Something the poet Chen Chen wrote on his Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/chenchenwrites) really struck me.
being a functioning person while being a poet: i am simultaneously trying to be less overwhelmed by the world & more.
(Quote used with his permission.)
As a highly sensitive person, a true HSP, I completely relate to his idea that we are sensitive, it helps us be poets, but we can be overwhelmed by the world! How do we function while being a poet? It’s our sense of wonder, our amazing joy in small delights that are NOT small to us that can help us so much as poets. I know for me, nothing is small. I feel all deeply and personally.
How I survive is partly having a career in teaching, where I must be grounded, deal with students’ issues and concerns, grade those papers promptly, listen deeply, plan great lessons, and more. Teaching has truly grown my heart and mind.
But as an HSP, I have been so deeply disturbed by some of my students’ stories of trauma and loss. Can that go into my poetry too while not being exploitative or disrespectful? May I write in their voices, for I do listen so closely to my students.
This is another issue I need to and want to learn more about: how to respect the voice of others, share it, and not be appropriating their voices?
I’m learning, for I do have some small gift writing persona poems and dramatic monologues.
Right now this HSP is checking her class rosters several times a day, hoping her classes run! I’m also thinking about the lessons learned from being in the Rocky Mountains for nearly a week (oh! I am so weak is one big lesson!), and thinking about how much I missed my trees here, back in the flat land.
And I am SHOCKED that I handled the heights of the plane ride and the tram ride up to 9000 feet. In fact, I am more afraid to go downtown by myself than I was of the plane ride or the tram! And I am afraid of heights.
But that’s another story, a story of being OVERWHELMED by all the sights and sounds of a big city, the sights and sounds of a great cultural city that can also truly overwhelm an HSP like myself. I notice how tall the buildings are, how many people are on the streets, etc. etc. and feel overwhelmed sometimes. Sometimes just so alive by the hum and activities–so much to see, to do, to hear, to experience. The great museums, the great music, all that LIFE!
Best to you all, and thanks for reading.