Thursday, September 24, 2015

Remembering Things

An interesting thing has happened from the time I started using the word empath in my writing. It's a word that I had resisted identifying with, and yet, it describes some core aspects of my sensitivity. Or rather, the core aspect, the ability to experience other people's feelings as if they were my own. 

Almost instantly, as I claimed the word empath, it felt like numb spaces in my life awoke. Watching T.V., I felt pain shoot up as someone fell off a building. It was as if the debris that had fallen on my sensitivity or maybe the clutter I had buried it under was again free to roam around. 

While reading other people's posts on empath forums some months back, I had congratulated myself that I didn't feel like that any longer. I didn't feel so drowned in other people's feelings. I didn't feel the physical sensations of someone else's pain. But as I am wiping the dirt off my own perception, I am feeling like I was congratulating myself for the wrong thing, for numbing out and becoming denser. 

I do want to have strong boundaries. I also want to have more sensitivity, instead of pushing it aside.

I have an image of plaster cracking come up. 

I have also been remembering things from long ago. When I was a child, in the lane leading up to my grandparents' house in a village in India, there used to lie a drunk man on the kind of wooden cart that is used to cart groceries around in that part of the world. He was never scary. I was never afraid of him. 

It seemed like he was so washed over with all the things around him that the only way he could live was by numbing himself out. I don't know whether he was an empath or not. But I had a feeling that he was a good man, someone who felt the world around him. 

And that feeling of the world toppling on top of you - of drowning in its pain and sorrows -- that might be the terrible space in which you can fall if you feel so much. So, sometimes, we construct our dams and numb ourselves so at least we wouldn't dissolve in this too much feeling. 

We cope in so many ways. I have coped in so many ways. Being less me, being more like others, being overwhelmed and not doing even the little that I could do. 

But on this tricky path of empathy - of feeling too much or adopting numbness - there must be a bend in the road that we are all walking towards. Will I fall? Will you fall? Will we find new ways? Will we get lost for a long time? Will we find the harmony and balance we are looking for?      

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