I’m a sensitive person. Well, at least that’s what my mom always said. As a kid, I’d cry at the drop of a hat. And in college. And maybe even for a while longer than that. Though I’ve toughened up a bit, I still tear up at some of the oddest things, and admittedly, not that infrequently.
I feel a lot. If I even think I might have hurt someone’s feelings, I get physically ill and find it nearly impossible to shake off. I am not saying this to impress you; it’s a horrific handicap. I just can’t help it. And when someone raises a voice to me – even if it’s not directed at me – I fall to pieces.
It’s genetic. My mom is super sensitive, too. I remember watching her when I was little. If anyone had a harsh word, the tears would well up in her eyes. On the (very few) times that my father got angry and raised his voice, she and I both would shrink into ourselves. I truly don’t have a good sense of what yelling is; to me any raised voice feels like an assault. I don’t say this with pride; it’s a handicap and hurts the people who love me sometimes.
But my sensitivity does not end there.
Roughness against my skin grates at me as much as shouting does. Andrew keeps his beard trim and soft so he can count on kisses and snuggles, and who could blame him. As soft as my demeanor is, I can be really crabby when razor sharp stubble hits my cheek or my neck.
But that’s not the only scratchiness that drives me berserk. I work hard to choose smooth, soft clothing. I’m often successful. But, let’s talk about clothing labels now, shall we?
I cut the labels out of my clothes. I’m talking about the sewn-in labels, like the ones in the collar of a shirt or waist of a pair of slacks. I absolutely despise them. I’m challenged to think of anything as distracting as that ever-present feeling of the tag on my neck or my waist.
There have been times when I’ve worn a new top several times and experience that discomfort, but got busy or forgot to remove the labels. And then I’d put it on again and chastise myself for forgetting. It’s just impossible to stop thinking about the tag and to stop feeling the tag. I become obsessed with scratchiness! There have been times on a conference call or out for the evening where I didn’t think I could take it even one more minute. Really, not one more minute.
When I finally get the deed done, the relief is palpable.
I have a seam ripper and I’m not afraid to use it. Actually, I have two seam rippers. One was a promotional item from the Washington Post from 1990 when I was in the media department at Smith, Burke & Azzam. That little item has served me well.
The other seam ripper is built into a pair of scissors. What a fun surprise that was! I’ve not seen a pair like this before or since; we bought these for one of our sons’ Home Economics classes in high school. Oh wait, it’s called Family and Consumer Science now.
So you ask yourself, “Why? Why, Wendy don’t you just de-tag every item automatically when you get new clothes?” And that is a reasonable question. I am a work in progress and I can assure you, the tag removal is hitting the lifecycle curve earlier and earlier.
There is a problem, though. Along with the itch relief, I’ve relieved myself of laundry instructions again and again. So while I may not be itchy and scratchy, some of my clothes have shrunk and faded.
What is a sensitive gal to do?