I was numb, stuck in the lethargic mess that is depression – made worse with a large dollop of anxiety. Tentatively stepping back into the light, over the summer, meant that I was opening myself to a floodgate of emotions once again. This takes time, it always does. The other thing? It is an incredibly personal journey; no two people will go through depression in quite the same way. What may have worked for you may not work for the next person, hence I truly believe that with matters of mental health it nigh on impossible to have a ‘one size fits all’ attitude.

Once again, I am drawn back to gratitude for the people in my life. As an adult, gratitude has been a huge part of my journey; remembering all the good in my life helps to ground me, and lift me when I am stuck in murky waters. Gratitude is something I hope to always remember.

Over the last few weeks I have found myself battling internally; what I am battling is hard to put into words, as at present there are simply no words that will articulate it. I am hurting, that much is sure, but the reasons are still not completely clear – and even if I could put it into words, I am feeling the strong urge to become hidden from prying eyes. The gears in my mind tick over constantly, and the strings in my heart are being pulled eternally. I am a sensitive soul, but this is not seen, nor understood, by everyone.

As an introvert, my natural defence mechanism during times of emotional turmoil is to retreat. Drastically. Quickly. Without explanation.

Yet, I feel like a huge contradiction much of the time. I am introverted, yes, but I am often seen as an extrovert – and depended on to be extroverted, sometimes when it is the last thing I want and need to be doing. Quite a few of the people I am the closest to are true introverts; we all admit to feeling like we often need to wear a mask when we are around others. A mask that hides the complexities that lie within. A mask that tells the outside world that we are okay, when we are really far from it. A mask of bravery for the exterior.

However, when we can remove this mask – our hearts are allowed to be truly happy, even if it is only briefly.

Human beings are such complex, delicate creatures. This is something I have known and respected for a long time. The thing that hurts is when others profess to knowing this, and then their actions do the opposite. I cannot say why this is, as it is still something I do not truly understand. Yes, I can understand (and know) that when we are fighting through hard things in life, our actions may sometimes represent this – occasionally without us even realising – yet at the same time, we are continuously learning…is this not the point of life?

When you have been hurt so badly in the past, do you not try to prevent yourself from doing the same unto others? It is certainly not naive of me to believe in such a thing. Perhaps it is simply a case of different people taking different paths to get to the same teachings from life? Perhaps it is because we are all uniquely different? Perhaps it is because of the people we surround ourselves with? Perhaps it is because of the thoughts that run through our minds? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps… There are often no answers in this thing called life.

The last few years, and this last one especially, have taught me that the thing I once used to resent is possibly my greatest asset: my sensitivity. It makes my heart ache, often. It makes me realise the power of a smile, often. It makes me aware of the subtle nuances of other people, often. It makes life beautiful, even in the darkest of days. Being sensitive means that tears prick at my eyes very easily, but I am learning to welcome the flow of them as easily as I welcome my smiles; we have to feel our lives whilst we are in them.

The world is made up of every kind of person you can imagine…and we all breathe from the same air. You can either resent it, or embrace it. After all, we would learn nothing if we all behaved in the same way, if we all loved in the same way, if we all thought in the same way…

I will leave you with some beautiful words.

“What you are is what you have always been seeking. You are your perfect partner, your greatest lover, your oldest, dearest and most familiar friend. You are the one you fall asleep with every night, the one you wake up to every morning, the one who cannot leave you, the one you will eventually die with. You are the one who is never divided from yourself, the one who remains when everyone and everything else has gone. Rest in what you are.” – Jeff Foster

Ramblings from the heart…

Community: a very confident, strong word. Yet it can encompass a range of different emotions, feelings and stories, all depending on the individuals who all deliver the true meaning of the word. It has changed incredibly for me over the past few years.

For a long time I had wanted to be a part of what, to me, always felt like an elusive community: the Deaf Community. Growing up I had often been shunned by a lot of deaf people, because I communicated through a predominately oral method. I used speech, rather than my hands, to communicate.

However, there is a flip side to this. I grew up with two younger deaf girls, who communicated predominantly through BSL (British Sign Language). The things I learnt from them. As we grew up, I picked up smatterings of signs, enough to be an ‘older sister’ to them, yet still be goofy and silly. To this day, even though I do not see as much of them as I would like, I still have a huge amount of love for them both – and I always will.

There is something about being deaf that means when you meet another deaf person, you may occasionally have an instant connection. I say occasionally because, well, the fact of it is that deaf people are just the same as hearing people – we are all people – and you cannot connect deeply with everyone. That is beautifully human. When that connection does occur? I appreciate it greatly.

I am incredibly lucky, I know that. Throughout my life I have managed to find and seek out the connections that I have needed. With both deaf and hearing people. The connections I have with both are the same, yet vastly different at the same time. For with the deaf friends, we have the ability to share the joys and aches of living as deaf people in a world that is geared towards being able to ‘hear'; then, all the hearing friends I have are people with whom I connect with incredibly deeply – and they understand me, and vice versa. I am understood by both my deaf and hearing friends, in different ways – yet such similar ways at the same time, and I am both grateful and privileged to be able to have both.

Often, I feel that that community is something we create ourselves. Community is the people you surround yourself with. Community is how you interact with others, at all times. Community is love, shown in many different ways. Community is acceptance. To me, that is what community is. There are old communities, and new ones; old ones are often steeped in a rich cultural history.

Really, the Deaf Community is not elusive. Although I was knocked down, painfully, growing up (and a few more times over recent years)…that is not the community. That is, and was, individuals. The Deaf Community is made up of a vast mixture of people, deaf and hearing, who are living and working alongside one another, who dream of a similar vision, who want to work together to achieve that vision.

Yet, at the same time, I have reached a point in my life where I want to be an independent individual now. I do not want to belong anymore. It is not something that I want to seek, any longer. Different groups of people have hurt me too badly. I will be an individual, an individual who has the ability to move freely…being neither attached or detached from different groups.

Deep connections with others is what drives me. It is what has always driven me. I know, in my heart, that it is something I am good at achieving, with the right mixture of people.

I am me. If you do not like me, that is fine, as I am true to myself – and I hope you are too. If you struggle to be true to yourself, then keep at it, because it is a worthwhile journey – believe me that.

Share love, often.

Your greatness is not what you have, it’s what you give.

Songbird

There is something incredibly comforting about being around people who help you to see the light in the times of darkness. That is a fundamental truth. It is something I am grateful for, eternally.

Even though I was draped in love growing up, it is something we may tend to forget when all is not well inside. Although, if you have watered your inner garden enough times, there should hopefully be a flower or two to guide you through rocky terrains in life.

An analogy came to me, a few weeks back. We are all self-contained houses – everything we need is already within us – and we can be attached to other houses, but ultimately we need to allow ourselves to look after everything that is already inside our own house. From time to time we may need to share resources with the other houses that we are attached to…but never forgetting to keep enough for ourselves. We are not limitless.

Then…we can look within for the light.

Life Lessons at 25

Something has dawned on me recently; it is something that I have known for a long time, but even more so over the last few weeks. People often severely underestimate me.

Whether this is to do with my age, being a woman, or, worse, being deaf, I do not know. What I do know is that I am immensely comfortable in my own skin, even if I do have moments wherein I doubt myself…and even harder moments where it is almost as if everything I have ever learnt has gone out of the window, and I catastrophically view myself in such a critical way. This is human, but it is an incredibly hard part of being human.

Many people underestimate me due to the fact that I spend most of my time in my own head: I am an introvert. For some, they automatically judge me as an extrovert, and in some situations they will be correct, but in my heart of hearts, I am an introvert through and through.

All of my experiences, throughout my whole life, and the teachings of people I love and respect, have helped to make me who I am today. We often do not give ourselves enough credit, but it takes tremendous amounts of courage to admit to ourselves that we are stronger than we believe ourselves to be in our weakest moments. To remember who we really are…well, it’s a beautiful thing, to me.

I have learnt a lot, over the years, about others. I have learnt through both my own actions, and the actions of others. I have learnt from people I respect, who are trained in the psychological field. I have learnt it from books. I have learnt it from being an observer. I have learnt from both children and people twice my age. Three times my age. People the same age as me. Friends who see the world in the same way that I do. Everyone is a teacher, whether they like it or not.

To those who have taught me about the human nature: I say thank you. Thank you for being inexplicably human. People hurt others, I have always known that. I am not a saint, I know when I have hurt others, and when I do, I apologise profusely, from the bottom of my heart. However, to love is to hurt.

When I was 6, I lost someone who was incredibly important to me, and with whom I had a very special connection with. For a 6 year old to have to learn that those we love might not always be with us was not an easy lesson. However, even in the raw pain of it all, I knew I had the power to make those around me smile. That lesson, coupled with the grief, has stayed with me throughout my life. To smile through heartache. To smile through tears. To smile, whilst your heart is being broken so brutally.

Every time someone close to me, or who meant something to me at any point in my life, has passed beyond this world…I feel like that young 6 year old again. My heart aches in a way that is not easily described.

In October, I met with a friend who has grown to mean a lot to me; he has helped me a lot over the last few months, whether he is aware of it or not. His gentle guidance and encouraging words speak to my heart and soul. In the midst of recent events, I have began to mimic behaviours that I do not want to mimic. I refuse to allow others insecurities make me insecure. Each and every person on this earth is an individual. That is a lesson to learn in itself. This gentle soul means more to me than I can put into words, but I hope he knows.

I am immensely lucky to have my soul intertwined with someone who loves me as much as I love him – the boy. Love is the most important thing we can put out into the world. When love is missing from our lives, it can be a lacklustre existence. Love does not solely mean the love that you share with your other half; it is a very expansive word, and a very diverse feeling. Love is what truly makes the world go round. I have a huge amount of love to give, because I am privileged to be loved, truly, by many. That is a beautiful consequence of my own doing. Every act of love will come back to you. Be worthy of the love you receive. You are worthy, especially when you treat the world and the people within it with kindness.

There are a lot of common philosophies that I do not subscribe to:

- An eye for an eye. 

- What goes around comes around.

- Karma.

Instead:

- I will trust others – unless they have given me enough reasons not to do so.

- When trust is broken, it can be repaired – because how much you can trust is a reflection on yourself, not always others.

- When the world treats you badly, you do not give unkindness back to the world, that defeats the point entirely.

- Always be true to yourself.

I feel grateful to be in a position where the people around me are selectively chosen, and I choose wisely. When you open your heart to someone, and they open their heart to you, you form a bond that stays with you for the rest of your life.To be vulnerable is to be strong; it takes a lot of bravery, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Even though I have been betrayed, I will not become like those who do the acts of betrayal. Even though I have had my trust ripped to shreds, I will not throw away the trust I have spent a long time building up with others.

Life, as always, is an eternally developing journey. A journey that teaches us every single day of our lives. Remember that, and you will go far.

“All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.” ~ Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie

The following song has been a favourite since 2008, and means a lot to me:

Keep living. Keep putting your heart out into the world. Under no circumstance do you ever give up on life. If you feel close to doing so, turn to someone you love and trust. Be there for others.

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” ~ Maya Angelou

The Art of Letting Go

Dreaming

There is a strange sort of fear within me at the moment, that I am sure other bloggers/writers experience from time to time. The fear of not really knowing how much to share, and how much to hold back. However, this will not get the best of me. I will fight on.

People; they can be mighty confusing, sometimes…and yet, as with all things, there is always a flip side. Some people are confusing because they choose to make themselves so, whereas for others it is simply a consequence of life itself. As for myself? I do not know, as it is how others perceive me. In an ideal world, I would hope I am not confusing – at least not too much – as I want to share love with as many people as humanely possible. There is far too much pain in this world to go around spreading more, whether small or big, intentionally or not.

Brighton

Life is eternally complicated, depending on how you wish to look at it. You can certainly arm yourself with a breadth of knowledge, to ward off potential threats; but the heart? The heart is not easily protected. It is hard work, to protect such a fragile thing. Even those who profess to be ‘hard’, are often found to be softies underneath it all. I am such a sensitive soul, and this means that in spite of my attempts to shield myself, my heart aches occasionally. At times it is simply a dull ache, and other times it can be almost unbearable.

The easy option is to succumb to the pressure that others mount onto you. The real test, though, lies in how you treat the world when it has been unkind to you. Will you listen to your gentle heart, or will adversity send you down to dark levels? For myself, I know which is true. To know yourself well is a divine accomplishment. It can take time, but it is worth every moment. It can hurt, but then you will learn how to help yourself.

Quilt

Every moment, of every day, has the possibility of being beautiful. The possibility of being something more.

Whilst my heart often aches, I believe it is okay. I care, I love, I give – in my own, unique way. Just as you do, in your own wonderfully unique way. It takes courage to send love out into the world; but first? First you must learn to love yourself. Fully, completely. Once you have got that down, giving love away is effortless.

Wells

Loving yourself means recognising when it is too much. It means talking to those who love you. You cannot possibly attempt to put the world to rights, yourself included, all by yourself. At least, I believe that to be true.

That is something I have struggled with, repeatedly. Talking, out loud, about my feelings…? Hard. I do not like to put my own difficulties onto others, for I am receptive to how difficult life can be for every soul on this earth. I am perceptive to how those I love struggle.

Sometimes I wonder if it is shame. It is an excruciatingly painful emotion, and more often than not it is inflicted by others. Growing up, it was much easier and effortless to pour my emotions into writing. Channel it into poetry. Write it all out. It is a habit that has stayed with me, since I was a young teenager. There are two mediums that have continually brought me ways to express myself: writing and photography. Neither will disappear.

Wells Days

In order to love well, live well, dream well…you must look after yourself well. That, that I can do.

The art of letting go is a difficult art to master, but once it is achieved, life ain’t all that bad. {Of course, some things inflict unbearable pain upon us; but all things pass. There will always be reminders of the pain, and it will not always be easy – just surround yourself with love.}

December brings adventures. I hope yours will too.

Ever yours, Sarah ♥

Pronoia VS Paranoia

Which words should tumble out,
And which should stay inside?
Which will eat my soul up,
And which will caress?

The world
Is a double edged sword.
One moment it loves you;
Then it deals you a punch.

Tears stay inside until
They hurt too much.
Anger corrupts you but
It is easier than love.

People float in and out of
This fluid universe.
Transcending time and space
Is a heavy burden to carry.

Is there such a thing
As right and wrong?
Does it matter anymore
If you’re good or bad?

If love is all you need,
Then that is what I will believe.
Time and time again,
Life tries to tarnish hearts.

Contradictions lay around
Us and within us.
Beauty cannot be seen;
It is felt deep in the heart’s core.

There will be no end to pain
In this lifetime.
It teaches us
About everything.

Remember to let others in,
Let them see into your heart.
This life may be unkind,
But you know better.

Bitter words will not
Break me.
Pronoia will be embraced,
Whilst paranoia disappears.

~ Sarah E Ward 

The Smile

There is a smile of love,
And there is a smile of deceit,
And there is a smile of smiles
In which these two smiles meet.

And there is a frown of hate,
And there is a frown of disdain,
And there is a frown of frowns
Which you strive to forget in vain,

For it sticks in the heart’s deep core
And it sticks in the deep backbone—
And no smile that ever was smil’d,
But only one smile alone,

That betwixt the cradle and grave
It only once smil’d can be;
And, when it once is smil’d,
There’s an end to all misery.

~ William Blake