Mental Wellness

Can a HSP Get a Thick Skin?

I love to write. I have a complete memoir and a novel, plus a draft of a second novel under my belt. Once my work is complete, the process of looking for an agent is crushing. Ten or twelve no’s and I’m done. Then I start on the next project, because writing and researching are the fun parts for me. Is this a character flaw? Shouldn’t I be able to withstand rejection?

In the last five years I came upon the term HSP, meaning highly sensitive person. When I read the traits that characterized HSPs, my eyes went wide. Click here for a good article in Psychology Today on the subject. Fifteen to twenty percent of the US population has this processing sensitivity to light, sound, pain, and emotions. These heightened perceptions are also marks of a highly creative mind and someone who is very empathetic.

Those sound like positives to me. However, it can make the editorial process painful. Last month I sent my memoir about studying abroad in Spain to a professional copy editor. I sent it to someone I know and trust. They were even-handed, tactful, and they even like the funny bits. But when I read the proposed edits, I dissolve into tears. I’ve made very little headway in processing the manuscript feedback. The changes are good suggestions, but I can’t seem to move forward. Any ideas for baby steps?

Fellow HSPs, what self care and structure helps you get through challenges?

Happy Manic Monday! –Rebecca

Mental Wellness

Plays, I’d Like to Write All Day

First flush of words, in high school and college I wrote poetry; maudlin love poems, nature’s joy, philosophical musings, or love’s epitaphs. Reading and writing poetry made me feel centered. Poetry and I went steady in my teens and 20s.

Then, in my twenties and thirties, I wrote short stories and fiction. I penned a novel named Spoke featuring a Vietnam Veteran whose heart found its way home as he cycled the Hill Country of Texas. One writer’s conference, an agent was interested, but her boss nixed it. I wrote a second novel about a young food critic in Minneapolis who falls in love with a chef from India.

In my forties, I worked on a memoir about studying abroad in Spain the fall of my junior semester. That trip was the pivot point of my life. I was changed irrevocably after four months talking with Latin American and Spanish students every day. My world became larger than the Twin Cities, larger than the state of Minnesota. I was now an American in the true sense of the word, someone from the continent of the Americas, along with my new friends from Mexico, Peru, Chile, Colombia, and Argentina.

Most recently, last week in fact, I wrote my first play. We were planning entertainment for our child’s school family night on Zoom. I had this idea for a mystery…

Mental Wellness

When in Doubt, Get Creative

“I love, therefore I create. I create therefore I am.” –Rebecca

Creating feeds my soul; writing poetry, blogging, songwriting, singing, dancing, photographing, painting and drawing. When my spirit is at peace, I am relaxed and communicate better. Journaling before bedtime, inviting the words to flow through me, manifesting themselves in ink. Joy, wonder, this experience cannot be bought or sold; no TV program or video game can produce this satisfied feeling. Then, to share my art with another – to connect and form community around creativity. That is Divine.

Thank you blogging community! Life Adventures has just reached 50 followers. I am honored by your presence. I am glad for our shared writings during these challenging times.

What creativity feeds your soul?

Happy Manic Monday! –Rebecca

Pond Reflection Photo: Rebecca Cuningham
Mental Wellness

Poetry as Therapy

Poetry is present for me whenever I need it. I sit down with pen and and it seems like the words flow out my fingers onto the page. I write what come to mind without thinking about grammar and punctuation. Expressing my feelings gives me peace. It is a tenderness I show myself.

Etching letters on paper has supported me through waning love and grief, rejoicing and celebration, and recording the beauty of nature. Each phrase is a cradle for a feeling.

Queen of Autumn

Maple Crimson Maple
Green Green Center
Delighting my Eyes
Windy Fall Chasing
Pico de Gallo Leaves
Round
to
the
Ground

–Rebecca Cuningham 10/11/20

*Pico de gallo: Salsa made from cubed tomato, onion, peppers, and cilantro leaves.

Do you use creativity to express your emotions?

It’s Manic Monday and that’s good news! Thanks for reading and commenting. -Rebecca

Red and Green Maple Tree Photo: Rebecca Cuningham