Past few months I’ve been … a little blue. Not full blown can’t get off the couch living on Ben and Jerry’s listening to Old 97’s hardcore depressed kind of blue. I’ve been there, it sucks, I’m grateful this wasn’t that. But bleh. Disinterested. Not at all excited about the things I’m usually passionate about. Sort of just going through the motions, y’know? More blue, less Green.
That’s why I haven’t blogged. The blue blehs, combined with a wee bit of old leftover low self esteem, convinced me that I didn’t have a single thing to say that anyone would be interested in reading. So I just didn’t.
Some of it was regular post-Haiti letdown. Some of it was life circumstances – a little good old fashioned strife with formerly close friends, a scary diagnosis in my near family, various people in my close circle having unhappiness hit them in various ways. And some, I think, was feeling a little more “out of step” with the world at large than I usually do.
Now, I’ve never been prone to any excessive “fitting in.” In high school, I was pretty much like the Ally Sheedy character in The Breakfast Club. (If you are too young or too uninterested in retro movies to get that, watch the previews for the new movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It looks like about the same thing, except there is more than one of them and they found each other. I was just me, all alone in a world of popular kids.) But this is different. I’m differenter now than I ever was before. Well, I’m sure I’m not, really. But I feel more out of step than I used to.
A lot of it is the green-lifestyle clean eating thing. That doesn’t seem like it would be such a big deal, right? I mean, I am making very personal choices about my food, cleaning products, and healthcare that don’t really impact anyone else but me. And the hubs. But he’s completely on board and supportive, so, this should not affect my ability to move in the world socially. Should it?
But it does. It hit me last Sunday at church. We are doing a series called God at the Movies, which so far has been quite wonderful. But part of the “movie” theme has been the addition of a popcorn machine and soda pop at the hospitality table. I looked around last weekend and everybody I saw had a bag of popcorn in their hand. Except me. I was suddenly the only wacknoodle in the room that refused to consume weirdly orange butterishly flavored salty-oil stuff. I feel like the weirdo every time I leave the office on Thursday afternoon while the Marines are doing the weekly power-clean ritual with Lemon Pledge and Pine Sol. I am apparently the only one who gets headaches from that stuff. It seems completely normal to everyone else. I’m the odd one. Again. This is harder than it seems like it should be. I don’t want to be “just like everyone else.” But I’m also not super-happy about being that strange woman who won’t participate in Scentsy parties or walk into Bath and Body Works, who is (discreetly!) grossed out by half of what is at the potluck and never ever eats at the work socials where they bring in 25 fast-food pizzas.
I find myself saying that “I’m allergic” to a lot of things. I’m not, exactly – I’m just really sensitive to a lot of things, and more so now that I’ve eliminated them from my daily life. I had to walk up the cleaning products aisle in the grocery yesterday. I had a pretty good working headache within 30 seconds. Seriously, I am that sensitive to some chemicals in some cleaning products. I’m sensitive to MSG, a fair number of preservatives, a fair number of common artificial fragrances, and most artificial colors. They do anything from exacerbate my AD/HD symptoms to trigger fibromyalgia flares to cause headaches to make my skin break out. But it does seem that people accept “allergic” more readily than they do “sensitive.”
I have many, many friends who live a very conscious green health and sustainability focused lifestyle and don’t seem to be bothered by their own differentness. And in truth, I doubt any one human in my whole church noticed or cared that I was not
drinking the Kool-Aid eating the popcorn. The Marines who get most involved with the Pine Sol and Pledge are very understanding and polite, and they come and tell me every Thursday when they are getting ready to commence Operation Smelldown. They don’t seem at all judgemental about it. But every once in a while I let the old demons of “I have to care desperately about what everyone thinks of me” come out and play.
It doesn’t help that since I’m not in school anymore, I feel a little directionless. Almost midlife-crisis like, but I don’t think we are really there. Well, maybe. Who knows? I am 45 after all. This could be it. (I sort of hope so, because as crises go this one was a little anticlimactic. I’m for that.)
As I am pulling out of this little Pit Of Disconnectedness (like the Pit Of Despair, but less drama-queenish) I am sure that I will find whatever my next big thing is to get passionate about. So if you are still with me, stay tuned for whatever my upcoming adventures in Greenness are destined to be.
What are you oversensitive to?