Monday, July 21, 2014

Absolutely.

For any of you who know me personally, you know that I worry about all of the small things. I am seriously the biggest worrywart of all time, and I frequently find that I work myself into a tizzy when, at the end of the day, worrying accomplished nothing other than giving me anxiety and frustration.

Yes, there are problems that warrant anxious worrying, but it's incredibly important to recognize that normally the problems that arise are not worthy of energy spent on worrying.

Being able to differentiate between the two is a skill that I'm working on at the moment. I fail most of the time, but at least I can recognize that my judgement is less than accurate when it comes to these sort of circumstances. It's a start, right?

How about you? Are you a worrywart?

Peace.
Stef.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Energy Vampires Are the Bane of My Existence

"You need to grow a backbone."

"Why are you being so sensitive? It's not that big of a deal."

"How do you know that? That's so creepy."

I cannot tell you how many times the above statements and questions (among many, many others with similar sentiments) have been tossed in my direction, oftentimes due to ignorance and/or lack of understanding.

Before I continue, I guess I should explain the idea of empathy and list out some basic empathic traits.

WHAT IS AN EMPATH?

As detailed in the above definition, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person (or sometimes animals, and, in even weirder cases, inanimate objects... more on that in another post) with or without actually having gone through what led to the creation of the emotion.

For example, when I come in to work for the day, I don't have to ask how everyone is or what the day has been like. All I have to do is stand in the room for a moment and allow myself to feel. It's a strange thing to say, I know, but that's the best way I can describe it.

Suddenly, I am flooded by the emotions of all of my coworkers, and I can tell you exactly what the general prevailing emotion of the day has been and whether or not the rest of the day is going to be good or bad. On particularly potent days, I can hone in on the specific emotions of each coworker, but I tend to guard myself from that as it can be incredibly overwhelming and draining.

Oftentimes, empaths appear to be aloof or disconnected with the world around them, but that is oftentimes because the world is bombarding them at any given moment with sensory overload. There is so much going on that it's nearly impossible to function at a normal level because they are trying to process all of the senses they are feeling.

SIDE NOTE: As a person who has lived in New York City, 
let me tell you: being an empath in a big city is NOT easy.

MISCONCEPTIONS

A common misconception is that empathetic people absorb the emotions of the people and things that surround them, but in truth, "absorb" isn't so much the best word to use here. Those emotions are not ours. We cannot claim them, but we are aware of them. We feel them almost as if they were our own; we just don't know where they came from. At least, we don't know their origin when we are first experiencing and getting to know our empathic nature.

It can be very confusing and off-putting to walk into a room and suddenly feel inexplicably distraught when you were just prancing around happily with the Indiana Jones theme song playing in your head moments earlier. At first, you wonder if you're bipolar. What is wrong with me? But you can't place what caused the sudden change in mood. That is, until you meet the person that is actually feeling the emotion you're sensing.

They have it worse off than you, but you're capable of getting on their level and relating with them when others perhaps could not. It's a tool, yes, and a valuable one, but it's not always a great thing.

DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!

Something that I have to keep an eye out for on a daily basis is the Energy Vampire. Now, I know this sounds like something out of the Twilight series, but bear with me... Energy Vampires are not sparkly stalkers but instead are people who cannot see anything in the world except their existence in it. Ideas like empathy are very difficult for them, because if they haven't experienced it then they simply don't understand.

It might seem like I'm trashing these people or that I believe myself to be better than them, but that's not it at all. I just know what it's like to be around these people, and I know what I feel like directly after having been around them for an extended period of time. It literally feels like I have just run a marathon at an all-out sprint, and I can barely get the energy to throw myself on my bed to sleep.

SO... YOU'RE AWESOME?

Some might view me posting this as an attempt to bring attention to how awesome I think I am ("Oh, look at me, I am an empath, which means I am just oh-so-much-more in tune with all of the emotions of the world than everyone else is..."), but that's not it at all.


Being an empath is exhausting. 

There is never a moment's rest, and I am not emotionally capable of putting all of the feels to rest. It's partly why I have remained single for most of my life. Being in a relationship - especially a romantic one - is daunting all by onesies, but it's exceedingly difficult for me to find someone who is ok with me spending a good amount of time being alone.

And I'm not talking about "I'll just be quiet at the other side of the bed" alone. 

I mean that I need absolute and complete isolation from everyone and their feelings

I need time to assess how I'm feeling, because when I'm around other people I never really get to pay attention to that, and my personal emotional needs frequently go neglected as a result.

So at the end of the day, it's a lonely existence, but, oddly enough, I appreciate the loneliness. It's a really weird place to be.

Fellow empaths, how do you cope? Please let me know I'm not alone here.

Peace.
Stef.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Exercise #208 - Echoing in Dialogue

Echo and Narcissus
by John William Waterhouse
 From Henry James's novel The Portrait of a Lady, here's an example of "echoing" in dialogue:

"She has offered to take her--- she's dying to have Isabel go. But what I want her to do when she gets her there is give her all the advantages. I'm sure all we've got to do," said Mrs. Ludlow, "is to give her a chance."
"A chance for what?"
"A chance to develop."
"Oh Moses!" Edmund Ludlow exclaimed. "I hope she isn't going to develop any more!"
In this example, echoing works well to show the two characters' easygoing affection for one another. So, try writing a similar scene with echoing in the dialogue. If you need a prompt: a boss and his/ her ingratiating subordinate planning the new furniture arrangements for the office.

1, 2, 3, GO!

Monday, July 14, 2014


This is a lesson I'm learning right now. Bigtime.

I have the tendency to put up with a whole bunch of bullshit simply because it makes other people happy. I put my needs and my ultimate happiness on the back-burner because, truly, it makes me happy to make other people happy. I take it too far, though, and completely disregard what I need.

It has been a difficult learning process for me - to find the balance between allowing myself to be happy and serving others - and I'm still working on it every day. But I'm getting there.

How about you? Have you ever had to give yourself a quick kick in the pants to remind yourself that you're allowed to leave behind the things that don't serve you positively? Tell me about it in the comments!

Peace.
Stef.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Ode to a Dead Beaver-Thing
or I Am the Grim Reaper (Sometimes)


A few days ago, I was on my lunch break at work which, due to my schedule, is around 2300 (11pm) when I came across something in the middle of the road.

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