Let It Go

I rushed through the Hemmingway salad at lunch in order to get to the reason I’d come to the restaurant. A friend from Michigan suggested I stop in at Jesperson’s for a slice of cherry berry pie while I was visiting Petoskey on my solo journey that year. I’d ridden my bike along the Little Traverse Wheelway by the edge of Lake Michigan for most of the morning. Surely, I had worked off some of the calories in the piece of pie a la mode.

Before I bit into my dessert, I took a picture. I’m not a Foodie and rarely get photos of what I’m about to eat. But that pie sitting next to that cup of dark roast coffee looked like a perfect still life that would remind me of a sweet moment in downtown Petoskey. Biting into the pastry, it had that tartness of small cherries mixed with raspberries that I’d hoped for, countered by the sweetness of the filling and ice cream.

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Slowly eating the warm, freshly baked confection, it was a contrast to the bitter taste left by an interaction with a staff member in the art gallery down the street. Before coming in for lunch, I was browsing, checking out the works of Michigan artisans including pottery dishes, watercolors of the lake, knitted items and the one that caught my eye– a fiber art piece. The woman behind the counter asked if she could help.

“I really like this,” I said, and pointed to the fiber art. “Is the artist from Petoskey?” I asked, hoping to find out more, trying to strike up a conversation since traveling alone made me eager to talk with people along the way.

She didn’t answer my question. Instead, she responded, “You’re a visitor. I hear a little twang.”

I felt irritated, like I’d been put down by her word ‘twang’ which wasn’t how I’d describe my Southern accent.

“Yes, that’s right,” I said and smiled, trying to ignore what felt like a slight, and keep the conversation going.

She answered my question, saying the artist lived in Grand Rapids, then wrapped the fiber art and rang up my purchase. Simply Business.

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Fiber Art by Karen Godfrey

I felt irritated, prickled by her comment that made me feel like she’d poked fun at me. Why did I have to let such a little thing bother me?

I had an idea about that. Several years before I was talking with an acquaintance and we discovered that we both had a hard time just ‘going with the flow’ because we were too affected by all that surrounded us. She said to me,”I think you’re like me. You’re a HSP.” Seeing my confusion, she clarified, “It’s a Highly Sensitive Person. We’re that group that take things too seriously and can’t ignore stuff.”

She loaned me her book, The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron. Reading through it, taking the self-assessment test, I saw characteristics that were true of me: have a rich, complex inner life, easily overwhelmed by strong sensory input, other people’s moods affect me, as a child your parents or teachers saw you as sensitive or shy.

On my roadtrip to Michigan, I visited my cousin in Toledo for a couple of days. We had wonderful conversations, sitting on her screened porch in the early mornings, talking about Rosser family memories. She was ten years older than me and grew up in New Jersey. We laughed that both of us had been compared to our Aunt Polly who was ‘sensitive’ and like us, enjoyed art and were more fanciful than pragmatic.

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Shopping with my cousin Shirley

Now I took another forkful of pie, savoring the treat as long as possible. Maybe Shirley and Aunt Polly were HSPs, too, I thought. Since having my own two sons and seeing their unique traits, I believed that some things are nurtured and some things are provided by nature– how we’re uniquely made and family traits are handed down through our DNA.

Finishing with the final sip of coffee, I pulled the fiber art from the sack and examined my souvenir that I would hang above my writing desk. The serious girl, her photo transferred onto the fabric, reminded me of myself when I was young. Perhaps I was so accustomed to the regional ways of my Southern home that the comment by the Midwesterner in the gallery had made me bristle.

If part of my ‘true nature’ was being sensitive, then I needed to accept that and be grateful for the advantages and learn to live with the disadvantages– like we all do with our true natures.

Accepting all aspects of myself, I would appreciate the tart and the sweet, just like the piece of pie that I had polished off. When comments sounded abrasive to my sensitive ears, I could just tell myself, “Let It Go, Connie” and move on rather than allowing that slight to accumulate in my memory bank.

Now, the still life of the pie and coffee and the fiber art girl above my desk looking out at me, are reminders to “Let It Go,” a sweet memory from Michigan that I can carry along the way.

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Little Traverse Wheelway, Petoskey, Michigan

 

To Read More about HSPs:

Check out Elaine Aron’s work at Highly Sensitive Person.

How About You?

What are challenges you have with your temperment?

How can you accept all of yourself, recognizing the strengths and weaknesses that make up your true nature?

 

 

16 thoughts on “Let It Go

  1. I relate to your post, Connie. I have found myself in the same type of scenario at times, letting one person’s comment or behavior permeate the rest of my day. Sounds like you handled it beautifully and didn’t let her best you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Wendy,
      Thanks so much for reading and sharing that you struggle with the same thing. I have to keep reminding myself to Let it Go. I wish it could be ‘once and done,’ but then that isn’t how our habitual responses work.
      Best to you as you work toward not letting the negative permeate.
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey Erika,
        You’re right–we can’t control the actions of others. I think it helps to realize how we feel impacted by their behaviors, and like you say, “Do Unto Others” in the way you wish to be treated.
        Thanks so much for reading and sharing your ideas.
        Connie

        Like

  2. Connie, this is the second try to comment. I am not able to reconstruct my words but would like to reflect on the inscription on the Fiber Art. The statement may have never been read by the shop owner. For you, it meant all that the experience would reveal. Jasperson’s Cherry Berry Pie. Now that was the mission of the Journey. Great read. And very YOU.
    Blessings,
    John

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey John,
      Thanks for reading and for giving me a new angle for thinking about that experience. You’re right, it’s likely that the shop owner hadn’t read that inscription–there were lots of pieces of art in that gallery. But I was focused on just that piece–and the words drew me.
      You’re right also about my ‘mission’ being accomplished. That was a great slice of pie!
      Best to you,
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Marie,
      Yes, it feels like things are often ‘prickly’ to me and I look around and others seem to be unaffected–which I guess they are! I know what you mean about feeling that people don’t get us. But we HSPs understand each other–so I guess we have to find comfort in that. Thanks for reading and sharing your feelings, Marie.

      Like

  3. Dear Connie, what a beautiful story of honoring how God made you. I used to get offended easily, which had much to do with loneliness and shame. I try to teach my boys remember God who made you when others ignore or offend. Like all things, it is part of the journey. Keep me posted on your book. I look forward to reading it. In Christ, Julie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Julie,
      Thanks so much for reading and sharing. I’m glad you’ve recognized this in yourself and the root cause. So good that you’re raising your boys to see their uniqueness in God.
      Will keep you posted about my memoir.
      Best to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful post. Sigh. So many challenges, so little time 😉 We are works in progress, never finished until we pass into the next world. Yes, it is frustrating, but also a perpetual gift of newfound wisdom and forgiveness! I love the fiber art, and just spent an enjoyable moment browsing Karen’s website.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. I like how you refer to us being ‘works in progress’– so true. It helps to look at the challenges as perpetual gifts– giving us a heart of gratitude.
      Thanks for your wisdom and your encouragement,
      Connie

      Like

  5. I enjoyed this very much, and the juxtaposition of the sweet & tart pie with ice cream – yum! Took the test and – ding, ding, ding, HSP here, too. Imagine growing up in a noisy family ~ I often “escaped” the chaos to the quiet of a horseback ride, a book in the tent or the backyard swing. reading through the questions I can see now that I’ve always been HSP and empathic, I feel all of the energy/moods from others, and work to create an environment that is peaceful and tranquil (and not too stimulating) for me! Fun post, thanks! MJ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey MJ,
      Thanks so much for reading and for sharing from your experiences. I retook the test and was surprised by some of the items– which I didn’t remember from the book. Glad that was helpful for you, too.
      Sounds like you knew what you needed to do to escape the chaos. It does help when we understand this about ourselves so we can recognize those situations that make us feel on edge.
      Best to you in creating those peaceful and tranquil places,
      Connie

      Like

  6. Connie,

    I too am an HSP. Ironically, I had several slights when I lived in Michigan (I’m originally for New York and went to Michigan State.) I used to get put down about my New York accent. I don’t think the problem is Michigan, as much as people’s polorozation of each other. This post is a beautiful one, and that pie and coffee look yummy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Beth,
      So it’s not ’cause I’m a Southerner that they put me down?! That’s so interesting that you felt it with your Northern accent. You’re right, people polarize one another in whatever way they can– but ultimately, we would do better to embrace each other’s differences.
      And by the way, my son lived in Manhattan for almost 7 years, and when we visited him, I came to love the different NY accents. They blended together into a beautiful sound.
      Glad you enjoyed the post and wish I could offer you a slice of that pie and a cup of coffee! They were delicious.
      Thanks for reading and for sharing your experience, Beth.
      Best to another HSP,
      Connie

      Like

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