Archive for January 2014

fragrant limits

I don't talk about fragrance issues much anymore because I realized how it was negatively affecting my outlook. Also because I figured everyone was tired of hearing about it. Now that I'm back in the world, though, I'm finding my limits on the fragrance all over again and thought it was time for an update.

I stopped going to garage sales when I realized pretty much everything besides metal and glass soaks up fragrance: plastic, cloth, wood, paper, pottery, ivory. This means the things I would normally shop for at a garage sale I can't buy, like books, Tupperware, furniture, and clothes. Over the summer I tried it again since my techniques for getting out smell have improved over the years. We got a few sweaters and a pair of jeans that actually worked out, but several items never did release their smell. Into the garbage with those jokers. Even with the successful ones I get a full dose during the de-smelling process. Despite greater success, the reward is not worth the work. Wal-mart clothes don't cling to a scent.

(Speaking of clothes, the boy told me this morning he's outgrown his new jeans already. Sigh. It never ends, does it?)

I've reached an equilibrium at work. My library doesn't use air fresheners (yet), but people are people and so I encounter eye-watering fragrance on a daily basis. My position as a shelver makes it easier to move to another area, but if a coworker is wearing it I just resign myself to the eventual headache. I like my coworkers a lot, and it's hard to stay away from them.

Only a theory before, I know now for a fact that I can not work in a building with "freshened" air. But I have found that there's a limit to my fragrance-induced headaches when working with the public, so that's heartening. I could probably take a class in a real classroom without fear. A full-time job is not out of the question, as long as I didn't work closely with others the whole time. Right now I'm in the midst of finding an internship for this college class I'm taking, and the fragrance issue is in the back of my mind. If nothing else, it will be another test of my limits. I will have another benchmark, for good or bad.

For a long time I didn't let my children sleep over at friends' houses, nor have other kids over to ours. Now that they're older and have grown up with the concept of fragrance sensitivity they have no problem explaining it to their friends. They aren't offended when they have to play outside. The thing is, now that I know my limits better, I can calculate the risks of having a smelly child over and sometimes it works out. We've even had a couple sleep over.

This might not sound like a big deal to you, but to me it's huge. Not only from a fragrance perspective, but from a social one also. As a child I rarely went to friends' houses, and virtually never had anyone over to mine. So I've been very nervous about this aspect of my kids' social lives. I know how important it is to be comfortable letting others into your home, and you can only get this way with practice.

So, yeah. Limits. When you feel like your pain is limitless you're usually wrong. I'm dealing with my limitations, or trying to, instead of being a recluse. I just do as much as I can and try to shake off the rest. Though I don't think I'll ever get used to telling people their perfume makes me sick.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Posted by Sherri Cornelius


I've been a bad friend. Well, a bad Facebook friend, anyway, which tranlates to real-friend in some cases. Folks are having interesting happenings and life events and such, but I'm not participating in much of it aside from likes and the occasional share. Let me say this for the record: It's not you, it's me.

My throat is corked up tight. When I uncork it I say something I shouldn't, so I ram the cork right back in. I don't think my shouldn't-have-saids are worse than they were before the cork, but my own reaction is. For some reason I've become terrified of offending, with my opinions or exuberance or faux pas. When I look back at how I used to blog, just spilling whatever on the screen and hitting publish, a cold chill washes over me and the cork sticks tighter.

Yet I can see why this has happened. My network is giant compared to 7 or 8 years ago. I've deliberately included all different kinds of people in my social networks and I've started working in the public again. It seems like my foot is planted in my mouth several times a day, and I just wonder how the fuck anybody goes through daily social interaction with their confidence intact.

Anyway, I've been working on this blog post for three days now, and this is as far as I've gotten. I worry that someone is going to be offended that I said fuck in the previous paragraph. I worry that someone will think I'm melodramatic or stupid or trashy. I'm afraid if I bring up any important issue I won't be able to support my arguments, because I probably won't be able to. You know, because of that cork in my throat. Even if I'm only typing.

I know where the cork came from. I put it there. I put it there several years ago because I was in a situation that didn't lend itself to advertisement. When I'd put out a sentence here and there it felt bad, so I pushed those things down. Then when I got a job after years of relative isolation, I couldn't remember the etiquette of a work environment so I screwed the cork in tighter. Loose lips sink ships, you know, and I'm an oversharer if there ever was one.

At any rate, I'm starting to choke on the cork. I'm starting to realize that social awkwardness is simply a part of my personality, and it might be simply my own perception of it that is awkward. I hold back when I should emote, but a kind listener can bring it all out at once. I want to write books again. I have a permanent crick in my neck from the tension, and I know writing would help loosen it. Hopefully if I uncork like this regularly, it'll get easier. I have to do something.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

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