Day 2 of 365; What’s in a Name

Day 2 asked for a change, to step out and think differently; to brand the blog with something that would tell you more about its purpose. So I changed the title, added a widget (deleted some too), and changed into some new clothes. Originally J. Price Higgins, an author’s name whose books are still being published.

I must rely on the help of mortals to get the word out, and because I didn’t get to say, do and write all the things rumbling through my head, I started this blog. Well, someone else actually started it; but it was my idea. [grin]  Want to know more about me? I am (was, darn it’s going to take some time to get used to that) a little out-of-the box. OK, a lot.

I have to share a strange self discovery with you. First a note: my brother has often said I was given the gift of discernment, especially after a rather spirited debate on biblical things. He’s been a Baptist pastor for about 10 years and in the beginning was pretty adamant on what the Bible did or did not say which usually led to a string of questions and answers and disagreements. Now, I’m not a Bible scholar, yet as the years passed, I noticed he began coming for coffee and almost always had a specific topic in mind he wanted to soundboard on. Then, one day, almost as a passing thought, he commented on the gift. About a year ago, he tried to explain to me what that meant–as he saw it. So that’s the side note.

Around Christmas in 2010, while grocery shopping, a lady, late fifties early sixties, walked up beside me and just began talking. Not at all unusual, and I can normally sidestep a conversation, but not this time. There was something about her, a sort of pleading aura and I found myself listening and every now and then responding. Each time I’d turn to continue my shopping, she would gently touch my arm and continue with her story. Anyway, to make a long story short, she stayed right beside me, talking all the while until I reached the checkout line. Only then did she stop, looked straight into my eyes, and said “Thank you. I don’t know why, but I just knew you would understand.” With that she headed off down a grocery aisle, leaving me feeling most distressed and sad.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

In December, when my refrigerator/freezer quit working, I finally found a repair technician (turned out he was the owner of the shop) who could come out that same evening & inspect or repair if possible. He arrived approx 6:30 PM. He was on his way home from his last job–a young man. Late 40’s, very early 50’s. While he was working, he started to talk and talk and talk and talk about his marriage, his previous marriage, his small farm, his repair business, his feelings. Although his voice was conversational, his emotional distress was coming at me in waves. He finished his job, gave me the bad news, and continued talking even after I walked him outside. It was almost 9:00 PM when he left with “I didn’t mean to talk your ear off, but thanks for listening. I needed that.” A perfect stranger sharing very personal information, just like the super market lady.

Today, I was in Walmart, walking down the aisle where feminine products are shelved including the Depends supplies. As I started up another aisle, a lady behind me said “Excuse me.” When I turned around, a Mexican woman in a wheelchair was smiling at me. I thought I was in the way and started to move aside and she shook her head and pointed to the shelf where the Depends were stacked. At this point, let me state that 2 clerks were in the same area, putting supplies on shelves. Again, to shorten story, she first asked for help in determining what size of Depends she should buy and then she started to talk about her daughter, her son-in-law, her husband, her loneliness and being confined to a wheelchair. It wasn’t as if she were complaining or whining about her situation, it was just a deep distress coming through.  I felt so bad for her. And I felt so drained of energy.

It isn’t as if these are isolated incidents. Over these past many years, I’ve always known It was extremely difficult for me to be where pain or grief or emotional/mental distress might lurk. Probably why I’m such a recluse as my sister and my daughter call me. In fact, there was a time when I would meet new people and get an immediate flash of an animal which as I grew to know them fit their personalities to a T. Very disconcerting. When it started happening as I walked down the street, entered a restaurant, stopped for gas etc., I worked hard to stop it. Although, on occasion, it will still pop up if I’m caught unaware.

empath buddhaNow, why have I embarked on this long tale of weirdness? Because, tonight I received an answer to a lifetime of such incidents, but don’t intend to bore you with the plethora of situations. I get home from shopping, the WalMart lady on my mind which then led down the path of many such while I fixed a cup of coffee and went out to the back steps to have a cigarette. Puffing away, I wondered why? What drew strangers to confide? Why, if I wasn’t careful, did I feel “stuff” I couldn’t see swirling around me or get strange sensations from those I loved that were distant from me? That’s when I discovered who I was (probably), because one word floated into my mind. Empath. So what the hell was empath? I Googled it and am astounded at what I found. Page after page describing the word and it was like reading my life journal. I’m still in shock. With all the subjects I’ve been exposed to, I don’t recall ever having seen the word let alone knowing what it meant. I think maybe if I had, daily life would have been so much easier to deal with. Or maybe not. Who knows. Still, I think it’s a shame I’m pushing the completion of 80 years and just now able to say “No, you are not on the cusp of crazy and do not think weird.”

I think I might could write a story based on this Empath thing. Of course, there are probably stories out there already so what could I say that would catch attention? Hummm. I bet I could think of something. Conjure Me a Body Fair has been long dormant without purpose. I think maybe I can change it around to fit Empath into the concept. Hummmm.



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