Art is a form of expression. For writers, it’s how we interpret our environment and process things unsaid. I’m not sure if there is a correlation between empaths and artists, but I’d like to think that there is. To immerse oneself in any artform one must feel it first, I assume.
I set out to generalize this post, because my ever-so-keen youngest daughter said that all she heard when I was talking was I’s. She was right, although, at the time, I was venting, and there are only two people to talk to around here except, well, the walls. Nevertheless, there are a of lot of you(s) in this essay. That’s because empaths experience things profoundly. They don’t hear a song, they become a song. They don’t just watch Dateline; they remember Susan’s eyes and every detail of the crime scene. They can’t click on the news and turn the channel as if nothing happened. Every aspect of that newsreel carries over into their day and their night. Or is that just me?
I don’t think it’s just me, I think that’s the life of an empath who hasn’t quite figured out how to cope. Trust me, an empath, especially an emotional empath—as I discovered after keying into my search engine, “How to Survive as an Empath” and then taking a random quiz to find out which type I am—feels all of you. Peter Gabriel’s, I Grieve off the City of Angel’s soundtrack becomes a full montage that catapults you into the depths of despair, even if you aren’t initially sad (It does have an upbeat point, though. And then it goes morose again). The death of a person you never met feels like the loss of someone you’ve known, meaning you can still see Susan from that crime show in your mind’s eye, for weeks. 300,000 deaths, any death, feels like someone sucked the life out of you personally. It’s weird, it’s depressing, it’s draining.
Nevertheless, I learned something while reading articles online. A successful empath learns to listen and connect without internalizing. Let me repeat that: A sane empath knows how to relate without being an emotional sponge. Unfortunately, I’m a sponge. What does this mean? It means that I have soaked up my environment, failed to squeeze out my sponge, and become heavy. We can’t effectively help anyone when we ourselves are in an unbalanced, sponge-soaked state. But here’s the problem: folks rely on empaths. A lot.
What happens when you can’t be ‘the person’? Sometimes it causes discord, and sometimes…you drop the ball, epically. This brings me to another point I discovered while reading. Empaths need other empaths. When you’re supporting someone during a difficult time, that’s their moment. But to hold them up, you need someone to hold you up, so that you can hold each other up. I’ve always wondered how therapists master listening to people all day without taking on their patients’ issues. Maybe this is the key (and if it isn’t, dear therapists out there, do tell us how you handle this).
Here’s a list of things you can do to help find your balance, wring out your sponge, and maintain your sanity:
Here are some articles I read while searching for ways to cope. Give them a browse:
Hang in there, Empath.
P.S. City of Angels is an awesome soundtrack. One of my favorite albums of all time. And, although it is hard to choose, I Know by Jude and I Grieve by Peter Gabriel are my top two favorite songs. Or is it Alanis Morissette’s Uninvited? Or Iris by the Goo-Goo Dolls? Definitely U2’s If God Will Send His Angels. I can’t choose… Yeah, the whole soundtrack.
a new world came, one i didn’t recognize
i closed my eyes not wanting to see
what emerged in front of me
until i realized it’s an old world,
one that never changed
73 million days of same
i wept we wept Jesus wept
on deaf ears and desensitized hearts
until grief swept us all away
I suppose as opposed to a prickly rose
Our love is like a baby that learns and grows
Stronger and wiser and more each day
Falling and getting up along the way
I suppose our love is neither hearts nor gold
But more like a tree among a grove
Its roots reaching farther than the eye can see
Its branches spread, protecting me
I suppose true love is a number of things
So much more than a wedding ring
A hug, a kiss, a mountain peak
A climb, a journey with you I seek
Read what I already own before purchasing more (This could take several years)
Read as many as I can while I still can (This will take a different post to explain)
I’ve been a bibliophile ever since I mastered the Dick and Jane series
If I were into clothes or shoes or anything else of value, I could have a full wardrobe by now. However, I’ve spent my life’s earnings on books.
At forty-something, my eyesight is progressively waning, but that’s a different blog post
The Most Recent Book: The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
My Take on the Book:
In this busy world with the busy lives that we lead, how well do we know each other? Beyond the names and personas and assumptions, what do we really know about the people we interact with daily? The neighbor, the waitress—do we even know their names? The social media mogul, the corporate super-star—are they happy?
If no one had to pretend, if we could share our truths without judgment, what would we want others to see? Even at the core of what we think is the truth, is that the full story? Is our version the most trustworthy version?
In this novel, these elements and questions are explored as several people come across a small notebook titled, The Authenticity Project. Initially, there is one entry, penned by Julian, a seventyish former artist and eccentric who purposely leaves the notebook at a café that he frequents. He tells his story and invites the reader (in this case whoever comes across the notebook) to do the same. However, this isn’t just any old tale, this is the one that you’ve been hiding from everyone, even yourself.
From there, the café owner, Monica, finds the book. Intrigued, she reads Julian’s entry and, on a whim, jots down something of her own. Mind you, Monica is likely Type One on the enneagram and rarely does anything on a whim. But anyway, after she is done reading Julian’s excerpt and penning hers, she inconspicuously leaves the book at a bar next to her shop. There it falls into the hands of Hazard who reads both of their stories and decides to return the book, only to discover that he can’t. At least not yet. First, he has some soul-searching to do, and a cocaine habit to kick. And an alcohol addiction to acknowledge.
So, the little notebook makes its way to an island, a plane, back to London, a playground, a rehabilitation center. And then there’s a whopper of a surprise. Well, there are several surprises.
Along the way, secrets are read, identities are discovered, and souls are enlightened. But before that a few lies are told. There are also misunderstandings to clear up as each character rallies to help the other after reading their notes.
I loved the honesty of this story. I wanted to say authenticity, but that would sound cliché. These characters are relatable. They are people we come across every day. The interesting part for me was that, even the things they ‘discovered’ about themselves wasn’t the whole truth. It took the perspective of everyone to get to the bottom of what was troubling, or in some cases hindering, each character. And, of course, there was a little misguided (and guided) romance thrown in there, too.