"You're just more sensitive than everyone else." Should that be an insult? It sure comes across as one. "You get hurt too easily." "You're not as strong as other people." "You're less capable of surviving something like this." These are all the things it feels like because, well, I am sensitive. I do feel it. I feel it so much it makes my stomach sick and my bones ache. It makes getting out of bed in the morning hard and falling asleep at night even harder.
It's what every artist has in common. It's what every artist has to have in common.
We have to express the things that other people can choose not to feel. We have to put them on the page or in the screen or in a dance or on the canvas so others can be reminded that they too felt these things once and connect. It's the way art works. You won't be able to create anything if your senses are dulled. You'll never affect those who witness it without being affected yourself.
We don't have a choice to choose not to feel these things. We can't make that choice, or we won't, at the very least. We know that to make that choice is to take the first step to compromising something more important than the moment's pain - our art. It is fueled, it lives, by the fact that we exist and are hyper-sensitive to everything around us.
Without feeling that touch of pain, we know we won't be able to feel the true height of joy. It is in these worlds of opposites that we exist. Our pain reminds us of why we need pleasure. Our pleasure is made all the greater by the fact that we have felt pain. To numb ourselves to even half of the spectrum is to eliminate the spectrum entirely. An artist should only paint in one color if it suits the message. He should never forgo buying the other colors entirely.
I don't speak of the artist as an exclusive term by any means. I believe that, given the right encouragement, we are all capable of art. I only mean that the ones of us who have chosen it, who are actively seeking it, do find ourselves more sensitive. We are open to all stimuli. We feel what we feel, not because we're supposed to or because we want to, but because we do. We are ourselves as much as we can possibly stand.
So what's happened to make that a bad thing?
“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive. To them… a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off… They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.” - Pearl Buck