As a child I sensed I was different and somehow set apart from the herd.  Although I sought to camouflage myself, sometimes my emotional sensibility would leak out.  I didn’t know what sensory overload signified back then, yet I vividly recall how too much stimuli could leave me overwhelmed, incoherent, and exhausted.  On top of that list I also had few social skills.  In my family of origin communication was overshadowed by emotional upheaval and the need to keep up appearances.

My life was a mix of childlike joy and competitive misery.  I remember summer vacations, the playful titillation of sunshine and breeze on my icy cold wet skin after a long swim, trekking home with my best friend — our fingertips dipped in bright orange from synthetic cheese puffs. However these and other Disneyesque scenes interspersed themselves among many boot-camp segments where I had no idea what was being asked of me. Coaches and fellow players yelling or ridiculing me for my latest blunders. I never questioned these uncivil acts, but assumed they were fully justified.

Although school life dragged on in its tiresome/tedious way, one day something unusual happened.  I don’t remember what the speech was about nor the name of the student. I just remember the effect her storytelling had upon me. We were in third grade. She was a slim East Indian girl with charming Asian eyes and an intelligent sounding soft voice. I remember her unassuming literary style, disarming me with her playfulness and uncommon wisdom. After that speech, a subtle creative process of mitosis began. A love for words awakened. Little by little, I started enjoying classic literature, creative writing and dabbling in motivational talks.

Later as an adult, I began reading about the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) and how many HSPs are creative/gifted. The challenging side however, is they also have neurotransmitters making them vulnerable to emotionally intense environments. I was most relieved to finally view my childhood through this benevolent and insightful perspective.

~ vincenzo

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