You know, I was all set to do my 30 Days 30 Stories thing that I usually do for Nano, and I don’t think I’ve written a word this whole month. We’re eleven days in, and I’ve written under 500 words, if anything. I don’t generally participate in official Nano, choosing instead to think of it as time to focus on what I should be doing anyway (kinda like Christmas is theoretically a time to focus on being thankful and loving).
Instead of writing this month, I’ve been crocheting and listening to a lot of podcasts. The most recent one I have become obsessed with is The Highly Sensitive Person’s Podcast. I’ve used the HSP tag before, but only in relation to being an INFJ. From what I can tell, it’s pretty common for INFJs to also identify as HSPs. I had seen a few infographics and thought, “That sounds like me, I must be an HSP.” I wasn’t wrong, but I didn’t yet comprehend the ramifications of this. The host Kelly explains that being a highly sensitive person is like hearing, seeing, and feeling everything at ten times the intensity of a normal person. I say it this way: Being an HSP is the closest a real person comes to being an esper.
I’ve always been an observant person. Even though I’m practically blind because of severe astigmatism, I have very good peripheral vision. Even though I struggle in crowded situations, I can hear a conversation two rooms away. Even though I seem clumsy, it’s because I move around based on my memory rather than my vision (a natural result of being blind without my glasses, I suppose). I notice everything and I remember all of it.
This wouldn’t have struck me so much beyond “oh cool there are other people like me” if I hadn’t recently made the decision to watch Daredevil. Which in itself wouldn’t have been quite such a bad decision . . . if I hadn’t just finished Limitless.
So Limitless is the sequel to a film of the same name in which a drug called NZT-48 gives its user temporary perfect recall. You know the mind palace scenes? That’s what the drug does: every sound, sight, and even scent connects. In the show, the user is a struggling musician named Brian Finch who becomes an asset of the FBI. So, unlike the film’s focus on success, the show’s theme is significance. Or maybe that’s what I see because I have such a deep desire to matter. Am I the only one who feels like a person only matters as much as what he is able to do? Most of the time I feel like I don’t matter if I can’t write, or if I can’t make a pretty floor stack, or if I can’t stay awake to listen at two in the morning. Like anyone else who can do those things could replace me and no one would really notice. Limitless was so much about being validated as someone who matters, and that spoke to me on a level that I can’t explain.
And then Netflix decided that I should watch Daredevil. I didn’t know anything about this particular superhero aside from what’s in the Ben Affleck film. I don’t know how faithful the show is. All I know is that everything that makes Matt Murdock Daredevil is also what makes me an HSP. And for some reason, that infuriates me. I have the powers of a superhero, but I have no way of moving from the “screaming in an orphanage bed because of the sensory overload” stage to the “wiping out a crew of human traffickers unarmed” stage. I could do so much with a little help, but in the real world, no one is going to show up to help me.
Maybe that’s what really bothers me. No one is going to show up one day to train me. No one is going to give me NZT. No one is going dissect me and use me to make a motherboard (I’ve always thought I’d make a really good motherboard). I’m always going to struggle with my own significance, because I know that ultimately significance isn’t found in what you can do, and I don’t know where to find it.