A Blog about Sensory Processing Sensitivity from the Worldview of a High Sensing Male
For the next eight to ten weeks, I am going to be providing excerpts from my upcoming book, Confessions of a Sensitive Man, An Unconditional Defense of Sensitive Men. I am anticipating a release date on Amazon, et.al., sometime in late September. Please enjoy this free preview of the book.
From Chapter 3 –Being Different Growing Up:
Rising to the Top
As was often the case with me, I didn’t fit in well. I tried hard to conform outwardly, but never quite managed to internalize those changes. I felt I lived the life of an imposter. There was much incongruity of who I was and what I presented to the world.
Around friends, the neighborhood kids, I was much more confident. These interactions were more one-on-one, and I selected my friends carefully. As my family settled in to the neighborhood in South Carolina, where I grew up, I gained a newfound sense of confidence in who I was. I found that I was a natural leader and organizer.
Our neighborhood was almost a frame right out of The Little Rascals. We organized baseball, football, and basketball games with other neighborhoods. I found myself being the one everyone came to find out what was going on. We built campgrounds in the woods, organized campouts with the neighbor kids, and generally had idyllic summers. I was the one doing the organizing, and I liked that role.
At one point, I decided to create a neighborhood newsletter and received a student style typewriter where I crafted stories. The next-door neighbor’s mother was a school teacher, who mimeographed the newsletter so we could distribute them.
Yes, in the right circumstances and with a certain comfort level, I could easily rise to the top. I was a likable, smart kid and believed in the team concept, yet appreciated my friends as individuals. I was well organized and great planner for the neighborhood. I never realized that these characteristics were natural talents. I just never received the right feedback.
In school plays, I was always chosen to be the play’s narrator, usually the first kid out in costume, reciting my lines nervously, but flawlessly. If the costumes were dorky, I got the first laugh, which, of course, was embarrassing for me. One year, we performed a play about George Washington and the founding fathers. I walked out in front of the curtain to start the show, with a quick narration about the subject matter, sporting a concocted wig made of cotton balls that, by the time the play had started was beginning to disintegrate. I was tall and skinny and must have looked ridiculous because the audience burst out in laughter when I walked to center stage. Yet, somehow, I managed to execute on my lines and exit red-faced but relieved. My good memory and my conscientiousness were showing. Perhaps that was why I landed the same part every year.
I had a very good sense of humor, a family trait, one that my father shared with us. When I was around familiar company, I could do some spot-on impressions, voices, and characters that made my friends laugh. This was very encouraging. I had a knack for parody and loved to watch comedians on television. My favorites—and inspirations—were Jonathan Winters, George Carlin, and Bill Cosby (before the troubles). I loved to watch oddball shows like Get Smart and Green Acres; it seemed the more absurdist the comedy, the better for me. When Laugh-In came on in the late sixties, it was the sole reason I never went beyond First Class Scout. I quit going to Scout meetings because they were in the same time slot as Laugh-In.
There is much to be said for a good sense of humor. I think it can be one of the best redeeming qualities for a sensitive boy/man. Our keen sense of observation can aid us in adding layers of texture to our humor. I believe the best comedians are all sensitive people. There is some ironic and dramatic underlying reason that HSPs put themselves out there for criticism, just to present their quirky view of life. Brave souls, all of them.
Bill Allen currently lives in Bend, Oregon. He is a certified hypnotist and brain training coach at BrainPilots.com. He believes that male sensitivity is not so rare, but it can be confounding for most males living in a culture of masculine insensitivity which teaches boys and men to disconnect from their feelings and emotions. His intent is to use this blog to chronicle his personal journey and share with others.