So I’ve got a face mask on. One of those charcoal ones that shrivels up while it dries, tightening up around your skin so every time you open your mouth to eat *insert sugary substance here*, the skin around your eyeballs tugs down and the corners of your mouth rip and tear and you’re left wondering why you ever bothered with skin care in the first place.
Honestly, people enjoy these things? They find them relaxing?
That’s one of the things about being highly sensitive, I suppose. I am very particular about what’s on my skin. It’s been this way as long as I can remember. According to my mom, getting me dressed in the winter was a daily battle. Anything with long sleeves, unless it was made out of unicorn hair softened with the tears of angels, would be loudly protested. I can still remember the scratchy wooliness of a certain teal blue sweater-complete with pink fabric flowers, because how else would a 9 year old accessorize. I avoided that sweater like it was the plague. Did I think it was cute? Absolutely! Was it weather appropriate? Of course! But you put that sweater on me and within the first minute my skin starts buzzing with awareness of the itchy-scratchy-uncomfortable fabric suffocating my upper body. This buzzing would eventually grow in intensity and work its way through my chest, tightening and constricting my lungs until my breath became shallow, down into my stomach, where the hot fuzziness of stress would begin to bubble, and then outward through my joints, making my legs restless, filling my knees with energy until it felt like they were going to burst.
As consequence, I spent most of my winters stubbornly embracing the cool Southern-California air with bare arms and, if I could get away with it, bare legs.
Pants are a thing of the devil.
This same phenomenon occurred whenever I had my hair brushed by anyone other than myself (hence my hair having been shoulder length or shorter since 2009), and it is what I am currently experiencing with my face tightening underneath all this charcoal.
Because that’s the thing when you’re sensitive. It’s not just about emotional feelings, but tactile feelings as well. It’s the reason why I wake up in the middle of the night to my boyfriend’s small amount of stubble stabbing me in the shoulder. It’s the reason why I warn my roommates before putting a face mask on that I should be left alone until my face is clean. It’s the reason why the majority of my closet is filled with slightly unfashionable but highly comfortable clothes. It’s the reason I absolutely ABHORE the sensation of sunscreen on my skin (but I have to keep these tattoos bright somehow, right?).
To most, these are all simple little inconveniences, tiny discomforts, that come with life. They acknowledge them with a quiet tsk of their tongue and continue on with their life. But for me, well it consumes my full consciousness. For the most part, I’ve gotten good at hiding the degree at which I am bothered by trivial discomforts. But I recognize them as a part of my sensitivity. The way in which I interact with the world around me in often-times excruciating detail and intensity. But that just means that the tiny comforts, the soft brush of a kiss against the back of your neck, the gentle caress of the wind through your hair, feels all the more amazing.
I’ve got to wash this mask off.