Hello, kindred spirit!
I hope you are having a wonderful day today. I’m Tricia, your sensitive and creative business coach and I am so, so grateful that you’re here. Whether you’re listening in your car, at home, while you’re working, while you’re walking…I do not take your presence here for granted.
It has been SO rewarding to see the response from the first few episodes of the podcast! If you haven’t checked them out, please make sure and go back. I wanted to feature my first podcast review, I was so excited when it came in. This review is by Ashley:
A great listen for highly sensitive entrepreneurs
Thank you for being a voice for us HSP business owners and encouraging us to be more of ourself instead of trying to fit the mold! Looking forward to hearing more.
Ahh thank you Ashley! I can’t thank you enough for listening and for taking the time to write a review. I know how busy y’all are, so when you take a minute to support the podcast, I notice and you, know, cry a little.
It’s not business, it’s personal!
So speaking of personal, today’s episode is a little special because I’m diving into a bit of my personal story.
When I decided to finally start this podcast, I came in with the intention that I wanted to be as authentic as possible, because authenticity can be so hard to find in the business world. I want each and every one of you to know that you are not alone. Your story is completely unique, but our underlying struggles are so similar. Especially as sensitives.
I’ve gotten braver about sharing my story over the past year, and I’ve seen what a difference it makes in the way others relate. By being vulnerable first, we give others the permission to be vulnerable back. Like we talked about in the last episode, Episode 2: The Secret to Business, business is all about connection over attention. The more real we are when we share, the more real our connections with others will be.
That doesn’t mean that putting myself out there hasn’t been scary and nerve racking. I felt a huge vulnerability hangover (that’s a Brene Brown term) after releasing the first 2 episodes, it took a lot more out of me than I was anticipating.
And this episode specifically, obviously, is the scariest so far. I have probably rewritten this episode 12 times and recorded it 5 times, and after this recording, the one I’m doing right now, I’m calling it. This is it. I’m working on letting go of perfection and getting it out there, thinking about anyone who really needs to hear my story.
So the story I want to tell, is the story of how I found myself in the last few years and got the courage to upend my entire life and start truly living in my purpose.
Disclaimer here that I am not a “before and after.” There is no after. This is a lifelong journey that only stops when we do.
But I’ve done some major work to reprogram my brain and my nervous system, to build habits and a mindset that support me, and to really, truly start acknowledging and loving who I really am. Taking care of myself, flaws and all.
This story is a longer story, I’m a writer and want to tell it fully, so I decided to break it up into 3 parts. This is part one.
Before we can find ourselves, we have to hit that moment of realizing that we’ve lost ourselves. Losing ourselves isn’t something that happens overnight. We’re not whole, complete people one day and then shells of ourselves the next day.
It happens slowly over time.
So this part of the story of how I found myself, is actually how I lost myself.
So to start the story, here’s a piece that I wrote called...
by Tricia Chinnici
My intuition wasn’t lost,
It was locked away.
Pounding on the door
While I put in headphones
And scrolled on my phone.
Sending me smoke signals through
A clenched stomach
A quickly beating heart
A tapping toe
A restless unease.
I locked it away
Holding on to the key for
When I was ready.
Bracing myself because I knew
If I opened the door
I’d have to face it…
The gentle soft whisper of love
You deserve more.
Did that piece resonate? If you feel like you’ve lost your self, your intuition, over time, or if you felt like you’ve never even really had them, you’re not alone. We are born our true selves, of course, but many of us, especially sensitive kids with strong emotions that make adults uncomfortable, get told who we need to be and how we need to act from very early on.
So let’s start by talking about what it’s like to be a highly sensitive kid.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is by the author Glennon Doyle and she says:
“I’m not a mess, but a deeply feeling person in a messy world. I explain that now when someone asks me why I cry so often, I say, for the same reason I laugh so often, I’m paying attention.”
They take in more sensory information from their environment than other kids. Highly sensitive children hear faint sounds, detect subtle smells and notice details in drawings and architecture that other kids ignore. They may find certain foods too flavourful, or can’t stand to wear certain fabrics.
They process information more thoroughly. Their creativity and intuition spring from this rich, deeply-reflective inner life.
They have a keen empathy for others. Highly sensitive kids take on the emotions of those around them, sharing in their highs and lows.
They are easily overstimulated. Compared to other children, sensitive kids tire more rapidly and need more rest or down time.
They are prone to sudden tantrums and meltdowns, often precipitated by information overload or emotional overload. Situations meant to be a treat for a child – an indoor playground, a birthday party or a day at a theme park – can quickly become an ordeal for sensitive kids.
So all in all, highly sensitive kids perceive more, ponder more and feel more. And they more quickly reach their limits. But given the fact that HSCs are in the minority, their reactions and solutions often seem odd to others.
Being a highly sensitive kid is hard. Like I said in episode 1 of the podcast, it is BRAVE to face the world as a highly sensitive person.
It is BRAVE just to survive as a highly sensitive kid.
For me, I was born in the 80’s and went to elementary school in the 90’s when everything was about self esteem, but we were told not to cry and to calm down any time we felt something. When we all got trophies for participating, but bullied if we made mistakes. We were told to go for our dreams, but not those dreams. To express ourselves, but not like that.
In Texas it felt like expression, creativity, and anything that stuck out as different was looked down upon.
I’m the second out of 4 kids in my family, so when my little brother was born I was 15 months old. But now, he was the baby, so I was no longer allowed to be the baby. Or a baby. I was moved out of the crib, kicked out of the stroller. We laugh in my family that my mom used to tell me, “Tricia, 2 year-olds can make their beds.” I had to grow up quickly to make room for the kids after me. I was an older sister now.
You know, I have a daughter now, and I just have one kid and struggle with finding a good balance of autonomy and cooperation, so I can imagine how hard it must have been for my parents to have 3 tiny kids, and one of them is highly sensitive and ADD, so she’s constantly feeling strong emotions, off in her own world, and has a hard time paying attention.
So in my very real experience, in our big family, maturity and obedience were expected and enforced. It was our job to make every around us happy, and to make our family look good. Failure to fall in line resulted in punishment. Physical punishment, alienation (being sent away), or threats of being left out or left behind.
These were all very “normal” ways of handling kids’ behavior at the time, but for me, as a highly sensitive kid, this was pretty traumatizing, you know?
Did you experience any of the same things? I’d love to know if you connect with this.
To add to this, we were very strict Catholic. Church every single Sunday no matter what. We were all altar servers. We went to catechism every week and received all of our sacraments. And while I there are some really beautiful things to be found inside of scripture, for me, it really heightened my guilt and shame. And I learned to use those as my motivators, instead of joy and curiosity.
So, between Texas in the 90’s mentality, a big family, and a strict religion……everywhere I turned the message I got was “don’t be yourself.” You don’t know what’s best for you, we do. God does. Don’t trust yourself, or even really listen to yourself.
But the main message I received internally was abandon abandon abandon. Abandon yourself, move towards others.
So, like I said in the poem earlier, I started locking my intuition away from a very young age. Purposefully.
I’m the one who shoved in the room and locked the door.
She told me to do things I was told not to do.
She gave me ideas that made me question what I was told.
She made me feel things I wasn’t supposed to feel.
The person I truly was got in the way of the person I was “supposed” to be. So I locked her away.
I’d hear her sometimes, inside of me, screaming from the other side of the door, and I’d just turn away really quick and tell her I’d pray for her.
She’d be welcome to come out as soon as she could also fall in line.
That’s really hard to think about.
The idea of a child locking away their personality and true nature in order to make the adults around them happy and comfortable.
And that’s how I lived my life.
Acting exactly the way I was supposed to.
Making everyone else happy.
Keeping them looking good.
Feeling responsible for the feelings of everyone around.
Giving up parts of myself to make others happy.
I didn’t always feel miserable. Children are wonderful at finding joy no matter what.
But I was intensely jealous and judging of anyone who was living in their truth.
And that’s how you know.
None of this was done intentionally by the people who raised and loved me, obviously. My parents are the absolute best people you’d ever meet (anyone listening who knows my parents is nodding along enthusiastically). They worked insanely hard to give us happy childhoods where we felt supported and loved. They built strong community for us and strong values. I had so many opportunities and all of the privilege, but parenting was different back then. Society was different. We didn’t know even close to what we know now about mental health and trauma and sensitivity.
The thing that saved me as highly sensitive child, trying to process the world as well as I could and keep up with life, was art.
My parents, thank God, recognized how much art and music and dance and performing really made me come alive and I was really lucky to grow up with strong creative outlets.
Art was where I could turn off the rest of the world and just be.
Where I could express the feelings that I didn’t feel like I could express in real life.
Where I could process my emotions and my pain.
Where I could
Where I could be me.
I remember sitting in my room after school, trying to avoid the chaos in the rest of the house, trying to avoid all my chores and homework and responsibilities, and just singing at the top of my lungs. Or getting completely immersed in a book. Or writing.
I was actually back in my childhood home a few weeks ago and I found a notebook with some of my writing from high school. And I wanted to read you this piece I found. I don’t remember the tune to the song any more, but I’d love to know if the lyrics speak to you, if you feel like maybe this is even something you might have written when you were younger.
So here it is, my untitled high school piece:
I'll sing for you if you want me to
I'm everything you need
I'm not too blonde and my eyes aren't blue
But I'll follow if you lead
Just remember that whatever you do
I'll sing for you indeed
You can make me laugh
You can make me cry
You can make me sing
You can make me sigh
You make me want you more
You make me want you less
But I guess I'll be
The first to confess
I don't know what it is
That makes me feel so good
I'm not perfect
But you've understood
You make me feel like I could do anything
So I just grab my guitar and begin to sing
If you want me to.
The sweetest little song from the sweetest little perfectionist and people pleaser.
"I’m not perfect, but you’ve understood."
"I’ll sing…if you want me to."
I feel for this girl so, so much.
She had no idea who she was, or how to be herself.
She felt so much shame when things seemed to affect her more than others.
She didn’t feel like she could speak her truth. She lied. A lot. About stupid things that didn’t make sense.
Because her imagination was stronger than the real world.
Because she wanted so, so badly to be liked.
Because she was a pretender and storyteller.
Because she didn’t even really know what her truth was.
She spent hours (DAYS) pouring over beauty magazines, thinking her value was in how people looked at her.
She spread herself thin with actives and friend groups because deep underneath she didn’t want to give anyone a chance to know her. She didn’t even really know her.
She was just trying the best she can. She really was.
Do you relate? Was this you, or was your experience similar?
I want you to take a moment and let’s do a quick exercise together.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and picture yourself as a teenager, maybe 15.
Maybe you’re in high school. Maybe you’re hanging out with friends. Maybe you’re doing school activities. Maybe you’re working.
I want you to make a minute and send as much LOVE as you have within you to 15 year old you.
The you that is so. damn. awkward.
The you that has big dreams for the future.
The you that’s having a hard time processing everything that’s coming in at you.
The you that’s feeling some strong feelings.
The you that’s making some pretty silly mistakes.
Breathe in. Breath out. And think:
What do you want to say to 15 year old you?
Breathe in. Breath out.
And what does 15 year old you have to say to you?
Breathe in. Breath out.
Now tell 15 year old you, "I love you."
Breathe in. Breath out.
Now tell 15 year old you, "Thank you."
How does that feel? It’s totally understandable if you’re emotional right now! Who you are now comes from who you were in the past. Part of loving who you are now, includes LOVING yourself in the past.
I hope this gives you something to think about for the next few days until the next episode! Again this is a 3 part story of how I found myself, so this first episode was all about how lost myself in the first place, #2 is when I hit rock bottom, and #3 is how I got out of it and the work I did to find the true me.
So I hope this gives you a lot to think about for the next few days until our next episode!
And if you missed episode 2, make sure and go back and check it out. I talk about The Secret to Business, which is something that I say in almost every call with every client, and something I have to remind myself constantly too.
I’d love to connect with you even more, so please find me on Instagram.
And if you loved this episode, it would mean so much to me if you wrote a review and shared about it! New podcasts get ranked higher with more listens and reviews, so if you are able to spare 3 minutes it would absolutely mean the world to me.
Have a beautiful week, my kindred spirit.