In today’s society, I often hear the phrase ‘high maintenance’ used as an adjective to describe a person with high standards and or expectations; a person who is particularly picky about ‘things’; a person who is selective. I admittedly prefer highly selective to the negatively perceived term high maintenance. It may have something to do with visual that comes to mind when someone utters the term high maintenance in my direction; I suddenly flash to Elle Woods, the protagonist in Legally Blonde. And I assure you, despite what my closet may imply, I am not an Elle Woods. Alas I am, however, highly selective. As a young child that selectivity came in the decision to what ended up on my plate at the dinner table. For a time, my mom recounts how I refused anything but fish and rice, clearly the cuisine of any toddler. I’m somewhat better as an adult, but mildly so. I may need to carefully inspect, smell, my dish to ensure that it meets my standards. Food is only one facet of my finicky ways, it also applies to fashion. My mother raised me to match and match I do, accessories and all. Mismatch day, during Spirit Week at school, is like my worst nightmare. I’m even particular about my office supplies. I like Kate Spade stationary and Better Binders, you get the picture. My selectivity is not relegated to things. I’m picky about people. For years, everyone told me that I was single because I was ‘too’ picky. I can say now that I’m glad I was or I may not have ended up with Josh, who is in all sincerity the best person for me. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being highly selective in these cases when it is best suited or carefully crafted choices, but it may be an issue when it is applied to some things and not others.
For example, I am frequently told I have selective hearing. It is often told me in jest but none the less, told to me just the same. This type of selectiveness may not be advisable. I don’t have ‘rose colored glasses’ on that keep me from accepting or properly seeing reality, but I do tend to be selective as to which elements of reality I choose to focus on. I prefer to state my reality, but emphasize the positive. Sometimes it may be done in a maladjusted joking fashion that I use as a defense mechanism and other times skeptical optimism. Regardless it is a choice. Apparently, I have also unconsciously made the choice to forget about my previous chemotherapy experience. It has been two years, since I had any form of traditional chemo, but for a person with the ‘mind of an elephant’ when it comes to most things, this was a little surprising to me. I have had two infusions thus far and was surprised somehow by the knock you out fatigue, ‘hit by a truck’ feeling that comes with the Neulasta shot (even if it is now in a fancy catheterized take home computer on your arm), the aggravating mouth full of canker sores that make me sound like I have a lisp (that I’m pretty sure my students noticed but couldn’t quite place today) and loathe foods that I have deemed too hard to chew (adding to my selective food choices), and the need to carry ginger candy around in every pocket just in case. I think when applying it to this scenario, I can self diagnose as having a selective memory. I have no problem forging ahead, I just need be selective with other things in my life – like my time, the people that I choose to spend it with, and my priorities.