Knock Knock – Who’s It?
Exploring Highly Sensitive Identity
Knock, knock – Who’s it?
Knock, knock – … (silence)
Knock, knock – … (silence)
Knock, knock – … (silence) … (silence)
… a quiet voice whispering: “Enchanted, YOUR HEART – the misfit!
Now, please, sit down, breath & listen to me.”
Wait! Seriously? No joke following?
A furious head jumping in: “Misfit??! How dare you. What does that mean, misfit? Misfit to what? Misfit to whom? Misfitter!? Ridiculous. Missing fit to what exactly? Naaaa, shut up – not true!” – I might have been a small girl of 8, the first time I recall this sort of harsh thoughts appearing inside.
“I feel sad and exhausted.” the heart said that day, many years later.
And that well known train of irritating feelings started rolling. “What can possibly be wrong?” I asked myself puzzled. “Am I not happy??? I damn should be!”
Cause everyone around seemed so utterly happy with that safe standard life path the majority was walking, everyone seemed so clear about – apart from that not much questioning left, it also seemed. The golden target route of the ‘privileged’: school, university degree & career, be a prissy member of society and WORK, stay away from trouble, some trial relationships are fair, then optimally marry, stay married anyhow, get children, enjoy compressed travel relaxation 4-6 weeks a year, be happy about it, be happy you have a job, enter mid-life bench vice, then labour uselessness phase, system resignation – DIE.
Check, check, check, double-check, work in progress… ok, the marriage and children part I had somehow skipped unwanted for now but one day, yeah one day, I will certainly be able to check that, too. For sure!
Well: “It is what it is.” – they kept saying, didn’t they. “It is what it is.” I listened and tried to follow the safe route. But inwardly, I kept constantly having this inner dialogue on a million faceted feelings and questions. Why is it ‘just’ what it is? Why does it have to be only like that? … ever since.
Yes! Deep, deep down it always FELT like being a misfit somehow. But why? That glorious “answer” to the “why is it ‘just’ what it is?” and why it seemed just not to fit for me did not become any clearer despite the million times I had asked it to myself and others.
But why this inner urge that did not stop? It just did not stop. What was it? There were in fact so many endlessly interesting things I was insatiably curious to know about, to investigate, to practice and master, to excel in, EXPERIENCE. Every time I started a new job, a new language, a new international project, a new relationship, a new overseas trip, I felt so naturally enthusiastic, overly energised, so at perfect fit and flux. Life happened and sometimes the experience left me. There it was the fit feeling, but why, why didn’t it last?
“Stop trying”, some said, “it is what it is” and “it always has been like that, just accept it. Come on, grow up! From 30 onwards things are just like that. The fun, light, vivid part is over! Get over it.” Dense, everything felt so dense sometimes. What remained was that constant feeling of personal frustration to see, sense, envision, feel what potentially could grow from any “what is” into “it is what it is 2.0”. May it be in people, job matters, or else. So many times, I reached that same point privately and professionally. But it “is what it is” in most cases just did not grow. It stayed in stony lifeless silence what is was. Not moving anywhere. Not moving the slightest bit. Sometimes l stayed longer, sometimes shorter but I never gave up hoping. To the point that inside I literally felt buried at the age of 37 – despite the fact that I was quite busy back then by unconsciously keeping up the masks of ok-ness.
Worst it got by feeling that ugly no-fit when it came to what was told living life should be, must be. It gave me at the very core the impression that there is no alternative when it comes to essential life decisions hand in hand with social acknowledgement. The one who decides somehow different – somehow is odd. Why then question it? This should be, that should be, should, would, could – and the worst: must. My rational brain section yelling: “stop questioning, stop it!! … because “it is what it is.” Growing into “adulthood” it is called. Icing emotionally numb, I call it today.
And I did it “all”, professionally “out”performed in best faith that one day that feeling of fitting would finally come. Personally gave everything when in a relationship and failed from time to time. Notwithstanding, more or less I faithfully walked one of the classy tracks, excelled in many ways, failed, learned, excelled, failed, learned, excelled, and on and on I went. Year by year, however, the hope lasted to finally “fit in” and live the perfect match in the “it is what it is”-world. I unconsciously absorbed to believe myself that the “it is what it is”, everyone was talking about, is and can be THE ONLY REFERENCE. In or out. Black or white. Either you are above or below that strange invisible line of achievement ‘value’ which society, colleagues, family, friends unspoken cede to you – and the way down, my darlin’, goes quicker than you think, so you better decide yourself where you want to be and play the game best at utmost effort complying with this “it is what it is”. So I did it. Ran conventionally smooth with the increasing stress by putting endless energetic effort in it, and a sense of sensing got flatter and flatter. I morphed into a 3 operator element functioning function but hey, I functioned perfect. Functioning, adapting, reflecting, SELF-OPTIMIZING mainly pushed by outside subtle and not so subtle judgements.
What I had always felt, deep down, was that weird common sense of accepted harshness in the way we treat each other emotionally ignorant. I felt it everywhere. Everywhere. A dilemma as I did not even notice that it had an icing impact on me, too. With just a few intimate, deep exceptions it became just normal. Behaving, playing safe, playing according to that dogmatic net of ‘musts’, becoming more and more rigid myself just to keep everything up and running “perfectly smooth”. But something is not right, I felt. Funny enough that I used to be a well-paid expert on the company side designing global communication technology that aims at simplifying us virtually into even more standardised boxes. I loved it. I believed in it.
Me being an empath ambivert ‘misfit’ with no clue such “thing” existed. From youth constantly fired by a restless yet sharp mind, and at the same time held in shyness not to be rocked in this delicate intensity of feeling almost no one seemed to share or even understand. Sometimes processing on aware level a million details at a time without a clear idea it is so.
“Stop being so complex, you think too complex, you are (too) complex, why so intense, better be simpler, think simpler, learn to be appropriately moderate! Everything else is a waste of time for you and others. You really better learn to adapt if you want to stay in the game.” – I had heard similar sentences so many times. Every time for me it was a heart-cutting pain sharp as razor blades, sometimes just triggered by looking daggers. It had not even to be expressed aloud. I simply felt others, sensed them by every verbal or non-verbal impulse entering my high sensory pores. And with it I felt more and more miserable, judged, not ok. But, hey, what was wrong with me exactly? I did not get it. My mind did not get it. Neither did my heart. Nor anywhere close I “got it” for the two getting in sublime tango together.
So guess what, even by champion rat race running,
The 'never enough' sensation never became still.
That nasty inner sensation pushing: “Dear, nice try, but look further. There is no forever-fit in here, but maybe there.” I mean profoundly fitting for an undefined long period of time, even if there were times were I honestly was “convinced” that now things would fall into “fit”, and finally stay at “fit”. The more I perfected in wearing the “it is what it is”-masks, one after the other, the more I started pretending it is not so and the more fretful I got underneath. I ignored to look at the fretfulness. For that which must not can not be. Cause it did not fit in “my” worldview of doing things right. Stop, correction here, of doing the right things right and perfect! Cause with it everything was perfectly fine, everything! The more and quicker the finances stabilised in prosperity and materialistic abundance, in fact the more fretful I became in those very few times of deep rest and silence.
So I felt a vague urge to “fill” those fretful times with headless consumption, searching for affectionate loyalty, and travelling, travelling, travelling. A restless heart. The extensive travelling, however, at least profoundly soothed my intuitive yearning … for … natural personal growth. Growth, that always meant for me to be in fruitful and meaningful interaction with as many passionate people, perspectives, ideas, cultures, life-styles as possible. Something that seemed so deadly dimmed in every day’s rat race life. Every single country, person, situation, breath-taking landscape in this magnificent world gave back to me another precious gift. The gift of pure heartfelt inspiration. Retrieving those rare diamond deep human connections all around the globe. Oh, how much this makes my heart bounce in gratitude just by the lovely memory of it.
Then one day, after a longer period of stepping off grid by travelling through Latin- and South America for intense inner work, the fog slowly lifted. I started observing it all from a vastly different perspective: “Yes, dear, it is what it is. Being and feeling different does NOT MEAN WRONG. No matter how many claim different, it is merely talking from a personal perspective. One of many possible. As such also just a moment’s perspective. That ‘is what it is’. Not more, not less.”
Only even 2 years later, I could clearly feel:
My heart's 'value' is not tradable.
And with it came the clear, highly liberating inner firm decision: I will no longer mask myself. Not any longer squeeze me in consensus for an uptight fit into any emotionally dysfunctional common sens(e)ing.
Life is to live. To live is to feel, grow and share.
In another year’s process, I got highly aware that all modern hierarchical surroundings are mostly fear and control driven. Like all other beings on this planet we are a natural part of our micro or macro ambiance, do influence it and are being influenced by it on conscious and unconscious levels. A socially fairly accepted suppression of any natural instinct of mind and heart, however, leads to the psychological dysfunctional result that pulls us in a state of constant stress, fearful acceptance and survival mode. Puts our organisms first psychically then physiologically in constant inner fight & flight mode.
That ever life changing inner answer for me was:
A HIGHLY SENSITIVE MISFIT’S FIT IS THE HEALTHY EXPRESSION OF 'NOT' BEING A STANDARD FIT.
Magically, life became a light fit the moment I stopped fitting and expressed it freely.
With it, peaceful inside serenity beyond words diffused.
As “simple” as that.
Yes, it is certainly an assertive action to make any kind of inside move. Whatever smallish it may be. That highly individual path to personal authenticity can be easier than expected. I call it mental & emotional fitness training like we would strengthen our body’s to stay healthy and vital. It means (en)courage(ment) to become individually clearer, and be first and foremost willing to acknowledge old, dysfunctional beliefs that are no longer serving you. Become willing to feel, freely feel and sense again. To then make consciously space for something new, stable and uniquely fit-feeling. By far it does not always have to be the big move, for me it was, but I can assure whichever expansion in personal perspective it is you willingly aim, it does lead towards a healthy feeling of personal freedom and serenity which can only flourish intrinsically from inside.
Knock, knock … Who’s there?
I’ve had a sore hand from knocking!
“Thank you so much for listening.” – my heart giggled.
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