I’m sitting at a bar. Alone.
I was working late and I wanted pizza so of course I Google-mapped “pizza” and here I am at a wood-fire pizza grill and bar.
If I could eat pizza every single day I would. Now I bet a lot of people roll their eyes when they hear people say things like that. Thinking, “no one could eat the same thing every day and still enjoy it.” But I totally could, especially if challenged, because I am a very determined person when I want to be. And if it wouldn’t jeopardize my health I would accept any pizza eating challenge you could give me. The normal pizza intake for me right now is about two days a week, but I think about pizza everyday.
But pizza is not the point here.
I am alone. Remember, alone at a bar? Okay okay, the bar part is just for shock value. I am sitting at a table. The main reason being I don’t want to have to talk to the bartender. I want to be alone. I love to be alone. Sometimes, I love to be with people. I wish I wanted to be with people more. I remember a joke from years ago on last comic standing. He said something to the effect of, “I’m like a battery operated screwdriver, 12 hours of charge for 30 minutes of use.” If it takes you more than half a second to get the joke then you are not an introvert or an HSP.
What the heck is an HSP? Let me tell you, because I am actually more of an HSP than an introvert.
In an article written by Laurie M. Stewart, she summarizes some of the latest research on HSP. She writes:
In her book The Highly Sensitive Person, Dr. Aron explains that 15 percent to 20 percent of all people are born with a central nervous system that is more sensitive to sensory stimuli than that of the rest of the population. In simpler terms, an HSP responds strongly to sensations like sight, sound and touch. Even internal events like pain, emotions and thoughts are felt more profoundly by HSPs.
The difference is believed by Aron and other experts to be biological and present at birth. Harvard psychologist Jerome Kagan refers to the difference as high versus low reactivity. Kagan’s research pinpointed specific areas in the brain as more active and more excitable in highly reactive individuals. Input such as a sound or a sight that causes little effect in most people may arouse the highly sensitive person’s nervous system enough to raise his heart rate and breathing. He not only notices—he may feel frazzled by it.
Keep in mind that Aron, Kagan and other researchers refer to this trait as a difference in temperament, not a defect.
Great, I am so glad it is not a defect because I have plenty of those. It does explain why I can’t watch even a Disney Movie or why I can’t watch a sad movie because I grieve like I am actually there. It explains A LOT!
An HSP can have the following traits:
-easily overwhelmed or frazzled (ME!)
-startle easily (ME!)
-often need to be alone (ME!)
-more sensitive to pain, caffeine and medication (ME!)
-easily affected by others’ moods (ME!)
-uncomfortable with loud noises, bright lights, strong smells or lots of activity (ME!)
-upset easily by change of most kinds (ME!)
-deeply moved by music, art, nature, etc. (ME!, except for some art, mainly nature and music)
BIG PROBLEM, alone is not my season of life right now or the near future. Back to life, back to reality. Noise and chaos is my season of life. None of my kids want to be alone (shocker!). They want to be with me. They want to be on me and talking to me at the same time. That is how it should be. I don’t want it any other way. Except for sometimes, when I become overwhelmed and want to be alone.
But I’m not going to kick and scream and cry like a baby about it. (Anymore, that was immature that I did that. It had to do with my inability to cope.) Jachin gives me grace and I runaway sometimes to recharge. Even working can recharge me. Tonight I was supposed to work until 9, but I had worked until 9 last night and I was missing the kids. I was recharged enough to go home early and got to see this amazing performance that the kids had been working on. It included boxes. I swear by giving kids boxes, they come up with amazing box creations. Sometimes I give them tons of boxes and markers and glue and whatever else I can find just so that I can have a few minutes ALONE while they are making their box creations.
Of course, I only want to be alone on my terms. If I want to be with other people and no one is available, well then, I am lonely. Of course.
My older sister is good about pointing out when to get over it, and to this she would definitely roll her eyes and be like, “I’m so over you wanting to be alone. Just be all in with what you’ve got.” That is her strength, she is all in, at whatever day, week, or season she is in. She is the opposite of HSP, she is BIOP (I just made that up, she is a Bring It On Person). Sometimes this overwhelms me about her, but it keeps me in line for sure. I would be ten times the hermit I am now if it wasn’t for her. She signs me up for things and makes me go. She will actually register me for events and pay the fee and then tell me what time she is picking me up for it. It is awesome!
There are references in Scripture where Jesus withdrew to pray, and references where He withdrew with His disciples. Withdrawing to pray makes sense. Withdrawing to be with your “tribe”, or “community group”, that makes sense too. I have certain people in my life that when I am with them it recharges me as if I was alone. They recharge me. And so does prayer. But I am certainly not entitled to time alone. My kids and my husband and my friends and family and community are a gift. What a waste it would be to throw the gift away for the sake of “being alone”.
So I’m highly sensitive with ADD and Lupus. I get very overwhelmed and anxious and literally feel the need to hide. But even with all that I want to be content when I am with people and when alone. And I am certainly content with pizza.
So I will eat pizza with people and sometimes alone. Thankfully my kids like to eat pizza with me.
*Books I will be reading in the near future, meaning this week, this month, or in my life time. I don’t want to over promise and under deliver.
1. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
3. One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp