Sunday, April 6, 2014

It's okay, Grandma.

Grandma likes to be comfortable, and gets cratchity if there's too much noise, or static over music, or especially two kinds of music. Sometimes, I need to withdraw from the fray for a while and knit.  Hi, my name is Liz, and I might be my own grandmother.

For example, here is my ideal bed. Sadly, currently only available in cat sizes. 

Or, I might be moderately highly sensitive (yes, both adjectives are required). HERE'S a quiz if you want to check yourself. As I was happily reading clickbait on the social network that impersonates the internet these days, an article about "highly sensitive people" floated by a couple weeks ago. I lunged for the worm, and the hook was set. Apparently, the primary book on the topic has been on my coffee table for years (but probably not since 1996, when it was published). I feel a little sheepish about not reading it sooner.

The book is The Highly Sensitive Person, by Elaine M. Aron, PhD. My husband picked it up a couple years(!) ago on a random book store trip. He says he read part of it, and it was "good". That's all the encouragement I need, as I will read anything in front of me. It was cereal boxes, back in the pre-internet days.

So, I read it, and it was very reassuring. I'm not prematurely elderly. There's a name for it. And it's okay to take the time and solitude I need to feel comfortable.

Dr. Aron has a very kind writing voice, and I liked that there was research and field experience to back her suggestions. The book is broken into sections, to assist with feeling comfortable in a general lifestyle, at work, in relationships, etc.

I will note some of the exercises in the book felt a little too woo woo for me. That's a lot of woo woo, if you've read me before. I'm quite willing to make a vision board or set an intention while de-cluttering a room. But I'm not very comfortable with visualizing myself as a fussy infant, and then having a conversation with myself (as myself now, with myself the infant) to find out what my needs are.  Yeah. That's not working for me, even though I tried.

I've always been puzzled about the introverted extrovert, or the extroverted shy person that I seem to be. This concept of a personality trait seems tie it together better. And not that it matters what you call it, but everyone wants to know that they belong, and this seems like a good solution for me and many of my friends. There's no longer a reason to refer to myself in the third person as "Grandma". I can just be my sensitive self.