21 August 2008

"You're So Sensitive"

Let's see...Today I've been called "sensitive" four times: once with a positive connotation, two other times negatively and the other with a more-or-less neutral meaning.

It's not as if I haven't been called that--or worse--before. But I seem to hear it more frequently, and in other contexts, than in my past.

This morning Olga, who's the legal affairs officer at the college, not only said, "You're so sensitive," she also mentioned that it has been noted. Valerie, the English Department chair, said I was "sensitive to things lately" and, moments later, lauded me for being "sensitive" to students. And, during another electrology session, the young Italian-American woman who was plucking and zapping me said, "You're just, well, sensitive, in any way I can think of."

Blame the hormones! Why? Well, for one thing, Canada has nothing to do with this, so I can't blame a country that was honorable enough not to get involved in our current war. So "Blame Canada" won't work. However, there is lots of literature--and the words of my doctor--to tell me that taking estrogen can turn you into a seeming mass of nerve endings. I was warned of that when I started taking the hormones. And, just as everyone promised, I was crying over dopey songs I heard on the radio.

But, even though my dosage hasn't increased, I feel (pun intended) as if a new undercurrent of vulnerability is pulling me into another tide of emotion fueled by raw nerves. Am I going through a substage of the "second adolescence" one experiences when taking hormones?

Most of the time I enjoy the tears and laughter that wash over me like an afternoon shower and (usually) pass. But yesterday I felt so raw I had to put on a stone face and not look anyone in the eye--or look anyone's way at all. That's hard to do when you're sitting in a circle with about twenty other people, as I was at the workshop. I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could.

And one of my new colleagues in that circle seemed to be playing her own little game of stare-tag with me. She sat opposite me in the circle, and kept on staring at me. I could feel it. I was ready to bolt through her and the others to get out of that room.

Right now, I'm still feeling as if a layer of skin has been removed from me and I want to hide from--or bitch-slap--that prof and anyone else who might've been staring at me.

And they say I'm being sensitive. As if that were that were anything new!