Aspiring to Insensitivity?



Seungwon Lee. Thick Skin (Ceramic Award)

I can’t lie.  I really, really admire women who have the ability defer, deflect or otherwise ignore the unsavory behaviors of others.

I’m going to be fair with myself and recall that my therapist, Dr. Deborah Duggan in Toronto gave me some insight into my sensitivities.

1) When your parents are abusive assholes, you tend to grow up a little sensitive.

2) Sensitive people are just “sensitive” by nature.   It’s how your brain is wired.

3) Writers and artists are infamously sensitive nut jobs.  (She didn’t use the term nut job but I inferred).

When you are surrounded with volatility as a kid/teen/adult you tend to develop these hypersensitive feelers.  Much like a gold fish would feel in a fish tank full of larger Oscars.  One can stay alive and try to grow a little bigger if one is constantly aware of the threats, potential threats, or what the potential potential threats are thinking and when that thought might become a threat.

My parents (mostly thewomanformerlyknownasmymother) beat the shit out of me constantly, with little to no good reason aside from their own unhappiness and frustration.   I’ve had welts, bruises, broken noses and my head cracked open with the corner of a comical 1970’s oak lamp by HER.

I survived.  I thrived.  I moved on (in the physical sense at least and partially in the emotional).  But I became just a tiny, little bitty bit… sensitive.  Nervous.  Anxiety prone (daily).   And I do very little to medicate that except eat sugar and bite my nails.

And go grocery shopping.

This week someone gave me some of his time to explain a certain professional environment.  He said that over time, I would be able to manage it better when I developed a “thick skin”.

I know he’s right.  I appreciated his time.   I like him.  He’s a professional professional I can admire and look up to, and someone who has fabulous management skills.

I delegate well but could never be a Manager really.  I hate giving people shit for anything, and secondly, there is that over-sensitive thing that I try so desperately to hide, with one of those quasi-bitchy intensively busy facial looks.

I’d prefer you thought of me as a work obsessed, snotty bitch than know how deeply some comments impale me.

I’d prefer for others not to be satisfied by knowing how much they hurt me.  And no one needs to really know why (except my blog of course).  Hey, an over sensitive nut-job has to get it out somewhere right?  It’s either that or eat a bag (or two) of gummi worms which is really counter productive to me wanting to be under 200 lbs. sometime in my lifetime.

Has there ever been a writer or poet, artsy, fartsy, emotional, compassionate, bitchy person that has been capable of growing that “thick skin?”

I wish there was a pill I could take.  Something that would provide chronic ambivalence, you know?

Say something mean?  Fuck you.  You don’t matter to me.

Do something mean? Bite me. Get a life.

I’d also need a complimentary prescription for passive aggressive avoidance.  Boy… passive aggression gets on my nerves big time, predominantly because I am the Queen of Passive Aggressive with a side of whoop-ass.

Get passive aggressive with me, and we’ll upgrade your negative experience to Aggressive Aggressive.  I hate mean people and have no problem taking them out at the knee caps.

And catty women too.

thick_skin_01Will a thick skin mean that I no longer give any sign that my feelings have been hurt?  That elusive poker face I want so badly?  The one that allows them to never see the impact of their actions or comments, and allows me to go quietly home and bury my head in a tub of ice cream?

Because that never happens.  Truthfully, it’s usually a 42 oz soda from Braum’s.  Disgusting right?  I know…  but soda by the case is not allowed in our house any more, so I’ve become a regular fountain drink junkie.  Still a marginal improvement.  We aren’t tripping over six packs of Diet Pepsi.

Perhaps it’s time (now that I am here) to find one of those women’s groups that meet once or twice per month to dump their Mommy/Daddy/Psycho Boyfriend(s) issues over a big bottle of Pinot?

I never do really well in those groups either.  I hate the sound of other people complaining or masticating their traumas as much as I hate my own voice and rehashing.

Sensitivity.  The ability to not cry over the dog meat festival in Asia.  The taiji dolphin slaughter.  The piles of dogs and cats being killed every day, while our neighbors continue to breed puppies to buy beer.

The ability to sit in a crowd of women and listen to them gossip about whomever is not there.   Only to see the cycle of that over and over again.   It feels sometimes like no one has anything good to say about anyone anymore.

I pull back from most women for a reason.  I can’t take the stress of the cattiness and the dishonesty of it.  My dogs never gossip.  Like… ever.

And then there is a woman I am teaching to content write who is lit up about everything I am teaching her at little lunch sessions.  I won’t hire her.  What I earn is seeing another writer unlocked, and empowered to start her own content writing business.

You see Christina… it pays forward… and forward <3

I have two choices.  Stay home and work quietly for myself and build my business, but avoid other people as much as possible.  Or dive in and work on the parts of myself that need to grow, to be able to relate, tolerate, and process people better.

I’m 41.  The thick skin should arrive anytime now right?  Or is it something I have to build up in layers?

Maybe I am never supposed to have one because I am a creative person?  Maybe people should be more in tune with working/relating to creatives because the world would suck a bit more without the sensitive folks, yeah?

So maybe the real problem is rampant, global insensitivity.   Ponder it.