Space to Think and Be

A thing I need is space.

Space to think. Space to process. Maybe even space to feel safe, a bit of a boundary.

Is this natural for kids raised in big families, especially middle children who never quite had that space to themselves? Too young to have a household just with mom and dad. Too old for exactly the same thing, but a couple of decades later, once the older siblings have moved out.

I’ve never had my own room. Not at home or away. I’ve always shared a room with at least one person – a sister, a brother, a spouse – and often with more … up to six girls at one time.

Funnily, I never even realized how much I craved space, and more than that, actually needed it, until I experienced it for the first time nearly a decade ago when two of my kids had reached school age and a sister of mine kept the other two one morning a week. I could think deeply about things without sudden interruptions every few minutes, without the constant mental draw of others in the house. It was amazing!

Perhaps it has something to do with the depth of processing that highly sensitive people have. We HSPs hear and process every interaction and conversation. We hear every exasperated sigh or sharp retort. Highly sensitive people can’t just tune it out.

And as empathetic people, we don’t just hear it and see it; we feel it. We take it in.

As a young teenager, I wondered why I couldn’t fall asleep until after everyone in my family was already sleeping. I think it was because some part of me was tuned into the energy of the others in the household and only once that energy faded into sleep was I able to finally sleep as well.

It’s the same now. If my husband is restless, I am awake until he finally gets comfortable and falls asleep.

Even when people are in other parts of the house, and not in the same room, the overall energy of the household is different from when the house is empty except for me.

During these 40 days to come, I hope to find some space to think more deeply and from which to consider and contemplate things.

(Even now, my ability to complete this post in a way that satisfies me is hindered because, within a few minutes of beginning, one and then two of my kids came into the room and now my husband has joined them and I simply don’t have mental space to keep writing. So, until next time.)


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Just an HSP introvert navigating an aggressive world | Reflections | Essays | Stories | Field Notes | Support for HSPs, emotional introverts, and empathetic feelers.

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