Introvert, artist and highly sensitive person…

I have recently found out (but probably known on some level my whole life) that I am an introvert and a highly sensitive person. It’s been a revolutionary discovery, makes a lot of sense and something I find totally fascinating. I wanted to write about this because it’s not something that many people know or talk about and I’m sure it’s pretty common for highly creative people to be introverted and sensitive.

In short, you feel and are aware of everything at once, all of the time. It can be completely overwhelming but also a huge positive, especially when it comes to making artwork and researching. I’ve also put this awareness and sensitively to use when it comes to teaching and networking as it makes me a good listener with the ability to empathise with students in order to understand how they learn best. I notice changes in atmosphere very easily and know when someone needs help or doesn’t understand what I’m trying to communicate. The downside is that I can find lots of things more tiring that most people would but I’m trying to learn lots about self care so that I can minimize the effects on my own wellbeing. Generally having more awareness is helping me to maintain good energy levels and means that I know when I need some alone time to recharge.

One of the best resources I’ve found over the last month is a podcast called ‘Introvert Dear’ founded by Jenn Granneman. Jenn and the co-hosts discuss all sorts of subjects related to being an introvert and highly sensitive person including self care, travelling, creativity, alone time, writing and relationships. It has been incredible to listen to people talk about these subjects and their feelings in a way that I can completely understand. This whole process has felt a bit like ‘coming out’ – I’m learning so much about myself and other people too! I see the traits of being a highly sensitive person as qualities that I can use to my advantage rather than negative behaviours that I should change. Certain aspects can be quite debilitating but I’m learning which situations overwhelm me and how I can look after myself when I feel over stimulated. Generally I’m doing well but there are periods where I don’t notice the ‘bottle being shaken up’ before it’s too late and I have to let it all out or I get completely exhausted.

Having a good routine is a big help – getting up early, taking the dog for a walk, dedicated studio days for making art, blogging or admin, teaching, spending time in the garden, baking, cooking etc.

I used to meditate more regularly than I do now but find it hard to fit it in to my day, remember to do it or have the motivation to do so. Perhaps it would be better to go to a meditation class once a week or someting? I suppose the worst thing to do is beat myself up when I don’t stick to a routine because that undoes all the good work!

My new awareness of what it is to be an introvert and highly sensitive person is informing and inspiring lots of new creative ideas which I’d love to show at an exhibition I have confirmed for March/April 2019 at the Harbour Lights Cinema in Southampton. The subjects and themes I’m considering so far are eggs, feathers, cracks, sensitivity, incubation, introversion, perfection and imperfection. I have previously looked at eggs for my project about the Westwood Nature Reserve and my Dad’s egg collection and after going back through some old sketchbooks and blog posts I realised that this is something I’d like to explore further.

 

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