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On The Word Sensitive

Slice of life

By River JoyPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
River 2022

I have found in my dealings with hundreds of humans a week for the last ten years of my life that "sensitive" is a word used as an insult by people who are clinging to a power that is not actually theirs. Not long ago I left high volume retail, sensitivity was weakness. I was burned out, exhausted and unsure how I was going to handle the rest of my life.

I find it a very strange word to be weaponized, and it's often weaponized against me when I'm calling out an injustice. Weirdly never by the person who created the injustice, because in this context I am at work and therefore no one within twenty levels above me created said injustice. Being the very bottom of the food chain in a corporate environment opens your eyes to the most unreasonable of abuses. Sensitive is what they call you when you use your voice to call out injustice. Sensitive is what they use to brush aside worker solidarity, because words are power, unity is power.

If by sensitive you mean unwilling to stay silent when something is inherently wrong, I am proud to own that word and it's not an insult. If by sensitive you mean making you feel uncomfortable for playing along with things that are inherently wrong. That's not a me problem. Sensitive just means a strong sense of justice, sometimes admittedly seeing black and white a little too often, shades of grey are hard when it comes to human rights.

One of my most treasured memories is when I had a small part in the beginning of The Nutcracker at my old dance studio. The studio always did a small singing performance before the actual start of The Nutcracker's opening scene. It didn't really have anything to do with The Nutcracker, but I think the studio wanted to support all forms of art in the tiny kind of small minded town. I was not the singer, I was playing her sister or something, because I was five.

I digress, the first time my dance teacher played me the song she was going to sing, I cried. I got REALLY embarrassed, and she got down on my level and told me "never let that go, that emotional connection is a gift, cry". Now if you knew this particular dance teacher she was tough as nails, but something about her softness and her laser sharp focus in making me feel okay to feel in that moment has come back to me in waves over the years. Sometimes you don't see just how valuable a teacher is until you're looking back on your life and feel their presence in a core memory.

I remember the years when I didn't cry, I remember the years when I built up rock solid walls around myself. I was miserable. I was all angles no curves. Worse, not being sensitive made me mean and angry, mostly towards myself. The world told me that sensitive was dangerous, that it was weak. The world is wrong.

I now yearn for softness and laughter and real genuine connection and communication. Sensitive is cool man, sensitive is showing compassion AND standing up for your morals.

If we were all a bit more sensitive maybe we wouldn't find ourselves sticking up for poor decisions made by people we will never meet and who do not care.

If we were a bit more sensitive maybe we could see the person across from ourselves as a complete human being, instead of a series of brief flashes.

This is really just my long winded way of saying sensitive is not an insult, it's beautiful.


About the Creator

River Joy

I make things with paint and words and light. I was once described as an asshole with Mr. Rodgers vibes.

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