Sensitivity used to be such a sought after thing. All young women and men of good breeding were once upon a time sensitive souls – maybe that’s why it sounds like an insult to me now. Could it be some kind of classism that makes me want to shuck off the brand of sensitive, when really I want to be brash and strong and impervious? But that’s not what I am, and maybe it’s not what I really want to be anyway.
I remember being called the S word when I was much, much younger. It was a sort of revelation, and felt like something of an excuse even then, but who doesn’t get a little sensitive during their teenage years? When layers of you are being stripped off and thrown away while you shiver and try to grow new skins as quickly as possible, it makes sense that you’re likely to be a little touchier than usual.
Now can’t help wondering if it’s something I really should have grown out of by now, because by now I’m old enough to know how easy it is to misinterpret and misunderstand and torture yourself over nothing. I’ve seen enough to know that crying about world poverty doesn’t mean half as much as donating your lunch money.
But I don’t want to lose it now. The prickling self-doubts, the instant regrets, the constant evaluation of actions and how they’ll be received – who’s to say to isn’t just all practice; the only, and maybe best, way for me to try and think myself into someone else’s shoes for a while.
Do you think of yourself as sensitive? Would you want to? Would you rather be anything but?