Art Journal 12-01-14

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Oh, December. My least favorite month. Low energy, many demands. I’d like to hibernate for a few months.  I’d like to run away from The Holidays, and that makes me feel like a Terrible Person. Thinking about why I’m not so much into the whole thing makes me feel like an Entitled Neurotic Asshole (too much self-analysis and focus on my weird quirks) or a General Killjoy Grinch (but all this stuff you’re buying is just going to end up in the landfill! Ugh, all the poor dead turkeys!). I actually researched the possibility of bailing on the whole thing and going to Yellowstone over Christmas, but it didn’t work out with my partner’s work schedule.

In short, this whole month is overwhelming and tiring, and my resources for coping are already low. It’s not that I don’t enjoy spending time with family, buying gifts, cooking nice food, etc. It’s just that it all somehow conspires to be too much. You have to do it all and spend time with everyone. Internet to the rescue- thankfully being an introvert is recognized as an Actual Thing now and there are nice articles like this one:

If you hate the company Christmas party or the big family Thanksgiving dinner, you are not necessarily a bad person. You may just be an introvert, which likely means that you are drained, not recharged, by time spent with people. Since the holidays typically demand extra time with people, here are a few personally-tested tips to make it through in one piece:

1. Acknowledge that there is nothing wrong with you. Just because other people are energized by family gatherings and love the holidays does not mean you are a bad person for dreading them. I have a friend who recently lamented how screwed up she is because this Thanksgiving is the first that she has spent with her family in more than a decade. She believes our society’s motto that family is the most important thing and that she is a failure because she does not enjoy time with her family. What she fails to recognize is how much she gives her family in one-on-one encounters.

Yep. This time of year brings out my inner “you are a failure” monster. Looks like being an Introvert and being a Highly Sensitive Person often go hand in hand. I relate to SO MUCH in this article.

HSPs are easily overwhelmed by stimuli, get stressed by loud noises and strong smells, are extremely perceptive, have rich and often intense internal lives, and need plenty of quiet and down time to maintain their equilibrium (and sanity, I would personally add).

…HSPs don’t do well with an overly packed schedule or too much time in noisy, crowded or high pressure environments. If you know you’re going to spend a few hours in a challenging environment – such as a concert, a parade, or a crowded mall at Christmas time – know that you’re likely to be frazzled after and will need to decompress somewhere quiet and relaxing, on your own if possible.

Thanksgiving was nice but as usual the whole long weekend was over scheduled (with stuff I mostly enjoyed doing but it was still too much) and I ended up feeling not so great. Take the Friday after Thanksgiving, for example. Everything I did was stuff I wanted to do, and enjoyed doing to some degree. But I was running around nonstop from 9am to 9:30 pm. Not good. I ended up feeling irritable and not at all enthusiastic about doing the other things I had planned for the rest of the weekend.

I think this problem has gotten worse since I started working for myself and have so much control over how I spend my time. It seems extra aggravating when circumstances conspire to make things a little more crowded than I prefer. I hate this. I hate that all this makes me sound like a Special Delicate Flower. But that’s how it is. That’s how I’ve been for ages, probably my whole life (this HSP child test pretty much looks like a list of me as a kid- “complains about scratchy clothing, seams in socks, or labels against his/her skin” [!That shit still bothers me!]). And this time of year just makes me realize how difficult it can be to navigate a world that is not necessarily friendly to how I prefer things. But I need to figure out how to deal with it and not go bonkers, and ideally stop dreading the entire month of December.




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