Being Hypersensitive in Today’s Society of “Snowflakeism”
Welcome back to another post. I hope you are all doing well! I’m coming back to you all with something that’s weighed on my mind for years and that I was reminded of tonight, (at the time of writing).
Tonight, I found myself struggling to sleep. As a totally blind and anxious college student, this is my normal. I’m always tired because anxiety takes up SO MUCH ENERGY. Juggling three classes has proved manageable, but it still leaves me drained. On nights like these, I turn to my comforts: reading, watching Netflix, sitting with my dog, or listening to podcasts. On this particular night, I turned to my podcasts to calm the fast paced 100 mph brain.
Like many other nights, I went back to old favorites. One of them was introduced to me by an ex about four years ago. It was an anti-slut shaming podcast that promoted female positivity, being okay with your sexuality, and on top of all that, interviewed really interesting people. Oh, and they happened to be female comics.
Over the past year, I stopped listening to them actively as I tried to focus on myself, getting my head above water. During this time, they stopped promoting their podcasts on Apple, preferring to release material behind a pay wall. That’s fine, I suppose. No worries, but I wasn’t going to shell out money unnecessarily. They occasionally release special episodes to iTunes, and this particular episode was one of these such releases for Valentine’s Day. (I promise, all of this is relevant.)
This particular episode seemed to focus on their most recent exes, among other topics about relationships in general and where the boundaries of friends dating other friends’ exes. While discussing the former, one of the hosts casually mentioned that she consistently found herself wishing her ex were dead. Not because she wanted him to be, but because she felt like the world would be better without him in it. Yes, read that again, please. Now… full stop.
I immediately paused the episode, completely floored and shocked that some one I personally looked up to for her expressions of freedom for being so refreshingly okay with being a woman, a badass, and a comedian. That’s amazing to me. But when she said that, I will say I felt extreme disappointment. After a brief pause, I hit play and tentatively listened to see if she’d clarify what she meant. What she actually did was defend her viewpoint while her co-host agreed with her. The next few minutes were spent with the hosts ribbing each other for hating each other’s exes. I hit pause, scrolled to the ‘more’ button, and unsubscribed.
I sat in my bed, thinking about all the past relationships in my life, those who wronged me, those who did what feels like permanent damage to me as a person, and I can say this. I never once wished for someone to die because I felt like the world would be better. Just that thought felt… wrong. It still feels wrong and I believe it will continue to feel that way. Does feeling this way make me a saint? No, not at all. There are people I refuse to interact with because they were emotionally and mentally abusive, (parentals, if you’re reading this, that’s a story for another day), but as I often voice when these topics of conversation do arise, I’d never wish for something terrible to happen to them. What many people seem to interpret this is that I’m, as our lovely, (sarcasm), president coined, “snowflake”.
While I’m sure that being called a snowflake was supposed to be insulting, I take the name gladly. If it means that being empathic to a fault will forbid me from wishing some one who wronged me dead, then so be it. But as I probably say way too often, at the end of the day, those people who wronged you are humans. They deserve the same fighting chance, they deserve to walk this earth, they deserve to be thought of as complex humans with layers upon layers of personality. It isn’t our option to decide whether someone deserves to walk this planet or not because they wronged us or did something to us. What it does mean is that we can choose whether to further interact with them, or to cut the toxicity out of our lives to better not only ourselves, but inevitably, their situation.
I understand I may be in the minority in this thinking, but as someone who actively feels deeply for other people, I am okay with being this minority. My way of thinking is often perceived as unique and often times challenged, but that’s what makes us as humans improve and be better. Today’s society has turned into the, “be a hard ass or go home”, because if you’re anything but tough, you’re living wrong and I wholeheartedly disagree with that. In the case of this podcast, I felt really disappointed that people who have a voice for SO many women in this country chose to use it to casually say they think the world would be better off without some one is crossing a boundary. Yes, you’re entitled to your feelings, but you can’t, in my opinion, push for rights for women but then use the platform you’re given to say essentially anything about anyone who has wronged you. Personally, many people have done wrong by me and I haven’t forgiven them, and that’s okay. But in the age where we are now, where mental health and suicide are still issues on the backburner behind the political crisis, those kinds of words could push someone over the edge. Does that make me a snowflake? Probably. And I’m okay with that.
I’m hypersensitive. Bluntly put. I worry about everyone, everything, and pull up the worst-case scenarios for a lot of things. I am a communication studies major who sucks at communicating because she’s still trying to understand how to say things correctly. I joke about “wording badly” because a lot of what I say confuses people and it takes a certain type of person to not immediately jump to being offended and instead try to understand me. What this says to me? I’m a young woman in her twenties trying to figure her shit out. What society wants to label me as? Weird, troubled, extra, high maintenance. I just shrug and smile. I may be a lot of those things, but I also love fiercely, listen carefully, and don’t mind loving someone with opposing views. A close friend and I often spend time debating things we’ve said, being confused by what we’re trying to say, then ultimately realizing that he or I probably said something and worded it so completely wrong. And then… we laugh. We laugh about it and move on. Because it’s okay.
It’s okay to not want to be with some one who poses a threat to your mental health. It’s okay for relationships to not work out. It’s okay to have opposing views. It’s NOT okay to tell people they’re wrong and slam the metaphorical door in their face. It’s NOT okay to tell people they’re wrong, or to wish that some one who wronged you should die because YOU think the world would be better off without them. Instead of thinking this way, society needs to learn how to love being different, having opposing views, or when you get down to it, simply how to communicate better. I’m no professional, as much as I wish I was, but I’m just a hypersensitive introvert who observes a lot, hurts for everyone, and is a case of intense irony in her educational choices.
In a way, I’m glad I found out how people I looked up to thought about other humans. That aspect of relationships is extremely important to me. What I will leave you all is this: love each other. Understand each other. Make an effort. Remember that as much as you are entitled to walk this earth, so is everyone else who has hurt you, no matter what your opinion. Being complicated is hard, I can promise that. But being kind isn’t.