All posts tagged: Sensitivity

TueNight Labels Wendy Goldman Scherer

I’m Sensitive about Labels. And Not The Kind You Think

(Photo: Nancy Gonzalez/TueNight.com) 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 …

I’m Still Learning How to Cry

(Photo Credit: Andy Kropa) Last week, my first nephew was born. I didn’t expect this, but when I saw my sister holding that beautiful boy for the first time, I started to sob. And I did so once again when I held him in my own arms. I hadn’t experienced tears like this in ages, and those salt-water runners felt like a magic elixir. And the little boy nestled in my arms? Pure beauty. Pure bliss. He was one day into this life and already I knew I’d love him deeply for the rest of mine. On the way home from the hospital, as I practically skipped down the street with an enormous grin, I started to think about the act of crying. I mean, there’s nothing like a good, cathartic cry, right? You know, those let-it-all-out sob-fests that leave you feeling oh-so-much better once you’ve purged yourself of pent-up emotions. I remember having such soothing feelings of calm after one of these, as I wiped away those purposeful tears, like I’d just cleaned a …

How an Unimaginably Nasty Online Comment Haunted Me for 13 Years

I am very, very easy to Google. On one hand, this is great for the ego; because of my unusual name, I’m the only me on Earth! But there’s a downside, too, which is quite plainly that I’m very, very easy to Google. I often envy the anonymity of the commonplace name. When Apple executive Tim Cook was elevated to CEO, my college pal with the same name receded into the vanishing point of the internet. Lucky bastard. For people like me, a semi-annual check of the results of a Google search of my name is a prudent, if not necessary, task. Some database glitch could attach “Cheryl Botchick” to a story worthy of @_FloridaMan, and there it would be for all my colleagues, clients and potential employers to see. Best to head these things off at the pass. Having spent the ‘90s as a writer for a popular music magazine, there’s generally quite a bit to go through: reposts of features, one-on-one interviews, album reviews, music industry mentions and the like. It’s a housekeeping …

Policing Outrage: Are We Too Sensitive About Insensitivity?

Folk singer Ani DiFranco is criticized for scheduling a retreat at a Louisiana plantation. Musician and popular DJ Questlove mocks how Japanese speak English by reversing his Ls and Rs. MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry features a panel on her show that makes fun of Mitt Romney’s adopted black grandson. Educator and school reform advocate Grant Wiggins refers to the practice in many schools of separate bathrooms and lunchrooms for teachers and students as “apartheid.” What do all of these incidents have in common? Charges of racial insensitivity, individuals on social media coming together to express varying degrees of disgust and disappointment with the person’s behavior, and, eventually, some sort of “apology” from the actor for any unintended offense. The cycle of outrage and apology for insensitive statements has become all too familiar. But have we become too sensitive about insensitivity? Who has the right to tell another person, “You have no right to be upset about that”? Who has the right to dictate what topics are and are not worthy of someone else’s ire? Online, …

You Are So Sensitive! No I’m Not!

(Illustration: Mark Gardner) You are SO SENSITIVE! It’s kind of a slimy word, all those sssses. I hate that insult. Being sensitive is awesome. Especially, um, you know, in the erogenous way. Were you ever called “too sensitive?” I AM ALWAYS CALLED TOO SENSITIVE! Sorry, was I shouting? Ouch, you hurt my sensitive ears. But here’s the thing: I have sensitive senses. i.e. I hear more than most people, I have a great sniffer (I can always tell what perfume people are wearing), and my emo sensor is set to ultra-high. My eyes, however, they age. I too have a very strong sense of smell. There are pros and cons to that. (Peee-yoooo)  But you can’t be creative without being sensitive. Funny thing: being “sensitive” has a negative implication. Yet, expressing “sensitivity” is a plus. But seriously, I’mma say it again: The word sensitive always makes me think about sex. I see you, I feel you. See! “I feel you” = sex. You get to have sex. You’re married. I’m just a sensitive ship alone …

I Spy: How a Simple Game Ignited My Senses

When I was a kid, I was sick all of the time and missed many days of school. I almost got held back in first grade because I was absent more days than I attended that year. I don’t remember the actual sickness too much, but I do have memories of spending time in the doctor’s waiting room with my mother. “I spy something yellow,” she’d say. “Is it the chair?” I’d say. “No.” “Is it the doll’s dress?” “No.” “Is it the flowers?” And so went this looking and guessing until what was spied was discovered. On the surface, this simple game helped to pass the time while we waited. But on a deeper level, it cultivated skills of observation and required us to open our senses and notice what was around us. This rooted us to the reality we were in, which, whether my mother knew it or not, is a useful thing to do during moments of stress. The technique is called grounding and I came to know it decades later in …

The Complexity of Friendship

In recent months, we’ve learned that reading fiction enhances our ability to feel empathy — and even more recently, we’ve learned that reading fiction increases our brain’s ability to make connections. Since we already knew that neural connections lead to increased empathy — bingo! Read novels, love more. I can’t imagine a book that will tug harder at your tear ducts than Perfect by Rachel Joyce, which comes out this week. Some of you may have read her last delightful and poignant novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, in which an Englishman in the early stages of dementia treks hundreds of miles on foot to seek forgiveness from an old friend. If you have, then you’ll know that Joyce doesn’t tell stories in the same way as anyone else. Perfect seems like one thing and turns out to be another, and that “another” packs an emotional wallop. Joyce, like her fellow British citizen J.K. Rowling, has an affinity for people at the margins — but unlike Rowling’s overly complicated and deeply dark attempt to portray those …