Thursday Thoughts–I Feel Sounds, I am an HSP


I have read about HSPs over the years–a highly sensitive person. I have a wonderful, treasured friend who is one. It’s more common, I believe among INFJ’s than other Meyer-Briggs personalities, and no matter how many times or ways I take that test, I am an INFJ.  I’ve taken the test for an HSP a few times and I never really hit all the marks. It seems one of the biggest signs of being an HSP is a dislike of loud noises. I don’t dislike loud noises at all. And I actually like crowds.

I don’t want to be an HSP. I mean, it kinda sounds good because hey, you’re really sensitive and maybe people should be kinder to you or something like that. And special maybe. But HSPs are always die in horror movies and they are rarely the hero in a survival story. I kind of want to be the hero. I mean a lot, actually. I want to save the world. I am, after all, an INFJ and we always want to make a difference.

The last few months have caused me to change my mind on if I am an HSP for a whole bunch of reasons, though. (and I am not happy about this). The sticking point is the noise thing.  Do loud noises bother me and I just don’t admit it? No. But sounds, all sounds affect me. I listen to a white noise maker to sleep at night. It has to be the white sound because the sounds of the ocean and birds or a forest, or any of that is not uniform. Any change in sound drills into my head. It’s not just a focus issue. If I snore, the snoring becomes part of my dream. If my husband poofs (which isn’t quite snoring, but an actual poofing noise) it comes into my dreams. I cannot push these things away.

Chipmunks bug me. They sit outside my window and wake me up sometimes or interrupt me when I’m writing. I open my window and yell at them to shut the hell up. The sound of the heat coming on in the winter wakes me up. The sound of the air conditioner changing from fan to cooling wakes me up.

So I started thinking of this post as I was lying on the sofa napping a little. In the background was the sound of somebody mowing their lawn. I like that sound, even when it comes and goes. I can sleep to that. The sound of a lawnmower, I realize, smells like fresh cut grass. It smells like sunshine and tastes green, and it feels like warmth and relaxation and satisfaction all at once. The sound of a lawnmower is emotion.

For me, sounds are emotion.

The sound of crackling bacon is the smell of bacon and the smell of orange juice and coffee. It’s the color of sunshine and the feeling of joy and intellectual excitement. It’s my sons and husband and I sitting around the breakfast table after not seeing each other in a while, happily exchanging new thoughts and new ideas and laughing. It’s the feeling of life flowing through me because these are the people who get me. Who understand overload and too much sensitivity and appreciate it and love me for it, not inspite of it.

The ticking of a clock is the feeling of emptiness. It’s white and cool. For some people the sound of a ticking clock is anxiety, but not for me. If I can hear a clock ticking it’s because everything else is silent and my mind is quiet and empty. Sometimes that’s bad, but sometimes it’s relief. It’s always empty.

The sound of crickets smells like sun-heated dirt cooling down, midnight blue and the green of vegetation. It’s a warm summer breeze and the feeling of mystery and excitement and sex.

The sound of thunder is the smell of steam and tar rising from a sidewalk or driveway.  It’s warm and welcoming. It’s the feeling of excitement and wonder and joy and love. It’s my Dad and I when I was a little girl standing in the open garage, watching lightning streak across the sky. I was safe; I was with my Dad. And he understood the wonder, and so there is always joy and love.

The crinkling sound of the heat in heat registers, the sound of the furnace, is the sound of anxiety. It smells like heated dust and brings on fears of big bills and not enough money to pay for it.

So. There it is. For me sounds have a feeling. Yes, I can walk into a noisy crowded room without trouble, because I have my bubble up and to hold off the emotions of all those people. I don’t know them. I don’t have to know them. I am not responsible for them, but I am there being part of humanity, feeling somewhat connected. Honestly, small groups can be more stressful for me because I generally care about these people and I need to feel their emotions. I have to drop my bubble and feel. That’s not what most HSPs will tell you. They prefer small groups. But I am an emotional sponge, and I’m incredibly pain sensitive, sounds have emotion, and my mood can change when the sun goes behind a cloud. I feel it all. I am an HSP like it or not. Everything for me is emotion. Not sure what I’m going to do with it, other than to stop fighting it.

Oh, and my favorite sound? Not sure, but the sounds of waves crashing is pretty darn high. (and is white and green and blue and smells like salt air and peace and hope.)

P.S. Do sounds have emotions to you? I’d love to hear about it. Sincerly! Please add them to the comments.


2 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts–I Feel Sounds, I am an HSP

  1. THIS, 100x this. Except I actually do freak in crowds with lots of noise. It’s an overstimulation thing with me. Being in line at the RITAs a few years ago was really, really difficult. Or competing noises. But all the others? Gosh, yes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am such an introvert, Donna. I play an extrovert really well at conferences, but it takes a large toll. I used to sit in my room and cry at some point during every conference because of all the stimulation. I’ve gotten better in the past few years but only because I realized what was happening. Also, I’ve got my conference buddies who know when to feed me margaritas and when to let me curl up in a ball in a corner 🙂

      I never really realized that sounds have emotions for me until I was lying on the sofa. But hey, I was the kid who thought all inanimate objects had feelings, so I probably shouldn’t be surprised.


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