A MULTIPOTENTIALITE HSP: I Am NOT a Specializer - In Anything
Updated: Oct 16, 2020
Multipotentialite: The phrase coined by Emilie Wapnick, referring to people who have a range of callings and jobs over one lifetime. More commonly known as the Renaissance Person, a jack-of-all-trades, dabbler or scanner. (1)
We're also called flakey, commitment-phobic, scatter-brained, lost, ADD, undisciplined, unfocused... remember that thing about perspective we talked about last time? Yeah, we non-specializers get as many labels slapped onto us as HSPs.
That's short for Highly Sensitive Person, if you're just tuning in.
Here's the deal. I am not just a multipotentialite. I am a multipotentialite in most categories of my multipotentiality. One glance at the lists of dance and martial arts styles I've studied to create my Dance of Elemental Alchemy should say it all. (2) The types of meditative and healing practices that go into it are just as varied, and I have a hard time picking one genre when people ask me what type of fiction I write. It's a cross-pollinated collection, just like my dancing.
Why should we expect anything different where my sensitivity is concerned?
Let’s look at 6 predominant types of HSP:
Great. So imagine each of these types as a different kid. You know those kids. You went to school with them. They were your sister or cousin or that weirdo you saw on the bus that one time. *innocent whistle* Maybe you were one of those kids or have one of these kids of your own. Can you picture them?
Okay, now cram them all into one body and ask them to sit still and wait their turn. You now have the internal environment I have lived with since I was born. ALL of that is going on all day, every day, inside me. This is why I say I need clones. This is also why people who don’t possess these traits themselves, or who don’t possess the understanding of these traits call me "crazy."
Let’s break them down.
When I first started hearing the description of this one, I shook my head. “Naw, that’s not me,” I said. “I’m not a risk junkie and I’ve never had the urge to go rock or mountain climbing. I require daily naps. I flourish when I can regularly lie down with binaural beats pumping into my headphones, or when I can sit on my patio doing nothing, absorbing the sun and listening to the birdsong, watching the squirrel shenanigans and the breeze through the trees.”
Then the video went on.
“Oh,” I said. “Maybe I stand corrected. Maybe I need to do those things because I'm a psychomotor sensitive.” (There's also that TBI thing now.)
I may not have wanted to scale mountains before I hurt my knee, but I have always been an athlete. Volleyball, cheerleading, dance, swimming, water skiing, track, hiking, and martial arts—including putting on heavy medieval armor and whapping my friends with big sticks. Before being struck with ever-increasing injuries, I was highly competitive—and successful.
And whoa—jabber-mouth talking a mile a minute? Hmmmmm…I might seem quiet in public or especially around a large dinner table because I won't battle to be heard, but get me talking in a small group or one-on-one?
I am a thunder-voiced firehose with hands that don’t stop and a cartoon face made of rubber. Except when I'm exhausted or crashed out, I have waaaaay too much energy constantly surging through this little machine of flesh and blood. One of my oldest nicknames is Hummin'bird for this reason. I am also just a little touchy-feely.
Nurture has cured me of letting these qualities flow naturally in front of other people very often.
And bite me. I do NOT have any nervous habits. I never twirl my hair, roll my sweatshirt ties, pace circles around my house, or stim like the card-carrying resident of the Moon Orbiting Planet Autism that I am. Ever. *innocent whistle* (I totally do.)
I am also NOT a workaholic! I’m a…
Wut? My work is play. So I’m a night-owl who never really quits puttering with one project or five from the moment I wake until my brain taps out. And okay, so I get up from the computer about every half-hour to do some sort of PT exercise. I may also do PT while I’m binging shows…
Fine. I might have a touch (or twelve) of Psychomotor.
This one I knew just from the title. *raising all the hands* The five senses for me are the best buffet ever. Remember those extra color nuances? Yeah, I don’t need hallucinogens to bask in wonder over the visual world, and when I’m not shut down, I see energy patterns as clearly as I see your shirt. For me, good food is like great sex, I get drunk on scent, and music is my life. It puppets my body into dance, and it is one of the primary ways in which I communicate. It's one of the only ways I’ve found that comes close to conveying the depth and breadth of my emotions.
Have you ever noticed how important the Soundtrack is to this blog? If you’re reading these tales and you aren’t taking the time to listen to the music, you’re missing half the movie. I have always felt the need to express my emotions through a combination of writing and the ancient art of the mixed-tape, and anybody fluent in this language can touch me on a far deeper level than the most descriptive poetry or dirty-talk ever.
I simply AM art.
Oh. And in spite of being a demisexual who too often has tried to convince herself that she's not, I’m sex, too, which we've just started cracking open in these most recent tales.
Of course, sex is all about the senses—at least, for me it is. The experience of sensual touch and sexual stimulation—both giving and receiving, and especially the two simultaneously—has the capacity to transform me into Leeloo at the end of Fifth Element. But only if it also includes those senses beyond the physical phive.
It’s a problem. Because in classic HSP fashion, I go way too deep too quickly. Remember that whole joy vs. ecstasy thing? Well, if my joy is the majority's rapture, imagine the cosmos-cracking phenomenon that sexual ecstasy is for me. Once again—who needs drugs? I don’t. Suffice to say, I have rarely encountered mermen who would follow me into the blackest depths where the only light comes from the bioluminescence we create in the magic of our union.
When you go that deep while intimately bonded with someone, yet in reality you're swimming down there alone, open and naked to the most intimate depths of your soul?
Take it from me. That is ill-advised if you have no clue how to protect yourself. And if you do…well, I don’t know about you, but my sexual inspiration has little to do with walrus-flipper genital-smacking or the coveted skill of squirting. Those are like ice cream sprinkles and caramel goo at the end of the buffet. Yummy. They top off the entire experience. But they can never hope to give me all the nourishment and satisfaction I need to engage in a healthy sex life with someone.
One of my primary qualities is curiosity. Elizabeth Gilbert has a famous talk on Passion & Curiosity (3), and I suspect that I have so much of the former because of my insatiable abundance of the latter. I was that kid that used to hack off her teachers by asking too many questions—or worse, questions they either didn't know how or didn't want to answer. (4)
Alas, the intellectual aspect of my HSP nature took a major hit from two vehicular artillery shells and the fist of an angry man. But before that, I was a walking encyclopedia of “OMG nobody needs to know that!” Math was as easy for me as music, and science was a big toy.
One of the intellectual aspects I retained cross-pollinates heftily with my less damaged right brain. I have multiple fantasy worlds that I’ve built for my novels, and these require gobs of analysis, extrapolation and puzzle-solving across a number of disciplines. I am still a Gnork Extraordinaire (geek/nerd/dork).
And, okay, so I binge-watched that one anime series with my Excel spreadsheet open to analyze why I loved it so much so I could duplicate the theories in my own storytelling. Um...I might also do that with my favorite novels.
So?? It's fun. And relaxing.
Yes. I also make myself tired.
**Warning: All the flashies**
Evvvvery once in awhile (hahahah) I get labeled an over-thinker, and yes, I have spent much of my life in search of greater and lesser Truths in my attempt to make this baffling place around me make sense.
This translates into a horrid habit of calling people out when I sense that they’re not being true to themselves or up front with me. They give this reason and that for their conduct, but I feel in my guts that they’re omitting information or outright lying (backed up by microscopic examples of nuance, and actions that led to certain consequences, all squared by vocal tone, eye movements, posture, and muscular tension. And then there's how their energy spikes or goes all jagged and sporadic when they lie. More on that in Number 6).
When it comes to helping someone unearth or bravely express their true nature, this quality makes me a great teacher, mentor, muse and friend. But when it comes to people doing shady, shifty or abusive stuff they’re trying to get away with?
People don’t tend to like that about me.
Especially because I have never once been proven incorrect when I’ve decided to confront someone in this way.
I don’t do it often, and I don’t do it willy-nilly. It’s only after an elongated period of study whereby my hypotheses are about to be proven into Law with one more experiment amidst interrogation—yup. That’s what I thought I was seeing there.
But it always starts as raised hairs on the back of my neck. This little niggling feeling. Just an instinct.
Now listening to those red flags and acting on them—there’s where I’m also a classic HSP. My empathy has often gotten the best of me. Because of this ability to make a study of humans like they’re under a microscope, I also notice things like the sadness in their eyes, the way their posture slumps when they think nobody’s watching, a flinch at certain trigger words that they’ve become masterful at hiding. I calculate data about their greater life circumstances and comprehend how that affects their conduct. Combined with my Imaginational Number 4 below, I have too often given people the benefit of the doubt five too many times, believing my mother’s old Pollyanna teachings that if you just give a kicked dog enough kindness and treats, it will stop biting you when you reach out to pet it.
Yeahhhh. That’s actually one of the biggest reasons why we have all these tales.
Also. I am NEVER likened to Spock. Ever. Neither am I a withdrawn, armored, critical, grudge-holding ass, and I certainly am not a thousand times more critical with myself than anybody else. Nope. Not me. *more innocent whistling* (I'm never sarcastic either.)
OK just shuddup right now! I do NOT have those kind of notebooks for the creation of my 5 fantasy worlds, my interpretation of the Greek Underworld & Olympos, and the novels that take place in them!
(Ahem, it’s all in digital format now via the miracle of Scrivener, Notes, Excel and Powerpoint. So there.)
(OK, except for those 4 ring binders of world-building fodder. And those overstuffed folders. And that one expandable, 10-pocket binder. Oh, and the 3 little pocket journals.)
(Does the box of color-coded index cards count?)
My ginormous Elemental Dance System is also digital. Okay, so maybe it's a fantasy world of its own, comprising dance, martial arts, meditation, storytelling, and my HSP drug of choice: Passion & Expression. (That's why this multipotentialite monstrosity is called The System. Because its circle graphs look like a bunch of solar systems.) (5)
It also might be cross-pollinated with my fiction. But I would never create the fantastical dance forms I write about. 🤓😇🤓 Nope. Not me. Same with fantastical languages, even though I’m not actually a linguist. *innocent whistling with desperate undertones*
OK, fine! It's true, all true.
And yes, I did just take my 5 fantasy worlds and mashed them up into one umbrella world, showcasing different cultures at different times in its history with the different novel series.
Did I mention that I didn’t write a gladiator book? That I actually wrote a thick series, and this is only one of my huge fiction projects? I also may have folder after folder of memoir material, ruminations on being an artist, martial artist, trauma survivor and human trying to find those almighty Truths that I'm finally starting to share here.
Oh. And I do a lot of my own costuming. I also do collages and decorate spaces and color and create fantasy maps and cook.
I’m telling you. I REQUIRE CLONES. (6)
Why? Exactly as the video said: Because I have often found that reality is just not as enjoyable as fantasy. Art is not merely my passion. It is also one of my primary coping mechanisms, just like throwing myself into all my activities helped me survive my school years. Growing up as this HSP weirdo in the environment into which I was born…well, that's what a whole bunch of these memoirs are about.
If you're still reading, I hope maybe you're one of the people who can relate to some of this stuff, because I really do love having kindred spirit playmates. Or maybe you have someone in your life who is Highly Sensitive and I can help you understand them better.
To understand me better, we need to look at the ways that trauma impacts an HSP. Because I used to have a supercomputer brain the size of Jupiter to be capable of juggling 👆all that👆 like Tony Stark swiping his gazillion holo-screens around.
Then PTSD and Dain Bramage happened.
My final two types of sensitivity--Emotional and a type they didn't mention in the video, Extrasensory--are the places where we can most clearly see that I am an Orchid Child, not a Dandelion. But that needs a post of its own.
S L O W I N G the world down...
RESOURCES & LINKS
1) Emilie Wapnick's TED Talk on Multipotentiality
2) The answers to a bunch of my Frequently Asked Questions, including those lists of dance & martial arts styles I've studied
4) Once upon a time, I was a not-so-good Catholic girl who asked way too many questions her teachers were loathe to answer.
5) The Hartebeast System: A multipotentialite spaz vlogs about this rebrand from bellydance to Tejedora to the Dance of Elemental Alchemy.
6) If this post isn't any proof, I require an Izzy-Wrangler--I mean, personal assistant. Really badly! I also need a social media coordinator and a marketer. Will Trade For Dance Lessons. A chauffeur would be nice, too, if the Plague would ever recede. Oooh, and a massage therapist! Yeah, that'd be awesome...
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE:
--UP NEXT: BEING A SENSITIVE ORCHID IN A DANDELION WORLD - How Trauma Impacts Being an HSP
--OR if you'd like to learn more about my Imaginative, Intellectual, Psychomotor, Sensual multipotentiality, you can find all that here: