Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Scary Movies

HSP and Me-2
     OK, so now you may want to know exactly what a ‘highly sensitive person’ is, what makes them so different, what makes them tick. These are good questions. I have been able to answer a little at a time as I read Elaine Aron’s book, “The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You.
     Here is a list of some of the characteristics: HSPs think things over for a while before making their move, carry a sense of being flawed, are willing to allow others to protect them, may isolate themselves, and have a real intolerance to stimulation. It's not that these things are so unusual, it's the intensity.

     An example is how I react to violence in movies. I can remember having to leave the room when my family had chosen a video to watch that to me contained over-the-top violence. You know the kind I mean; even the obviously staged scary movies. I can remember when I was really young watching the original “The Thing” movie. Being non-HSPs, my sister and brother didn't take in as many subtle disturbing aspects of situations as I did. I was terrified for days after as I watched in my mind the doors being boarded against the unseen horror. For that matter even though they were fun, I had a hard time watching most of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies, especially the “The Birds”, and “Psycho”. I think my son is the same way though he would not want to admit it.

     One time the family was watching “Salem’s Lot” when during a particularly scary scene Jamie came into the kitchen (where I was) to get away from it but what he didn’t know was that his sister snuck around and came through the other door and screamed. He was 10. I have never seen anyone so terrified they were moaning and rolling on the floor. But in spite of this they always seemed to bounce back and say, “Oh Mom, it’s just a movie. It’s not real”. It was not that I didn’t know it was not real. It was my intolerance to stimulation that was that overwhelming.

         I always felt uncomfortable that I couldn’t deal with the violence and thought something was wrong with me. The key, I learned was to reframe the experiences. Instead of seeing myself as somehow flawed I can realize instead, that I am just over-stimulated. Whether it is a violent movie, a trip to a new place or a noisy rock concert I can decide if my brain can handle it. Now I am more clear, when these things happen, I can either just go along with the group because I don’t want to be a stick-in-the mud or I can find something I can enjoy about it or I can opt out. It is important that I decide.
     The next time I write about this I want to tell you about a family trip to Las Vegas. Overstimulation can happen from positive experiences, too.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Passive Verbs and Qualifiers

      A few years ago I saw Fried Green Tomatoes, a great movie you may have seen also. It was the kind of movie that made you laugh and cry and nod your head. It was also a kind of mystery story and a story within a story. I liked it because still, I could keep up with it. And I learned some things.

     I liked the story within a story where one character experienced an epiphany. She spoke a phrase that sticks in my mind to this day. Have you ever seen something that changed your life and said, ”It was a sign” My sister and I say this often when things happen that verify what we had been thinking about doing or answered a question we had been trying to answer for years.

     It was a sign, was what I heard in my head at my writer’s critique group a couple of weeks ago. As an icebreaker, one of the participants asked us to share what it was about writing that ‘bugged us’. Passive verbs and Qualifiers popped into my head. Not procrastination, editing, revisions, or even sitting so long I had to run to make it to the bathroom. No, the words, Passive Verbs and Qualifiers, came out of my mouth.

     I’ve never been good at grammar or spelling. Since I have started to write again, I try hard but still struggle with everything I write. I have asked myself more than once. Why? Well, this is it. All my life I have been kind of a slow person. Not really passive per se but I do take my time. One of the biggest culprits for me is “was” and others like it (like is and was??) they slow down and sometimes stop the reader from reading.

        And my writing is also littered by my maybe’s, almost’s, sometime’s, someday’s, and if’s, etc. I qualify when I’m going to the store, when I’m going to write, when I am going to get this done or start that, if I like or don’t like something…it goes on and on.

     So the ‘sign’ I encountered pointed out to me the reason my writing is full of qualifiers and passive verbs. That’s who I am. Oh, sigh….By the way when I checked the spell checker I had not misspelled any words, anyway. There is hope.

What bugs you about writing?