Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Heart of an Empath

I am not inclined to post the work of other writers. But I read this, and it struck home on every point. I felt the truths in this in every fiber of my being. I have tried to explain why I avoid large gatherings, and most social interaction, but my pithy attempts fall flat. I try to make people understand why I have lived alone for so long, it is self preservation, actually. I avoid confrontation of any kind because it causes a tremor through my body that leaves pain, nausea, stress, anxiety, insomnia, and anguish in its wake.  Having the heart of an empath is painful, and a constant cause of distress, even as it makes my world a wondrous place. Here it is, written in glorious prose.  (*I apologize for the weird formatting*)

Written by Naomi Hon

"The word ordinary ceases to exist in your dictionary.

    Every experience resides on either end of an extreme.
    Every day you see things that evoke so much emotion, your mood changes shades the same amount of times the sky does. It yo-yos between streaks of blue and glimmers of yellow—but never without silver linings of glitter. Life is but a giant paint palette of emotions, its colors too obscure to separate.
    You’ll find poetry in every conversation you have, sheltered amongst breaths and pauses, sideways glances and tones in voices. No one else sees, hears or feels it. But you always do.
    Your fingertips trace scars on lovers instead of perfect features.
    You see stories in the eyes of passersby on the street because you see souls instead of irises. You brush past them wondering who they love, what they’ve lost, where they’re going and who they’re trying to be.            Everyone and everything has a story you’re dying to memorize.
    Your heart bleeds at the sight of beggars because you know that somewhere under those rags lies a treasured item they’ve muffled roars of hunger to keep. It could be anything—a rusty gold locket, an oversized coat handed down by a deceased parent,or a crumpled picture of a loved one they’ve lost.
    Children in elevators fill your heart with so much joy, you always smile just a little wider the second their parents notice your gaze. You see the exhaustion in their polite smile, and picture the love they put into raising their children every day.
    Oil spills in gutters look like mini rainbows. Raindrops on windshields look like fallen stars. Fizzy drinks in glasses look like the evening sea. There is no such thing as a mundane day, and boredom is a problem you’ll never be plagued with.
    You enter rooms filled with strangers and feel suffocated by the invisible sparks of electricity flickering in the air. You can pinpoint who’s fighting or flirting without knowing either party from 20 feet away. Like a wet sponge, your body has this tendency of soaking up all the energy around you. Negativity gets sucked into your pores, and affects you so much it almost always ruins your day.
    Not caring just isn’t an option.
    No one has ever done you wrong, no matter how bad the crime, without you understanding why they did so. Friends seek your solace because they know you’ll help them realize what the person they’re angry at could be going through. This makes it virtually impossible for you to detest anyone. So you end up detesting yourself instead for never not understanding why.
    But this very trait enables you to love the broken. You refuse to believe everyone isn’t good at heart even though this permanent naivety is usually what ends up stinging you.
    To have the heart of an empath is both a blessing and a curse.
    You have no control over the intensity of things you feel, or how other people’s feelings affect you. But empaths were born with copious amounts of compassion and endless empathy for a reason. In a world where people numb their feelings and ignore chaos, empaths are there to demand that feelings be felt.
To see the beauty in the details, and in sadness, too."

Monday, April 13, 2015


    I am feeling sad and wounded this evening. For no reason other than the fear and panic of putting myself out there, heart and soul, risking the pain and suffering of living life. I have been living, playing, enjoying life body and soul. But there is the risk, and I teeter on the edge. I feel fear rise up in my throat, tears burn my eyes, and a pressure in my chest. I can't help the knee jerk reaction.
    I wish I could take my fragile heart completely out of the equation. Oh, I do try, trust me. But as anyone who knows me will tell you, I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am not one to hold my heart in check, keep it reined in. That is not my nature. My heart wants to run wild and free, unrestrained by convention or etiquette.  I want it to be able to go haring off across the countryside, fearless, and maniacal. I wish I could turn it loose  to run rampant and unfettered.  My heart is a fearsome thing. It is huge, hot, and careless. It has no common sense, no concept of self-preservation. It will dash out into traffic, leap over the edge into the abyss, dive into deep waters, run with scissors, and play with matches.
    It is up to me to prevent catastrophe. As much as I hate it, I have to be the responsible adult in the relationship, because Heart certainly won't. If I don't watch out, Heart will burn down the house.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Retreat? No. Not This Time

    Last night I put myself through a brutal three hour workout. That in and of itself is not unusual. Not unusual at all. I was lonely, and angry with myself for being lonely, and needed to burn that anger and loneliness into the stratosphere with sweat and pain. That is not unusual either. I know I choose to live alone, and live a secluded life. So the loneliness really is on me.
    I do try, really. I put myself out there, meet new people, seek play partners. That is not difficult. I tell myself that satisfying the physical is enough. Brief interludes of  adult companionship, played out on a level playing field with spoken contract, rules, and expectations firmly in place. It is spoken aloud that these are not exclusive relationships, quite the opposite in fact. Not exclusive, though that is not my nature, being hardwired to be monogamous, so exclusivity on my end is a given. No risk of a broken heart, for mine has been broken too hard and too often. That is what I tell myself. But the risk is there. Social media helps fan the flames of discontent and sadness. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. It is too easy to see why plans are changed, or weekends are unavailable. Too easy to see friends confessing love and adoration for their chosen partners. Too easy to see as they search for more. Too easy to see plans being made, other promises to other people. I can lie to myself, but I won't. I can tell myself that there are other reasons for silence, emails left hanging without response, texts unanswered. But I won't lie to myself, not anymore. Lies, even to myself, are a sure road to devastation on one level or another.
    This is what sparked my anger last night. Anger at myself. No one else. No one else is lying to me, and that is a pleasant change. But I don't know that I am strong enough to face honesty. I don't know how strong is the armor carefully constructed around my heart. Not strong enough. Because I want to lie to myself, tell myself that there is love and romance out there for me. Something beyond friendship based on mutual desire and kink. I want to think that somewhere in the world is someone who will love me, want me, choose me. Choose Me. Someone who will choose me above all else. It is a silly, romantic notion that has managed to hold onto a tiny corner of my heart all these years. That silly notion that someone, someday will decide that I am The One. That deranged notion that someday I will find love. And it makes me angry that I let myself still believe this, since time and again I am proven wrong. Angry, tearful, lonely.
    This morning the anger is gone, with sore muscles to remind me of the intensity of my night. There is residual loneliness though. A residue that clings like a light coating of ash that seeps into every crevice, and can never seem to be completely swept away. So what is there to be done? Retreat from the world once again in a vain attempt to protect myself from pain? No, pain is just pain. At least that is the one lie I still allow myself. Retreat? No. Not this time. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Weird Country

    It is no secret that I struggle with my demons. They ride my back even in the best of times. True, there are times when my riders are light and unobtrusive. Other times they are the weight of the world. I have kept them starved and lightweight as best I can, but they have been feeding off of my stress and insecurities through the winter. I have begun to really feel their presence and attempts at regaining control. I fight them though. I get the bit in my teeth and refuse to relinquish control, but it is a losing battle. They saw at the reins until my mouth is sore and bloodied. They whisper hurtful things in my ear, attacking my self-esteem, my creativity, my sense of self, and optimism. They are so adept at finding the tiniest of chinks in my armor and inserting their clawed fingers, wriggling them in until they hit flesh and nerves. Little bastards, always looking for those vicious opportunities.
    This winter has been weird country for me. In the past I have had a job to keep me focused and on track, even as it has seemed to contribute by way of stress and sleep deprivation. Now, without the daily, Monday through Friday Grind I am adrift and floundering a bit. I am such a creature of habit and routine that when there is no schedule I seem incapable of truly taking advantage. On the plus side, I am sleeping enough, finally. But I feel as if I am squandering valuable time. Yes, I am staying busy, getting shit done, training twice daily, cooking epic meals for myself, meeting new friends, making a few pretty things to garner some cash. Despite the sleep, despite the training, despite the nutrition, I am still slipping deeper into that grey zone I am all too familiar with.
    Days flirting with the abyss, seeing the grey morass swirling around my feet. Hearing the sibilant hissing of my demons as they attempt to assert their dominance. Days such as these require just the gentlest of prods to send me teetering over the edge. There have been numerous such gentle prods over the last few weeks. Nothing cataclysmic or devastating, but more like the drip of water that wears away stone. I try to meet each little disappointment head on, instead I seem to take it on the chin. The last few days have seen me wanting to slink off to my room, crawl under my down comforter, turn off the light, curl into a little ball, and cry silently into my pillow. Despite new friendships I am feeling isolated, alone and lonely. I hate it when I let myself feel lonely. But I can't even tell you how often I have been alone and lonely in a crowd of people, and honestly, that is far worse than solitude.
     So, as usual, I sit at my keyboard, analyzing and dissecting, trying to bore down into the heart of the matter. Hoping, wishing to find the cause, the root, the blight at the heart of it all. Vivisection of me for all the world to see. Does it help? No, not really. Too often I have typed with a steady drip of tears spattering the backs of my hands even as I peck out a steady stream of insanity. Fortunately, those days are mostly past, but they still loom up out of the darkness for a surprise visit. Now, today, I am trying with every fiber of my being to get myself in check, silence the demons that seem hellbent on pushing me back over that familiar edge. It is a trip I have taken often enough that I recognize the path, and fight as best I can not to be dragged back down it again. I know I have the skills and weapons to put up a memorable fight, but g'damn I am tired of this constant battle. Once more into the breach, boys.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


    20/20 hindsight, older and wiser, time lending perspective. Call it what you will, but I have learned a valuable lesson over the last few years. Consider what to all eyes appears to be the Alpha Male: physically strong, swaggering, playing rough games, full of bravado and stories of exploits long past. These men want the world to see them as the strong, intimidating Alphas they think they are. I used to believe this. And yet even as I believed I still saw the chinks in their macho armor. Yes, strong and loud in the company of others of their ilk, but timid and indecisive in the real world. They have to tell you they are dominant, but they can't prove it with actions.
    This last year has taught me a different perspective. There is "alpha" and then there is dominant. The so-called alpha wishes he were dominant, and maybe within his small circle he is. But take him outside of his comfort zone and the only way he can prove his dominance is with unnecessary volume and acts of physical prowess. Yes, there is strength, but it is not dominance. I knew this, in my heart of hearts.
    But it was only recently, with a single sentence, that the whole concept fully gelled in my mind, "I won't be topped by anyone." This may not mean much to most people, but I knew the truth behind this simple statement. It is not about physical prowess, displays of physical strength, intimidating and bullying those that are smaller or weaker, loud stories oft repeated of past glories, arrogance. Those are the acts of a wannabe, a pretender to the throne, the sheep in wolf's clothing. I have learned that dominance has nothing to do with physical size and strength, but of inner confidence and power. Control and understanding, intelligence and discipline, honor and loyalty, pride and respect, self control and self respect. Tops and bottoms, Dominants and submissives. Simple words, complex relationships.
    It is interesting what you learn, stepping outside of the comfort zone. Amazing what you get when you understand yourself, accept who you are, and communicate openly with one who can appreciate who I am in my heart. It only took me a lifetime to find acceptance and understanding for who I truly am. And along with acceptance I found true respect, honesty, courtesy, and trust.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pruning Apple Trees

    I was pruning my old apple trees today and it struck me just how much the task is  great analogy for my life. Up on a ladder, precariously perched, wrenching muscles as I try to cut branches too thick for my tools, hair tangled in branches, getting poked in the eye. Honestly, I don't really know what I'm doing. I am totally winging it. Lopping, hacking, cutting away dead limbs, thinning out the excess. Trying to get to healthy growth. Hoping that maybe I am not doing more harm than good. No way of knowing if this will bear fruit, or not. Balancing on the "this is not a step" step, leaning too far out, straining, the voice in my skull screaming at me that I am going to fall and break myself. The dogs are milling about below, and I know that if I fall they are the only ones who will notice. And what good will they do as I lay broken and berating myself for my own stupidity? They will jump on my head, drool, slobber, and generally make nuisances of themselves. But none of them knows how to call for help. "What is it, Lassie? Timmy fell down the well?" Nope, not my lunkheads. Then, if I manage to not fall off the ladder and split my skull, very likely I will step off and into dog shit, trip over the cut branches, and fall face down in the mud.
    Then the sun flares in my eyes, and I feel a soft breeze on my cheek. The calm solitude of my life washes over me for a moment, erasing cares and loneliness. I know that even if I don't get many apples, I will get a lot of blossoms. The bees will be happy. I guess I can be content with that.

Despite The Sun

   Thankfully the weather has been good, because I am definitely going through a rough patch. It always happens at this time of year, and I do all I can to head it off at the pass, but it doesn't take much to derail me. In this case, a very minor case of a broken heart. No, nothing dramatic, just the end of a friendship that was fun while it lasted. The downside comes about in the form of a constant, nagging question: Why am I never The One? In this particular case we both knew that we were not cut out to be partners, soulmates, or even a long term situation. We had been open and honest from the first moment, which is a new and wonderful experience for me. But having it come to an end, knowing he has moved on to someone that he deems a potential life partner, and possibly "The One" has left me just a little bereft. Why am I never The One? There is not a single relationship in my life that I can point to and say "of all the people in the world, he found me and fought to keep me." No one makes gallant efforts to woo me, and keep me. I am always that Girl on The Side, the girl to make merry with while waiting for someone more suitable. Second choice after being rejected by numero uno. The rebound. A stopgap measure. It makes me question my desirability, especially as I have gotten older. I've cried about it before, feeling left behind, not good enough, not the right fit. I don't cry about it anymore, those are wasted tears, Honestly, of those that have cast me aside, allowed me to drift away, or downright abused my love and loyalty, not a one of them deserved me. I know this. I know they were not the right fit, and could not have satisfied me. In the end, no matter how I might have tried, I would (or have) walked away. That knowledge doesn't make me any less lonely during the brief moments when I am too busy to feel lonely. Yes, Pity Party For One.
    I know this feeling will pass. My heart will take a day or two to stop aching. I have built my armor well, it is durable with nary a chink. Someday though, I would like a chance to set aside the armor. Let myself go unprotected. Feel the warm breezes of freedom on my soul. Let my heart wander free and off-leash. But not today. Not tomorrow. Possibly not ever.