Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Paper-Thin Heart


Oh, God, yes, I am.

When you look at me, you'll see every emotion flicker across my face. When you talk to me, you'll know exactly where I stand. My heart is out in the open, unguarded and vulnerable, destined to be broken time and again.

In the past, I have struggled with this side of myself, even tried to change it. It's not a part of my identity that I'm proud of or even remotely like. Being sensitive is no picnic. It makes me feel weak, idiotic, paranoid.

I flinch at things that most people wouldn't even acknowledge, bleed from words that most people would simply ignore. I cry at the silliest things, get my feelings hurt over trivial matters.

And I hate it.

I've tried to grow thick skin. Or a backbone. Or even balls. But I've found that my sensitivity, my vulnerable heart is nearly impossible to change.

For a long time, I worried that this would be my downfall when chasing my dream of becoming a writer. After all, I told myself, a writer has to face both criticism and rejection. How did I expect to make it as a writer when the slightest thing hurt my feelings, caused me to doubt myself and my abilities?

I voiced these feelings to a very dear friend, a friend whom I look up to for her exceptional talents and writing ability. This friend had listened to me rant and cry countless times. She even seemed to understand my feelings, and she helped me. I don't know if she even realizes how much she helped me. But she did.

This friend said to me (and I'm paraphrasing; sorry if I butcher your wise words, Kelli!) that being sensitive and being a talented writer go hand in hand. And I thought about what she said. And I analyzed her words and meaning, and I decided that she was absolutely right.

I hate being sensitive. It's true. Sometimes there's absolutely nothing worse. But you know what I love? I love being passionate. I love being affected by the people around me (be they good or bad). I love being a girl with a huge heart, that sometimes feels TOO MUCH. I love it because it makes me who I am. It gives me the capacity to empathize and sympathize and relate to people. It allows me to understand emotion, to feel what others feel. To get angry and hurt and happy. To experience life. And then to write about it.

Yes, I'm very sensitive. You might even say I have a paper-thin heart, but I believe that this heart will carry me places. I believe that this heart, though it may have a few bruises, will see me through pain and sorrow, because I believe that this heart, this huge, delicate heart, makes experiencing the joys of life that much better. Because when you have an overwhelming capacity to feel pain, you also have an overwhelming capacity to feel happiness...and as paper-thin as it may be, my heart is full to overflowing with happiness.

So how about you? Do you have a paper-thin heart?

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