Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hypochondria 101 & The Unfortunate Power of Strangers

So, first things first: the blog got a little re-design, which includes a new header, and a new background.  I'm absolutely in love with the header I created--the background, not so much, but I've spent enough time on that for right now.  I figured since I've been blogging pretty regularly, it'd be worth it to put a little more effort into the look of the blog!

Anyway, the post today comes out of one of the worst weekends I've had in a long time.

Let me begin by explaining something: I'm a bit of a hypochondriac. Not in the true 'let me go to the ER 12 times in 6 days' kind of way, but in the way that if anything is wrong with me, I automatically think something is really wrong with me, and I panic, and then continue to obsess about/over it, when it ultimately turns out to be the equivalent of a hangnail.  So, suffice to say that I've been stressing a lot lately, and after a doctor's appointment on Friday, I'm pretty sure things will be okay after a couple more run-of-the-mill tests.

So, after a late night at work on Friday (I didn't end up getting in until shortly after 6pm), Saturday started out pretty well--I woke up at 9:30am to take Cash to the groomer, since he'd begun looking like quite the little rag-a-muffin/vagabond.  I dropped him off at his 10am appointment, only approximately 7 minutes late, and proceeded to head down the street to a local bakery that is quite popular. I made a quick stop at a thrift store, but just couldn't hang. I don't think I'll actually take up thrifting, unless someone knows of a... cleaner place. It all seemed like a bunch of junk, honestly. Dirty junk, at that.

Once I got to the bakery, I stood in like for a good 20 minutes, and despite the plethora of deliciousness that surrounded me, I managed to keep my self-control and only bought a chocolate covered strawberry and my requisite diet coke.  I sat outside, enjoying the lovely weather, and eating my chocolate covered strawberry.

I proceeded down the street after I'd finished, when I ran across a salon.  I'd been wanting to get my hair cut/colored for quite some time, but the regular girl I go to (while fantastic), is a bit pricey.  So, I walked in, and it turned out that they had an appointment available.  So, I took it-- and after I dropped Cash back at home, I returned to the salon excited for a change, and hoping to try a pretty short 'do, like I'd been wanting.

It all went downhill from there.  Firstly, the woman doing my hair was nice enough, but she wasn't anywhere NEAR as friendly as the girl I used to go to.  Secondly, she seemed a little self-involved. Okay, really self-involved.  All she talked about the whole time was herself--her upcoming trip to Armenia, how her family has a house there, how she's going with her sister, how maybe she would go to Egypt with her friend instead, and they'd be on a cruise, how she was launching a product, so she wasn't sure if she'd be able to go or not-- which, in retrospect, kind of makes it seem like she was lying about the trip.  Anyway, long story short, after she's done washing my hair, she tells me that it's thinning on top.  Thinning. But, she doesn't want me to panic.  She just wants to be honest with me, it could be stress, etc., etc., etc.

Okay, first of all--this girl doesn't know me.  I've had thin hair (we prefer the term fine thankyouverymuch) for my entire life! For as long as I can remember.  In fact, I don't think I even got hair until I was like at least one year old.  Second of all, this girl doesn't know me.

Just in case you don't, either, let me tell you that I am, and unfortunately have always been, the type of person that allows complete strangers to ruin her day.  I don't mean to--but, I suppose I'm just too sensitive.  If someone calls me a rude name while I'm driving, for instance, rather than getting angry back or brushing it off, I mill over it, and allow it to just completely ruin my day. Which is totally not a healthy way to be, but I've always been that way--quick to tear up, quick to forget that I'm pretty awesome, when you get right down to it.

So, for her to say that to me-- a hypochondriac, who tends to obsess, and take everything pretty personally, was actually pretty out of line.  I spent the rest of the weekend crying, looking in the mirror, feeling my hair, and sending pictures of my hair to my mom, trying to figure out if it was true.  I also spent some time on the internet, researching remedies, and ended up with some shiny new vitamins, and a brand new shampoo/conditioner system.  Which, okay. Maybe I'll be healthier, even though research says most vitamins don't really do anything.

But, the point is: I didn't know this woman.  It's not like she's been doing my hair for years, and she just happened to notice this thing that's happening, and out of concern she let me know about it. This was the first time I'd ever met her.  Ever.  And so for her to open her mouth, without knowing my personality, and how much it would affect me, pretty much sucked.

Also, the product she is launching will help address thinning hair--at least, that's what she told me as I paid at the reception desk, and handed her a tip.  Ulterior motive, obviously-- and yet...

Sunday was spent on retail therapy.  I cried a little in the morning, watched some Netflix, and then hit the shops--where I brilliantly decided at Target that I probably wash my hair too much, and that's why this was happening, so hats!  Hats could be my thing; when anyone thought about me, they'd be like 'Oh yeah, that's the girl that always has a cute hat!' 

See what I mean about obsessing?

Yes, mom, I'll take all of most of it back.

So, what's the point of this blog entry?  I'm not sure-- except maybe it's about a lot of things.  Maybe it's about the fact that I need to learn to be a bit more thick-skinned.  Maybe it's about the fact that I need to learn to relax, and not give strangers (or anyone else, for that matter) the ability to hurt me so deeply.

Or, maybe it's about the fact that we all need to really watch what we say, because let me tell you: the old saying 'sticks and stones may break my bones, but words just cannot hurt me,' is absolutely not true.  It's not even true for the incredibly thick-skinned, and it's certainly not true for people like me, who are sensitive to an absolute fault.  Words have power; they always have, and I'm pretty sure they always will.  What we say affects one another, even if the person you're speaking to is a complete stranger-- so, be careful with your words.  I know I'm not always careful with mine, but this weekend was a reminder to me that I should always be careful with them--because if that young woman had been careful with hers, I might have had a fantastic weekend, instead of a terrible one.

Maybe it's about all of these things, I'm not sure.

But, I am sure of this: words can make a huge difference-- and if you don't believe me, watch this short video (even if you do believe me, watch it--it's pretty fascinating):

watch it here (in case the embedded video isn't displaying)

So, you know, be good to each other.  And to yourself.


  1. I am sorry that woman's words had such a negative impact on you. I am guilty of letting other people ruin my day with their insensitivity, lack of empathy/compassion or plain rudeness or hatefulness.

    That being said, I am going to say some things that are just my opinion.

    If you would like to stop feeling this way or improve the way you feel when something like this happens, I suggest a few things:

    First, you need to realize and accept that you are what a psychologist would call a "highly sensitive person". You sound like you already know this about yourself, but it might be worth Googling/researching anyway. There are some awesome psychologists out there who have some great books analyzing the qualities of HSP, from people who are emotionally sensitive, physically sensitive or both. Oftentimes, these things go hand and hand, but not always. This has nothing to do with introversion, but sometimes being a HSP that is also introverted doesn't necessarily help.

    Also, I wouldn't say that you need a thicker-skin exactly, but you need to recognize that you are an amazing, intelligent, beautiful and POWERFUL person who has worth and value. While this is easier said than done, I think most of us forget that we have tons of personal power if we only love and believe in ourselves. When you truly accept and love who you are, you are less likely to let others take the power of that love away from you. Cruelty, while it still gets to you, doesn't stay with you nearly as long. You get to a place where things still might upset you a bit, but you are able to brush them off and forget about them more easily.

    I am not coming from a high-horse or trying to be self-righteous. I don't like telling anyone how to live or how to feel. I am just writing from my own experience, in the hope that you might be able to take away something helpful and/or positive from what I am saying. I hate to see when other beautiful, good-natured and awesome people, let someone insignificant take away their self power and self love. Again, I know it's easier said than done, but it just isn't worth it.

    Being highly sensitive is not a bad thing. There are lots of great books including Emotional Intelligence and The Highly Sensitive Person written by psychologists/doctors that can help you learn to love this quality about yourself. These books point out why being HSP is a good thing and why it should be embraced. They are also helpful in guiding you/your life into areas that will not be upsetting and overwhelming for you.

    I know it's new-agey, but Eckhart Tolle also has some great titles and if you have not read Don Miguel Ruiz's "The 4 Agreements", please give it a look.

    I hope you are back to yourself and feeling better. :)

    1. Okay, firstly, I just have to say that that was the least high-horse, self-righteous comment ever! I definitely did not and do not think you're coming from that place at all.

      I've never heard of the "highly sensitive person," thing-- I didn't even know it WAS a thing, so this is very interesting to me. I've just always known that I'm the type of person who will cry if you look at her wrong. Also, I'm very introverted (although people often mistake me as extroverted)-- so that probably doesn't help. I've always thought I was probably something in the DSM-V, but I'll definitely check out the HSP things you recommend before I go self-diagnosing from the manual. ;)

      Yes-- recognizing self-worth can certainly be a battle. I'm often very mean to myself; in fact, I always have been. There have been times where I have tried to stop that behavior, but it always seems to sneak back in little by little, until it's simply right back again. I try to be more conscious/aware of the things I say to myself, but it doesn't always work. Sometimes it does. You're right, it is easier said than done, but hopefully someday I'll be able to get there.

      Thank you for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment, I really appreciate it.

      I'll definitely look into the books you suggest, they'll definitely open up a whole new perspective for me. And yes, thanks! I am feeling better and back to normal-- for the most part, haha. :)

      Thanks again!

  2. I really love the look of your blog - it is so cute!!! Less happy to hear about your not so good day, but I hope that you're feeling better! I want to see pics of this new hairstyle, by the way ;)

    1. Thanks, Mindy! :D I am feeling better! I didn't end up going too short-- maybe next time, haha. It's just a blunt cut to my shoulders!