Yay! Welcome back! I’m still analyzing the heck out of this checklist. And now it’s time to talk about how flippin’ sensitive I am. Maybe it would be more appropriate to have my husband write this section since he has to deal with the outcome of my sensitivities but, of course, that isn’t going to happen. The fact that my husband, as far as I know, has never read my blog makes me cry. But I digress.
Section G: Sensitive
Sleeping has become much easier now that I know that there are certain things I can and cannot wear to bed. Also, it helps to know that if my sleeping environment is over the temperature of 68 degrees I will not sleep (which makes sleeping at someone else’s house very hard because they rarely want to have their house this cold). Over the years I have learned that I need a white noise machine or else my “mom ears” will wake me up at just the slightest teensy bit of noise. I don’t do well with certain types of covers… flannel sheets are a no-go. Bed spreads are too heavy. And, I cannot sleep in the middle. I have to be on the edge of the bed or else. Everyone likes to cater to mom’s sleeping needs because if mom doesn’t sleep, mom isn’t happy. And we all know what it’s like when mom isn’t happy, don’t we?
My dreams have always been wild and interesting. I often have anxiety-filled dreams. Especially if I’m going through a tough time (like losing my mom or having my kid go through a bone marrow transplant). I have found that when my dreams become particularly difficult to deal with, there is relief in taking Holy Basil. There have been several times in the past when I’ve had precognitive dreams. For instance, I recall one time that I had a dream which predicted the storyline of the upcoming Baby-sitter’s Club book. And another time I dreamed that my friend had gotten engaged and she had. Like, that day.
I definitely feel as if I am highly intuitive to the feelings of others. I can tell what people are feeling, especially toward me. I am not always able to understand why they are feeling a certain way toward me but I can pick up a vibe that they don’t like me. Which is probably why I feel uncomfortable in certain social situations (around my in-laws, at church)… I know that people are sending out negative vibes and while they may act perfectly nice on the surface, I can read their energy and I know I’m not getting a loving kindness vibe from them. It’s usually a fearful vibe that I get from these people. Which is strange to imagine… people being scared of me. I also sense that folks are annoyed or put out by me. They don’t have to just mutter profanity under their breaths after I speak to them (which happened with “family” recently)… I get that sense from more subtle behavior as well. I often can tell that I’m not answering people’s questions sufficiently. I am never sure how I was supposed to answer, I just know that I am supposed to answer differently than I did. At this point, I’m usually exhausted and I need to retreat. People, certain people, wear me out.
Criticism is not something I can deal well with. I understand, on a cognitive level, that no one is perfect and constructive criticism is something we all need. And frankly, if it’s done in a healthy manner, I can handle the criticism. I will remember it the rest of my life but well-given criticism will be well-received. I don’t let it damage my self-esteem or my relationship with the person who gave it. But criticism that is dished out in a condescending or hurtful manner will destroy me. Many times I have no idea what it is that I did wrong and I figuratively curl up in the fetal position and stay there until I’ve punished myself so deeply that I will surely not screw up again. Yes, I know this is unhealthy. And that when people say hurtful things or accuse you of doing something you didn’t do or saying something you didn’t say, it’s more about them than about you. I just have a hard time feeling that and knowing it in my heart when I’m in the middle of a hurt.
Because I have always felt like I wasn’t right or good or normal, I’ve often found myself trying to change what I believed or how I behaved in order to gain acceptance from others. This is how I ended up in a marriage that isn’t healthy. When my future in-laws said that I couldn’t come around them as long as I had gay pride bumper stickers on my car, I should have thought to myself… “Hmm… gay pride is something that I believe in. I probably don’t need these people in my life.” But instead, to gain their “approval”, I removed the stickers and remembered to never mention my weekends at the gay clubs around them. Of course now I see the tragedy of my mistake. I thought that, since I was weird, I must have been wrong. So I needed to try to be more like them. Because they were “normal”. And therefore right. Right. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve moved away from the mindset thanks to an amazing support system provided by my amazing friends. But there is so much damage that has been done by trying to be someone who I am not simply because I didn’t think I was good enough being myself. Now I know that God loves me just the way that I am, gay lovin’ and all. Thankfully I have realized all of this in time to save my children from the same kind of heart break.
Daily I have to acknowledge that I am limited in so many areas. I am dealing with some non-diagnosed learning difficulties. My husband explains it this way… “I know you have some learning difficulties because often I have to explain something to you twenty different ways in order for you to understand. But you are very smart.” What he doesn’t realize is that a lot of the times, I don’t really understand and I’m just pretending to so that I don’t have to listen to him explain something anymore. I do that a lot… pretending to understand. I graduated with honors at the top of my class yet I can’t read and understand the directions in most board games. It’s a strange thing… and I’d love to find help. I am also limited socially. Every Sunday morning I have to emotionally prepare myself for church. It’s so stressful. Luckily I’m teaching in a four-year-old classroom now and those kids don’t threaten me and make me cry the way the 3rd graders did. But there is the whole having to say hello in the hallway to a million people who mostly didn’t know me before my kid was sick. I liked being anonymous. But now a lot of those people know my name and I don’t know their name. And they speak to me. Which is fine and normal. But I miss the days where I could walk through the hall and keep my head down and know that no one noticed.
I am so sensitive to the suffering of others that I have had to limit what I watch on tv and in movies or read in books. It will take over and I cannot function when I’ve read about suffering or watched something about suffering. When someone I know and love is suffering, I just stop. I have a hard time separating myself from it. I want to create a plan to fix things or at the very least, provide my own assistance in some shape, form or fashion. I will think, pray, research. I simply cannot stand it. I have to do something. I was a vegetarian for many years because of a pamphlet sent to me by PETA. I only started eating meat again because I was unable to be healthy and nurse my children the way I needed to without meat. And so, even now, I have to zone out when I’m eating meat and think of other things because if I think of where the meat came from for too long, I’ll get sick. In high school, I opted out of dissecting the animal in 10th grade. I was the first person the teacher had seen refuse to do this but she allowed me to do the work in the library while everyone else did the dissection. I was proud of myself for saying no to something that I couldn’t handle. I do not collect animals. I actually do not like living with animals very much. But the other day when I saw that I had hit a turtle in the road, I started to cry and luckily my friend was with me and she was able to help me deal with those feelings.
Clearly I see certain things as an extension of myself. I am a fangirl. Particularly of “The Office” and the B-52s. Everything that is going on with those things directly affects me, is related to me, and is about me. Recently Cindy Wilson, one of the members of the B-52s was ill and they had to cancel tour dates. You would have thought it was a family member who was sick. In all honesty, I have referred to them as my family before. But I even sent my husband a text with an update on Cindy’s health. He did not respond. A good friend of mine has been trying to watch “The Office” and she’s tried several times for my sake. She cannot get into it. She has been scared to tell me for fear of hurting my feelings. Yep, I guess that is a pretty good clue there that I have some issues with this!
Environmental sensitives affect my life deeply. We have a completely chemical free home. Not just because it’s better for us and we had a kid with cancer but also because chemicals. make. me. sick. When I am in a regular supermarket or store (Dollar Tree and Walmart come to mind), I have to plan where I walk in order to avoid the cleaning products. They give me such a headache. When my son lived in the hospital, they would come in and clean his room and I swear, every time, I’d get a head ache that I’d need to sleep off. I am also very sensitive to caffeine and alcohol… very little will affect me and so I have to limit myself to one. One beer. One glass of wine. One cup of half caffeinated coffee. My daughter can drink coffee all day and sleep at night. One Trader Joe’s sample after noon and I’m up all night! I am also sensitive to gluten and also beans and fried foods… I have to be careful about what I eat 🙂
Section H: Sense of Self
Until I became a mom, I feel that my sense of self was very shaky. But I feel like I am living authentically and not trying to be anyone I’m not now, and it’s quite a relief. Only trouble is that it’s not been good for my marriage. So, whatever. At least I can look at myself in the mirror again. I don’t exactly feel trapped between wanting to be myself and wanting to fit in anymore. I used to, but that is not an issue for me anymore. I’ve grown. I do often suppress my true wishes in order to keep the peace a lot of the times. It doesn’t help that I have gotten in trouble so many times for being honest so I fear that if I admit that sometimes I want to fly out to live in California, someone will take my kids from me or something!
Rejecting social norms is something I started doing as a kid. I couldn’t understand social norms or the people around me using them. If I didn’t even care or try then when I messed up, it wouldn’t be a reflection upon me and my inability to conform. People confused me and angered me so much that I wanted to be nothing like them (at least the ones I was around in my home town). So if I tried to be different from them at least I’d not be like them. Anyone and anything but them. Now I know and love many people I admire and occasionally they will inspire me to do something or be something (like eating better or being nicer or treating my kids differently or something). But for the most part, I am who I am who I am. I will squelch who I am (not change but squelch) around certain people now… just because my true self has been tattled on and rejected and criticized so many times by these people that I know it’s pointless to be myself around them. But I never change for others now. Never.
I do have a young sounding voice and I’m not sure that I care about my appearance and hygiene very much even now. I can remember the last time I got really dressed up… it was on my wedding day. I didn’t even want to get dressed up then but, you know, wedding and all. It was just a hassle.
As for difficulty recognizing faces… I don’t think I struggle with that too much. But I do have a hard time picturing the faces of people. Even my own children. I am better at remembering weird random facts about pe0ple. I remember people’s birthdays or things they love. Like their favorite shows or movies or music. I remember how they make me feel. All of that makes a bigger impact in my memory than faces.
I often battle feelings of extreme isolation. It always amazes me how a person can live with four other humans and a dog and still feel alone. I have felt entirely alone in the world since the day my mom died and I’ve just recently started to feel less alone now that my kids are older and I can really open up and share myself with them and I see, the older two at least, accepting me and loving me unconditionally. It’s pretty awesome to have their love. But it’s often hard to feel like I can share every part of myself with my kids because who wants to burden children with the cares of an adult (and I use the word adult loosely)? My friends help. This blog helps. Facebook helps. But mostly I just feel completely alone in the world and it. sucks.
Join me next time when I explore confusion. Thanks for reading.