My Pet Peeve
Our group, #endhomelessness, met up last night for dinner and to work on our final presentation. I sat next to Shanna, and at one point during our meeting, I gently put my hand on her knee, looked at her and said, “Would it be okay if I asked you not to chew or pop your gum out loud? I don’t want to be rude, but it’s a major pet peeve of mine.” Shanna, being the awesome woman that she is, responded, “I totally understand! I have pet peeves too.”
I wish every situation was this pleasant when I ask someone to stop popping their gum or chewing with their mouths open. Shanna’s reaction is exactly what I would say, but maybe that’s because I have misophonia.
What Is Misophonia?
According to an article in the New York Times, “For people with a condition that some scientists call misophonia…the sounds of other people eating — chewing, chomping, slurping, gurgling — can send them into an instantaneous, blood-boiling rage.” YES – THAT’S MEEEEEE! You all have NO IDEA how relieving it was for me when I discovered that my pet peeve actually had a name! What’s even more interesting is that my whole family has it! My mom, my two older sisters, my niece…everyone! It is very reassuring that not only are we not the only ones with this ailment…but it HAS A NAME!
The Struggle is Real
It has gotten to the point in my adult life where I no longer live for people to like me. After high school, I quickly learned that it doesn’t matter – as long as I strive to be a good person, try my best not to be an a$$hole, and follow the rules, I’ll be happy and I’ll find people who share similar values. So finding someone who is able to react to my requests the way Shanna did is amazing, and that’s the goal, but when it turns out differently, I’m not mad! It’s not my fault that I physically can not STAND when people chew food or gum with their mouths open, so when I try to politely ask someone to defer from aggravating me to this extent, it’s up to them at that point to make a decision. It’s hard not to be rude, and I realize I might be offending someone by asking them to eat or chew differently, but hey…if I’m doing something that’s annoying you and I have the capacity to change it…tell me!
Life is too short to live it annoyed with the people around us.