I have a problem. A neurosis, to be exact. “Just one?!” I hear you cry. Well, I’d be lying if I said that this was my only hang-up, but it’s currently my largest. This feels like a confession of the highest order. Deep breath. Here goes…
When I say “I blush,” I don’t mean that I turn a healthy shade of pink and glow sweetly when someone says something vaguely naughty. I don’t giggle girlishly and flutter my eyelashes in faux shock while my cheeks turn to pretty round roses. I blush. And the colour I go is an alarming and unattractive shade of deep purple. It is massively embarrassing, which of course makes me blush. So when I feel myself go slightly pinker than I might usually be (because I’m cross, upset, worried, shy, turned on, warm), I am powerless to stop the full on rush of blood to the head that succeeds it. It creeps up the back of my neck and over my ears, and into my cheeks. It spills down into my throat and breasts in a cascade of burning mortification. Even my eyes and lips get hot.
One of my other idiosyncrasies is breathing. When I’m cross, or upset, or scared, or in any way out of sorts, I just don’t. Breathe, that is. My body simply doesn’t remember to inhale or exhale. I forget to partake of the oxygen until I go faint, and then I go all shaky and wibbly and end up in, say, Pret a Manger with my head on the floor in a steaming, red ball. This is embarrassing. It makes me blush. Unfortunately, the blushing makes me stop breathing. Conundrum.
I just spent ten minutes sitting in front of my new boss’s* desk with my burning head in my hands, shaking. This happened because when I went for my interview a few weeks back (an informal affair with a man I know, like and have been drunk with on many an occasion), for some reason unbeknown to me, I blushed. And now every time we have a sit down to discuss what he wants to happen in the week, I worry that I’m going to blush and I blush, which makes me faint because I forget to breathe. In actual fact, I’ve felt the redness coming on a few times around him, but have been able to control it, but it just got the better of me today. There is no reason for this to happen. It is nothing to do with attraction – after all, I worked with my current partner (yes, he was my boss) for years and never once blushed around him – and I’m not scared of this man. The problem is that I blushed once… and now twice… and I’m so convinced it’s going to happen again that I am powerless to stop it. Honestly, I’ve tried all sorts of pretending it’s not happening techniques, but to no avail.
Bizarrely, I know when it’s going to happen these days. I knew when H— said to me this morning: “Shall we sit down and talk about the week in a bit?” that I was going to have to fight the blush. As I finally felt it coming on (right at the end of the bloody conversation too), I got up and feigned having to do something. This usually works because I go away and blush and then come back all blushed out, but it was a particularly bad one this week and I got all flustered, so by the time I got back to my desk, I was dizzy with lack of oxygen and then I blushed because I was all shaky and faint. I was also blushing because I was worried he was going to think I was being rude running away like that mid-conversation. It really can’t reflect v.well on my professional performance.
So I Googled Facial Blushing Problems. Would you Adam and Eve it – I am not the only one who suffers with this. It was so reassuring to read other people’s experiences that I decided to blog about it. And, the more I thought about blogging about it, the more sense it seemed to make. If I can confess to harbouring this funky skeleton in my cupboard, then people will know why I’m acting strangely when it happens. And, also, if people know about it, it won’t be my dirty little secret anymore, so I’ll be less likely to blush… in theory, that is. I’m hoping that it’s not going to have the adverse affect of stopping the blushing, but starting something infinitely more unmanageable, like tourettes or incontinence.
I would love to know what causes this and what I can do to stop it. I guess it’s directly linked to my other quirks and that the issue runs deeper than my throbbing, maroon skin, but I need to get a handle on it… whatever it is. The thing that’s annoying me the most is that I used to be like this. About eight years ago, I went through a phase of this blushing malarkey and managed to get a grip (no, I don’t know how or I wouldn’t have started again, would I?) in about six months. I have been pretty much blush free since then… until now, that is.
I would be massively grateful if people could share their neuroses too. Blushing-related or otherwise.
Hello – my name is Emily and I am a blusher. It has been twenty minutes since my last blush…
* Not the freelance art job, of course, because that boss would be me.