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If you chew with your mouth open, stay away from me

I try to keep some of my weirdness hidden and truth be told, I do a pretty terrible job of it.  I’m not ashamed of my quirkiness but I try to let it out little by little as people get to know me.

Today, I’m letting my freak flag fly.  I’m going to be upfront with this because once you read the entirety of this post, you’ll know it and here’s the kicker– I don’t care.

Alright, here I go.

Let me start by asking a few simple questions.

  1. Do you chew with your mouth open?
  2. Do you smack your lips while you eat?
  3. Do you eat in class?
  4. Do you smack your lip while you chew gum, or chew gum with your mouth open?

If you answered yes to any, or all, of these questions, there is a great chance that you and I will not get along when there is food around.

That may be a little aggressive and upfront so apologies if you’re in someway offended.  Maybe if you’re offended, you should evaluate your eating habits.  Again, aggressive.  Sorry.

Let me back it up a little bit and explain.

Last week I blogged about white noise and how it’s become a necessity for me over the years (my sound machine is on as I type this) and how sounds can really distract me.  Normal sounds don’t bother me unless I’m trying to accomplish something.  The sounds of eating, however, are something entirely different.

Take for example, an apple.  They’re crisp and make a loud noise when you bite into them.  Back in the day I used to eat apple slices with peanut butter and not think anything of it.

Not anymore.

I would consider the sound of someone biting into an apple the worst sound ever to me.  Worse than nails on a chalk board.  Worse than a baby crying on an airplane.  Worse than anything.  It makes me actually uncomfortable to hear it and truth be told, I’ve gotten into a few (a million) fights with my apple-loving sister and mom.  My roommates last year would eat their apples in the hallway instead of our room to avoid me squirming around uncomfortably.  They’re the real MVPs.

I don’t really know when this change happened but I can’t eat apples without getting goosebumps all over my body.  I force myself to eat the apple slices if I get a McDonalds Happy Meal because, well, they come with the meal.  Even then, I shove them all into my mouth at once, chew incessantly and freak out for a minute or two.

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Don’t judge.

I’m in a sorority and I eat meals with a lot of different people at our house.  The majority of the time, the girls I sit with eat like normal people and I don’t notice it one bit.  There are a few girls that I try reaaallly hard to avoid sitting with because they were either not taught to chew with their mouths closed or think that eating like animals is acceptable.  Whatever it is, I can’t do it.

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I know there are some of y’all out there that don’t like when people eat their food while showing us the contents of their mouth at the same time.  You may be less vocal about it (and less sensitive to it), but I’m not alone in this.

My mom posted a New York Times article on my Facebook wall a few weeks ago entitled “Please Stop Making That Noise” and before reading more than the first line or two, I immediately empathized with the author.

The author, Barron H. Lerner, is a doctor and suffers from misophonia, a condition with which certain sounds can drive someone into a burst of rage or disgust.  This condition has only been recognized and named in the last 20 years, the article explains.  Misophonia means “hatred of sound” and a 2013 study at the University of Amsterdam identified the most common irritants as eating sounds (lip smacking and swallowing), breathing sounds (nostril noises and sneezing), and hand sounds (typing and pen clicking).

Hand sounds don’t bother me and I can’t really think about what ‘nostril noises’ means so I’m not sure if those sounds bother me….. but there was this one time I apparently got mad at my sister for “breathing too loud” when she was sick.  Sorry Lex.

I’m not diagnosing myself with misophonia but I definitely have visceral reactions when I have to be around someone while they eat or chew gum in a gross way.  And believe me, there’s not much worse than being stuck in a class while the person beside you smacks their lips while chewing gum for hours on end.

Cue my heart rate to go through the roof.

I don’t have any psychiatric conditions like the NYT suggests (unless being dramatic and sassy is a psychiatric condition) but I wouldn’t consider my reactions normal.

But that’s okay.  I don’t want to be normal.  Maybe I have misophonia but maybe I just have a low tolerance for gross sounds people make when they eat.

Don’t eat apples around me and it won’t be an issue.  You’ve been warned.

~* Don’t judge my weirdness *~