Life is so ironic sometimes—or is it?

I don’t like to play Charades. I don’t seem to be able to think of different ways to show something when I’m on the spot, although later they might come to me. Sherman and Christiana feel the same way. We are all pretty creative, but in an aside way—and sometimes we have problems working with a prompt. Jackson, who often hates prompts in his classes, loves to play Charades. He comes up with many logical, yet out-of-the-box, ideas and is so animated.

Of course, as life goes, Jackson wasn’t with us when we got to play Charades. We were on our own, not feeling too excited about the Charades assignment at DBT. Each family group was supposed to present a feeling or mood together. It didn’t even occur to us to collaborate to come up with a group action—we all did our own actions, figuring people might get the word because of our differing actions.

Caught us, didn’t they? We didn’t work as a group. I think we all had our own pictures in our brains of how it would look. We didn’t really want to discuss it—we just wanted to do it. I get that we are too often in our own heads, but that’s really not so unusual for introverts. We just have to remember to work together when it counts.

Turns out the DBT leaders chose the words for each family not so randomly. No matter how hard I try to feel otherwise, I’m more than a little bit miffed because our chosen word feels a little judgmental—and possibly ignores that there may be biological reasons for the way people respond to the world.

We are sensitive people who sometimes get overwhelmed by stimuli. By sensory experiences. By being around too many people.

Yes, our word was dislike.

I already said that I dislike playing Charades. I dislike eating certain foods, either due to their textures, smells, and/or tastes. Being in a loud chaotic environment can unrattle me. I prefer to have a small group of close friends. Yet, believe it or not, most people who know me don’t think that I am a grumpy person who doesn’t like anything I come in contact with.

I’m not the person complaining as I wait in line. I don’t send back food to cooks unless it’s not what I ordered. I will strike up conversations with random strangers in public places or respond to people who maybe I would rather not. More often than not, I just try to live in a world that doesn’t jar my senses all the time.

I’m an Introvert and I have ADD. It’s not uncommon for either Introverts or people with ADD to be overwhelmed by environments. I do what I can to soothe myself in situations that I dislike. If I need to wait somewhere, I bring along my journal and write, even if there are loud taekwondo ki-yaps or pre-election newscasts in the background. I try to plan my day so I get proper nutrition and exercise, knowing that those things help me deal with challenging stressors. Out in public, I seat myself in the least stressful area for me that I can find.

I do try new things, even if I tense up beforehand. I am a good sport—heck, I’ve been one the whole time in DBT. I spent three months living in a home in Spain, only refusing one food item after I tried it—eggplant—even though I really preferred a much more limited diet. I do activities with my kids that aren’t comfortable, even if I would not choose them for myself. I often keep my sensitive nature to myself in situations where it would make things less pleasant for others.

And I love a lot of things in this life. Do I really have to act like I just got called to “Come on down!” on the Price is Right to show that? I write in a Gratitude Journal daily so I will remember with joy those things I enjoy. I participate in this life—I run, I laugh, I volunteer, I attend performances and athletic events, I read, I sing, I hike, I ski, I love my husband and children, spend time socializing with the people in my family, I reach out to others who I don’t know, I talk with close friends, I pet my dogs, and I pray to God.

Does it make me a bad person if I’d rather not be in crowds or eat strong foods or listen to Pop music or play games? Is that close-minded or is it just being aware of my biology and taking care of my own needs?

I know there is a thin line between taking care of your own needs and giving in to a general dislike for things outside your comfort zones, but I submit that I do not live in that general dislike, even if I take occasional day trips across that line. I believe I am selective or discerning in my experiences, not just rejective.

I guess what really offends me is that there are many positive or neutral words besides dislike that convey our family’s approach to life. I don’t see two sides to the coin of the word. Dislike feels like a judging word, versus a word that conveys both the positive and negative value of choosing what works and what doesn’t (which is one of the DBT “how” skills).

Our subconscious minds and bodies work hard at self-preservation, sometimes saying “no” out of a misguided urge to protect us. But at other times, our minds and bodies recognize when we are faced with something that is dangerous or stressful to our health, even when others might find the same situation positive or neutral. For example, a dislike for a food can sometimes turn out to be the body’s warning that we have an undiagnosed allergy. Different people have different needs and sometimes experience dislike for valid reasons.

And, that’s why I disliked our assigned word.

Oh, there I go again—judging.