I always said that life is about discovering who you are and then changing how you go about life to better accommodate who you are.
I learned the concept of Highly Sensitive Person (HSPs) a few years ago. HSPs tend to pick up more information. For example, imagine that a person with regular sensitivity (let’s call him RSP) and a HSP was looking at a blank white wall. The RSP goes, “that’s a plain white wall.” The HSP goes “hmmm, that is a white wall, but out in the corner I do see a slight variance in the depth of whiteness, I wonder if the painters were cutting corners. There’s slight tint of green which makes it look cold but fresh. And there are tiny holes where thumbtacks were used to put things up on the wall.”
So RSPs and HSPs experience life events very differently. HSPs get perhaps multiple times more information. This may sound like it’s an advantage and it is in some circumstances. But it can be exhausting to process this much information constantly, easy to get lost in minutia, and things that don’t affect RSPs can topple HSPs. Like everything else in life, being an HSP is neither good or bad inherently. It’s just different.
I don’t know if there is a correlation between being artistically inclined and highly sensitive, but these traits go hand in hand very well. The sensitivity works to attend to the myriad details that go into making art. Untrained audience may not notice all the details, but they are absolutely experiencing the sum of all the details that add up to the whole.
As I get more comfortable with my sensitivity and shed the notion that I need to earn my right to make music and impress others, I’m getting more comfortable with simpler, sparser music. I still like fast, virtuosic guitar playing, and believe that there are things that can only be expressed that way. But my sensitivity also picks up a lot from each note. The piece I am sharing today is something I would have considered “not impressive enough” a few years ago. Today I am comfortable enough with it to share with my friends.
I hope you enjoy it, but even if you don’t, I am OK to keep showing up to make music that works for me.