Are You Sensitive to Touch?

I am.

And it is incredibly frustrating.

For as long as I can remember I have hated being poked. Being the middle child, I was constantly being poked by my siblings because they knew how much I hated it. They would actually come up to me, without me knowing, and point their finger about an inch away from me…and I could feel it. This inevitably would lead to some punches by me.

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Even that pointy finger picture makes me cringe.

Don’t ever tickle me.

Or you will also get a punch in the face for that.

Being tickled feels like I am being suffocated.

For the last several years I have become increasingly sensitive on my back and stomach. I am the tightest in these spots and so I attribute my sensitivity to this tension.

But I find it so embarrassing and I don’t know how to get rid of it.

I feel like such a freak when I have seen massage therapists as I am sure that they have never seen a client like me. I will shudder and flinch at certain massage techniques on my back or even with the slightest unintentional graze of their sleeve across my back. Luckily my massage therapist, whom I see regularly, now knows how to reduce the flinching…but it will still happen if I have not seen her for awhile.

Even in the throws of passion…wanting to be touched and caressed on my back…yet my body is giving out mixed signals.

I had thought it was because I had an issue with trust. Since I had been in a few emotionally abusive relationships which violated my physical boundaries…I wondered if these had a big impact on my sensitivity…but I don’t believe that I can solely blame it on that.

I recently had a reiki treatment with a reiki master who I was seeing for the first time. When I have had reiki done in the past…the practitioner was always hovering without actually physically touching me. So I am sure you can imagine my reaction when he laid his hands on my stomach and on my back. It was enough to knock me out of the energy clearing zone that I was in. And then I started to be incredibly cruel to myself in my head…telling myself that I am such a freak! And why can’t I be normal???

Another incident happened today when I went to restorative yoga. I am trying out this new studio and focusing on restorative yoga as it is meant to balance the parasympathetic nervous system…which I need since clearly I am on edge.

The yoga instructor at times will go around and add extra pressure to help you deepen the pose. She always asks ahead of time if it is ok to touch and to raise your head if it was not ok.

I wanted to be ok.

I saw her come around and I had to keep my eyes half open so I could see when she was coming up behind me. She touched my hips and I hwas ok. But then she went up my spine and I shuddered. She asked me if I was ok and I replied yes.

But I was not.

I was incredibly angry with myself for being this way.

I wanted to be ok with touch.

Even if she had told me she was coming…I still would have flinched on  my back.

She came around again on several other poses and this time she told me that she was here and then proceeded to gently apply pressure.

This act of kindness and compassion brought tears to my eyes.

But wait…

Were the tears because she was so kind or because she had to tell me that she was next to me now? Because I am that sensitive person who needs to be told? Someone who needs advance warning?

Why am I like this?

Why can’t I just be normal?

I honestly don’t know how to get over this…

What else should I be trying so I feel ok being touched on my back?

Am I alone in this?

How I Battled My Demons While Traveling Solo

In my previous posts I shared how I had faced my fears while surfing and zip lining in Costa Rica…but I did not mention the biggest fear that I was taking on – traveling solo and attempting to be comfortable with myself…ALONE.

When I had been researching where I wanted to travel…my hope was that I would have a traveling partner. But everyone was too busy…either with their marriage and kids…or because they had other things going on in their lives that they could not break free from.

So I was at a crossroad…I desperately needed a holiday to clear my head…so do I hold off a little bit longer until I had a travel partner…or do I just go ahead solo?

My mind was so chaotic and I had not been able to think clearly for some time. I am a very ambitious person and when I put my mind to something…I typically achieve it. But I was so confused about my life and what direction I wanted it to take…

So I couldn’t wait.

I needed to go.

The only way I was going to travel alone is if I was going to a retreat which would allow me the opportunity to socialize and be surrounded by other people consistently. I have traveled alone before and I did not enjoy it. Mainly because I had been living in England at the time…away from my family and friends…and so traveling alone did not provide the reflection it was meant to because I was already living a life on my own.

I researched yoga retreats in Hawaii…but they were too pricey. I continued to search and ended up coming across a yoga and surf retreat in Costa Rica. This retreat would give me the opportunity to have my own space…but to also be able to socialize in the common areas of the lodge. The retreat had amazing reviews and the owner was always available to check in with…and that was important to me…so that I would also feel safe.

I spent some time thinking about it…and the more thought I put into…the more I realized that I would actually relish the idea of being alone…being away from all the demands of my current life…and to just focus on myself.

I was ready.

I was excited.

But I was nervous too.

So off I went.

During my holiday…I battled a lot of demons in my mind…and a lot of them surrounded around the SHOULD’s. What SHOULD I be doing? How SHOULD I be behaving? How SHOULD I be spending my time?

1. I SHOULD be making friends. Typically people always ask if you made any friends on your holiday. My intention for this holiday was not to meet people and make new friends.  I did not have to. If I made plans with people…then great. But if I didn’t…that was ok too. I did not need to latch onto anybody to feel worthy and to feel less alone. I let conversations occur organically and I definitely had some interesting conversations with people that I met. But I had to accept that I am a quiet person. I am an introvert. That’s who I am. I did not need to pretend to be someone else just to make friends.

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All my delicious meals I ate solo

2. I SHOULD be doing things with other people. I had to let go of the fear of judgment from other people. I was alone…what if people are looking at me and feeling pity? Or think I’m a loser because I am on my own? It didn’t matter anymore…I had to own it…fear of judgment from others only meant that I was judging myself. The sunset was just as beautiful in my solitude.

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Sunset in Santa Teresa

3. I SHOULD be making a love connection. Now I am a romantic…and typically I end up having some small romance on my holidays…but this time I steered clear of it. I did not need the affection of a man to help me feel more comfortable with being alone and this would not automatically make my holiday even more special than it already was. Even on Valentine’s day…I enjoyed a lovely margarita and a delicious seafood lunch for one in a romantic beachfront restaurant. I also met a few young children from a local family and I gifted them with colouring books and crayons.

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Valentine’s Day at Las Caracolas

4. I SHOULD be more calm and relaxed. I’m on holiday after all! But my anxiety was not going to be cured during a 1 week holiday. Managing anxiety is a lifestyle. I am an anxious person and it is not easy to come down from that just because I am sitting on a beach. I had nowhere to be…yet it was difficult at times to relax on the beach and I would switch from doing my puzzle book…then reading…then going into the ocean…sitting in the sun…back into the shade…eating…going to yoga…but I just had to accept it. That’s just me and I was not going to judge myself because of it.

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Pura Vida = Pure Life

5. I SHOULD be out at the beach all day. There were times where I just felt tired and all I wanted to do was sit in my air conditioned bungalow and just watch Full House on Netflix. And that’s exactly what I did. Let’s just say that I finally learned the correct lyrics to the theme song (apparently I had been singing the wrong lyrics for 20+ years!) and it was running through my head almost everyday…all day! But hey…I am not going to judge myself for it! Who wouldn’t want to enjoy the beautiful and simplistic bungalow that I was staying in?

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My air conditioned private bungalow at the Funky Monkey Lodge (kitchen suite was on the right)


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My private deck

I just had to let go of any and all expectations…and just go with the flow…knowing that no matter what I did…or how I did it…I would be ok. I did not allow my mind to make me feel sorry for myself.

And as it turns out…being alone was not so bad after all…actually…this was one of the THE best holidays I have ever had. I did exactly what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted to do it. What was initially a reluctant solo holiday turned out to be a blessing in disguise where I had to come face to face with my own demons…and I came back with clarity and ready with the mindset to move forward with the next vision for my life.

So if you ever have the opportunity to travel on your own and want to work on your self-growth…I highly recommend it.

I became comfortable with myself.

I felt empowered.

Are there any SHOULD’s that you are battling with in your life?

Another Fear Conquered in Costa Rica

The last few days of my holiday in Costa Rica were amazing…despite being hit on the head by my surfboard during my final surf lesson…I took a short break and continued on in the water…I was not going to let my fear take control and defeat me.

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Surf the waves in Santa Teresa

I focused at looking ahead and not down on my surfboard…which would always lead to a guaranteed tumble. I spoke to myself…in my head…and said that I could do it…and that I just needed to be patient and to take it one step at a time.

I was surfing on the small waves…and I even got some photos to show for it…complete with a smiling face.  I was so happy to have completed all three of my lessons…and my instructor was so incredibly proud of me.

I was so proud of me.

I also went zip lining in Mal Pais. I am afraid of heights and wanted to challenge myself and face this fear. There was no one else at the Canopy Mal Pais Tour when I got there and so it was me…on my own again…with the 3 guides…and these guys were incredibly kind and funny…putting me at ease…

There were eight zip lines and the first one was short and of course I didn’t take in any of the jungle scenery or the ocean during the first one. I was pretty focused on ensuring that I had the right technique.  But when I did manage to look around…the view was spectacular…lush green jungle and the soft blue of the ocean…I was drinking all of it in…

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View while zip lining in Mal Pais

Now…was I scared? YES!

But I didn’t give myself any time to think about my impending fall to death…and I was strapped on and I was pushed…perhaps it was the positive energy and friendliness of the guides…who told me that I could do it…or perhaps I had more strength in me than I realized…

The next few zip lines involved doing tricks…which meant that I would have to let go of my tight grip and put all my faith into the guide…and also onto myself…with the prayer that gravity would not propel me to my death.

I thought they were crazy for allowing people to do this…

I was essentially hanging off the zip line…with my instructor holding my legs up on a V position…I was upside down…hurling at top speed with just my face…and I could feel my heart jump into my throat…I was petrified…I initially wanted to panic and cry…but I actually talked myself down from that…mid flight…and I screamed the entire way…but I made it…I made it in one piece!

What a thrill…I just couldn’t believe that I did it…I was still alive!

I was so ready for the next one…nothing could stop me now!

I did another trick where I flew like Superwoman through the trees…with the guide holding me…always feeling the sheer terror during the first half…but enjoying it and continuing to screaming during the second…but with a smile on my face…

upside-down-zip-lineThe last trick…I was hanging upside down like a cannon ball…going backwards…with my arms spread out like wings…without being able to see…this was by far the most scariest one…because I couldn’t see where I was going! I had to let go and believe that I would be caught at the other end and stopped just in time before smashing into the tree…

Oh my god…the terror…the thrill…

The triumph…the victory…

I did it…how amazing…how gratifying…

Another fear conquered…

I am invincible.

My Surfing 180

I had my second surfing lesson yesterday and it was a completely different experience than my first. 

I woke up wondering if there was any way that I could get out of the lesson because I feared that it would be as unproductive as it was yesterday. I was also exhausted from not sleeping well and my body was incredibly sore.

How was I going to do this?

What if I panicked like yesterday?

My instructor came to get me and we both shared how tired we were…but nonetheless…we both had to do it. I told him that I needed to take it easy because my body can only handle so much since it is quite sensitive. I guess I wanted to explain my inadequacies…just in case I floundered again. 

I practiced the technique on the sand several times…trying to memorize the steps so that I could make it flow…because I was not supposed to ‘think too much about it’ when I am on the surfboard. 

And then off we went…into the water. 

Trust me – he said. I am always with you. 

We went into the waves…head on…jumping up as they came at us in full force…pinching my nose to make sure I didn’t over indulge in my salt intake. 

We turned around…I hopped onto the board…ready…

Hands in position…push into cobra…downward dog…left foot forward and then right…and I was surfing!!!

I did it…I couldn’t believe how much my energy and my disposition had changed from yesterday…I was confident…and I felt exhilarated! 

High fives from my instructor! 

He was so proud of me and said that I had done a complete turnaround from yesterday…which even he was surprised by. He re-affirmed to me that I had taken some major steps towards freeing my mind of chaos…and I was able to surf because I had let go…


Back towards the waves we went again…and my eyes pierced through those waves with such intensity because I knew I had defeated them…and despite a few falls…I was standing…I was surfing…I was riding those waves. 

I was fearless. 

I went from having major anxiety to feeling free and liberated with a sense that I had just overcome a major obstacle in my life…I didn’t have to be afraid anymore. 

I was laughing.

I was smiling.

I was happy.

I felt alive. 

Perhaps I was finally starting to absorb the Pura Vida lifestyle of Costa Rica. 

I’m Festering!!

Ok…for those of who deal with anxiety…this is a big one: FESTERING. Sometimes I fester about things like no tomorrow. Like-I am not going to eat-or do anything-but lie in my bed-waiting for my phone to ping with all this nervous energy-festering. And while this happening…my thoughts are running a mile a minute. This can happen in any variety of circumstances, but the recent one for me is with dating. I won’t go into specifics, but I am sure many of you can relate: You have an amazing date…and then nothing. In order to contain this…I decided to blog about this instead…so yes…I am writing about festering to distract myself from festering…

Now I typically overreact and I am probably the worst person to try and practice giving people the ‘benefit of the doubt’. I am normally a confident person when I am single and on my own…but there is nothing like dating that makes me feel incredibly mentally unstable. I spent all day day festering about this…wondering why he would not have texted back…I could not have been THAT bad in my character judgment of him…could I? I have pretty good intuition and I did feel that he was genuine…and we had agreed to meet on Sunday evening…but I heard nothing. People’s behaviour still boggles my mind…actually my own behaviour boggles my mind too…

Even though I have been burned time and time again…I still have my heart open for love. And I was giddy with this man…like he was checking all my boxes and saying all the right things…and I think I even said to him ‘is this too good to be true?’ My friend told me that I had to lower my expectations and that if I was going to be giddy then I have to be able to handle the fallout from that if things don’t go well. My reaction to that: but this is me…this is who I am. I get excited about meeting someone great…I just can’t help it. I can usually contain my excitement and exercise greater patience than I am with this man…but for some reason he has a hold on me after just one date. And yes…perhaps this is my punishment for getting too excited. But what’s wrong with being happy and excited about the possibility of a potential relationship? This…right now…that’s what’s wrong. Sitting here wondering why the universe just can’t cut me some slack and bring love into my life.

I have learned enough lessons haven’t I? What more do I need to learn?

So there is not much that I can do when I fester…because I just want to sulk…and I recognize that I should be distracting myself…but…I. Just. Can’t. Do. It. Today…writing this entry is feeding my soul…but I am allowing my anxiety and my thoughts to control me today…I know this will pass…either with a message from him…or a final closure message from me…but I will move through this…as I always do…because I know that I deserve love…

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