I've really enjoyed doing ceramics work again, although I'll admit that I'm quite rusty (not having formally worked with clay since high school). Last Tuesday was a very rough class for me because at one point, a woman sat at the pottery wheel next to mine chewing a huge wad of gum. Now how's this for torture... My hands are covered with wet clay, so I couldn't put my fingers in my ears. At one point, when I was finished throwing a pot, I got up and was having a debate in my head whether I'd even have the courage to ask the woman to not chew gum around me (something I was VERY reluctant to do), or switch to another pottery wheel far from her, or just call it quits for the night altogether
The instructor saw me during this internal debate and said, "You look like you are lost..." That's when I explained to him about my misophonia and how the gum chewing was disturbing to me. If I had my earplugs, then it would be a different story but in one of those rare moments, I didn't have them with me. So I told him I was going to put my earbuds in to try to help me focus on what I was doing. It worked well for a while until the instructor wanted to tell me something. So, I pulled out one earplug even though my hand was covered with clay slop. (Made a nice white streak down my hair like Lily Munster.) Oh well. Just have to remember to have extra ear plugs in my glove compartment for emergencies.
The singing extra-curricular activity has been fun too. Singing in rehearsals again made me realize just how much I enjoyed being in a choral group. What I forgot about was how much it bothered me when people adjacent to me would tap their feet or their fingers to the music. Seeing that again made me remember those triggers from way back when. (That and when some of the guys would whistle during breaks between pieces.) I'm hoping that with more frequent singing, maybe my trigger sensitivity will be reduced to how I was back in my school days. (One can only hope...)
There was something interesting that happened to me at work this week too. During a video conference call with one of our teammates abroad, the person sitting next to me started cracking his knuckles big time. I asked him to stop and although he first snapped back no, he couldn't... (I couldn't tell if he was serious or not), I tried to explain my misophonia but then stopped because I realized it would be too difficult to do so while we were in the middle of the meeting. So, I said I'd explain later... I totally forgot about it until a couple days later when we were both getting coffee in the break room. He asked what I wanted to tell him, so I explained about my discomfort with misophonia triggers. He explained that with his "older" hands, he needs to crack his knuckles, otherwise they start to hurt but he said he'd try not to do so. I said I understood what he felt and didn't want to cause him any discomfort either. I also said I was trying not to talk too much about my misophonia until people really get to know me first and that's when he said something that really touched me... He said, "We're family here. Of course you should let people know when something is bothering you."
After nearly 20 years working at firms where I was in very hostile environments and coworkers would rather stab you in the back to get ahead than work with me as a part of the team... You don't know how long I longed to hear something like that!