Say what, Coffee & Me and a Chimpanzee…….
Well, do you? Are you one of those people who opens their eyes in bed thinking of the first cuppa? All ready for the day ahead, you hop onto the bus, tube or into your car and the first Coffee-to-go is your next port of call? Breathing in the aroma as you lift the lid off to sugar and the steam genie wafts into your aura. The 21st Century has become a Coffee Culture, and it is great for comfort, that burst of energy, an opportunity to meet friends or finish a meal with.
Unfortunately, I feel I am on the other side of the glass window looking in as coffee and I do not enjoy a symbiotic relationship.
This post might all sound discombobulated – but it is an illustration of how it feels to live in my skin with HSP. So follow my story as though you are holidaying on a yacht on the ocean, dawdling along minding your own business, as a storm brews, whilst the sun still shines, wind whistles through its sails and then peace descends.
When you see me in a heap of laughter, you will know I’ve driven Rosie-Blue-Bug under an elephants’ belly, reversed through bushes backwards, outlined my lips with lip liner and forgotten to fill in the lipstick and realised every 2nd button on my blouse has been left undone!.
The man I’ve just stopped next to, to swop lion stories, smells like a goat and I’ve decided that I’m too old now to pretend cooking for 6 or more people is possible for my personality. Next time this situation arises, dog pellets and warm milk are on the menu! …. and, of course, generous splashes of red wine.
When there is too much going on at the same time, the brain overloads and releases steam through both ears. The other day my return home turned into a circus. Forgetting to disarm the security system the siren wailed when entering the cottage, kitty dashed through the lounge like a bullet on steroids – skimming the floor with her ears pinned back (hagar the horrible wanna be), my mobile phone is ringing. Oh where is it, frantically the entire contents of my handbag are tossed onto the carpet and I filter through hidden chocolates, empty mini Sir Juice Bottles, millions of hairclips, hair scrunichies & hair spider grips with enough hair clinging to them to make a wig for Chris. Ah ha, there it is – “hello, sorry Blue Security everything is alright”. Ring ring ring ring, in frantasism (now it is a word!!!) I’d answered my long black wallet inadvertently. Sssh, this is our secret-not the kind of thing to tell Oxford Students.
Okay, “hello” again, “thank you Blue Security, yes everything is okay …..” umm (challenge code) password….. blank!!!! Brain grinding through the gears – all the 100 gazillion passwords for google, facebook, instagram, gardenagram, spar competition, booking.com, santas secret post box name, elephant in a suitcase blog …… aaargh. Right, got it. Phew. Those darned passwords – why can’t we just use the same one for everything?! Just saying. 10 minutes pass – Knock knock, the security guard is already at my front door asking if everything is okay. Well, yes regarding security – no regarding sanity :).
Suddenly my shirt is too tight underneath my jacket, the temperature has risen to way above normal, the label on my bra is scratching, the tv is too loud and babbling away about coronavirus and racism, my tied up hair has caused a hair-d’ache (hair headache) as a motorbike races past. Cursing the fleas of a thousand camels invade his private parts and his hands too short to scratch, my head spins. Time out. Nope – multitasking at a pressurized pace is a recipe for disaster in Rozzi’s household.
Now searching for my little scared kitty …… she has hidden behind the bedroom curtain which is all caught up around the dressing table leg. “There you are, come to mommy, sorry my darling”, kiss kiss – I glance up into the mirror. No, seriously!!! Rushing off to the shop in the morning, I’d forgotten to finish my face.
Make the bed, freshen kitty water and pellets – anyone would think we were going to Timbuktu for 6 weeks (but one never knows if the number is up and never to return – what will happen to kitty – worry). One eyebrow is dusted perfectly – the other veering dangerously towards the earlobe as if in search South to catch an aeroplane to Australia, only the left eyelashes are dressed and one earring has gone absent without leave.
This is the kind of thing one’s mother would do purposely to embarrass her teenage kids- yet, all the while she was over-tasked, fifty & forgetful, little did we know that we would become our mothers 40 years later.
So I pose two questions to you, my faithful reader, is your life constantly on loud or normal “volume”?
Do you have any idea how to understand or behave around someone whose life is always ‘over the top’? What on earth is Rozzie on about – well, let me put you in the picture – here, put my shoes and socks on (with an irritating toe seam & tight elastic upper) and walk a few days in my boots? Living life as an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)
My life feels like it is on red alert and everything has the volume turned up. Not because I am overreacting – it really is. Tastes really taste strong. Bought that chickpea mush, Hummus, for a second taste, during lockdown -yuck it tastes sour and rancid! Who says it’s delicious – shudder. Sounds can be loud, so I garden roadside fitted with earplugs. Labels on clothes drive me crazy, like a mosquito buzzing just out of slapping reach. Right now during the Coronavirus epidemic wearing a mask with sunglasses, a warming neck scarf or earrings all at once is very confusing,
I must say, during Coronavirus Lockdown Stage 5, the car parking lots were such a pleasure to navigate. No hijackers, robbers, kidnappers, beggars nor car guards loitering around shopping centres to panic, confuse or upset me. So many parking spaces available I felt like drag racing, doing doughnuts and wheelies – kinda like a happy dog spinning circles in the garden at home time. Observation – “there’s nowt so queer as folk” (a Yorkshire colloquialism) – an entire car park available, yet people WILL park right next to another parked one. What is it, are they sadists, is it herd mentality or DO people ENJOY the challenge of parking their huge SUV’s into a parking space on a diet?! I swear my eyesight has shrunk into long skinny slices or midgets demarcate parking areas during a full moon – when housewives fly around on brooms and midgets think those are the size of modern transport.
So I have snuck out on week 2, suffering cabin fever and rather blue (crazy that South African could not walk, run or cycle for exercise during the first 5 weeks of Lockdown by law – it was not a good mental health decision) to purchase bread and milk. In the car park, feeling safe from crime, I voice messaged a few lady friends asking if they feed their husband’s breakfast, lunch and supper each day now? The response was instant, hilarious, conspiratorial, and mostly the answer was NO! Yay, a guilt-free day ahead. I became very angst and tearful trying to garden, complete housework around someone, listen to tv on 24/7 discussing the terrifying unknown virus and think up 3 meals a day. Us women are a bonded “Sisterhood” – and don’t mess with us! One enjoyable meal a day as per normal then!
The shopping expedition begins like this for many of us ….. Ready to alight from parked vehicle – wearing sunglasses, donning fashionista face mask – suddenly groping the passenger seat like an oversexed teenage boy at a drive-in movie show, all steamed up looking for a handbag (or something)…
Whilst shopping for groceries last week a guard approached me in the isle requesting me to please wear my mask. “But I am, sir”. His expression turned into Satan on duty. Oops……. actually was still wearing my sunglasses instead! How muddling having all this stuff going on. Masks, hair tied back, sunglasses, earrings unhooking, hand spraying and robotic “hello how are you?” x 3 assistants, 3 sprays (bless them) and a staple-gun thingy taking one’s temperature…… to get through the entrance of the store. Demarcated roadsigns on the tiled floors in shops – soon we will need to be taking an additional drivers’ license to leave home and successfully navigate coronavirus shopping. The guard and I ended up giggling hysterically once we both realised the confusion of mask vs sun
Tuesday, here in South Africa, is Pensioners Day in South. Many large grocery stores give pensioner shoppers good discounts and popular products at reduced prices. Shop owners erect gazebos in foyers with a large table set out underneath offering sandwiches, cakes, coffee and tea served by cheerful staff. Tuesday used to be an outing enjoyed by so many elderly who sat around together, catching up on news, munching away at the snacks and sipping warming tea.
March 2020 Coronavirus swooped in like a thief in the night upon these lonely folk who would dress up and look forward to a weekly outing. My heart hurts. Oh, how much my heart aches! I used to choke up, sensing the atmosphere, feeling the emotion of the tea gathering on a Tuesday, witnessing loneliness abandoned for a morning, – now I realise it is even sadder without the event. When I mention this to my friends they look blank and say they’d never even thought about it, let alone felt emotional. “Roz, you are too sensitive and must stop it, it’s not good for you, you know”.
Which one are you? One of my friends – or me?? Perhaps you will recognise, after reading this, that possibly your partner, sister, brother or friend is one of them. Approximately 10 percent of the world’s population has this personality type. As you might live with diabetes, high blood pressure, are myopic, have cataracts to name a few obvious physical conditions – ours is named Highly Sensitive People (HSP). The obvious diseases are acceptable in the world today as we can measure them – by blood testing, wearing monitors & measurements with instruments.
Unfortunately, brains are unseen and not easily measured, so usually the folk with unseen brain/personality issues are labelled as difficult, dysfunctional and downright annoying. Snap out of it.
In my dreams I imagine someone miraculously taking this away from me – if someone would just turn the volume of everything down, let me stop shivering and shaking because I’m overwhelmed by my senses, emotions of others, overthinking, overfeeding every stimulus and subtlety. Then replace it with the casual joyful uncomplicated feeling a dog has when he puts his head out of the window on a Sunday drive. Letting his lips flap, eyes stretch sideways and ears blow back wildly, drinking in the moment.
This is a small slice, no not lemon merengue – oh what I’d do for a slice of Lemon Meringue Pie right now, why did you go and mention it?! A smidgen about my whirlwind life, without coffee and with HSP.
Head on to CHAPTER 2 to learn more about HSP, animals with HSP, together with a few links, one to take a test yourself ………………… see ya there 🙂
You might like to follow a Blog by Julie Bjelland https://www.juliebjelland.com who explains more about HSP