small_429674813A few years ago, I was standing in my kitchen and I faintly smelled something. Something bad. I said to Jim, “Do you smell that?” He says no.

Now I’m on a mission. “I swear I smell something bad. Where the heck is that coming from?” I mumbled to myself.

If you are anything like me, you know what came next. I searched every single corner of the kitchen looking for this smell.

I opened the dishwasher and sniffed around. I smelled nearly every item the fridge and the pantry, holding them to my nose. I ran the garbage disposal. I swept the floor to see if any food had fallen there. I cleaned the countertop. I sniffed around the oven and stovetop.

I sniffed over every damn thing in the kitchen. Where was it coming from? I was losing my mind. (Of course, that whole time, Jim smelled nothing, so I surely looked like a crazy person.)

Eventually, I had to give up. Maybe the smell would go away. I lit some candles and tried to think about something else.

The next day, I went to heat up some leftovers in the microwave. I opened the door, and inside, I saw raw chicken that I had put there to thaw. Two days ago. That I had forgotten. So gross!!

As an HSP, I am super sensitive to smells. Anytime something starts to smell in the fridge, I can smell it before anyone else, and I will go on a rampage until I find the source of the stink.

This sensitivity to bad smells in the kitchen (usually from the garbage bin) led me to what might seem a strange habit to some: I put all perishable garbage in the freezer.

So if I’m preparing carrots, the peelings go in a plastic bag in the freezer. Empty yogurt cups, egg shells, containers that used to hold raw meat, banana peels—anything that could smell bad in the garbage goes into the freezer so it won’t start to stink in the waste bin. Then we throw it out on trash day. It’s helped eliminate crazy stink searches.

It’s not just spoiled food that grosses me out. One smell that triggers me is fried eggs. Ever since I was a child, it has made me feel nauseous. Do you have certain odors that you really, really hate?

Oh–one more thing–SMOKE. I am seriously sensitive to cigarette smoke. If I’m staying at hotel and I walk into my new room, I will immediately know if anyone has ever smoked there (and request another room). In cases where switching rooms isn’t possible, the smell will bother me like crazy. Eventually I get more used to the odor, but every once in a while, it hits me again. I really, really hate cigarette smoke. More than just the leftover odor, I hate how even standing amidst smoke for a few seconds makes your hair and all your clothes reek until you wash them.

But what about good smells?

Right now, the orange blossoms are out in full force in my neighborhood. They are absolutely intoxicating. Whenever I walk by this one particular orange tree, I am blown away by how strongly it smells. I stand there, smiling, with my eyes closed, just taking it in. I didn’t grow up in a place with orange trees, so it still feels new to me. I can’t get over it!

Sometimes, after it rains (which is rare in Southern California) there is a faint scent of eucalyptus in the air. Anytime I can pick up that scent, it feels special—calming and peaceful.

Have you found that certain odors evoke memories? If I ever smell Tommy Girl perfume (do they even make it anymore?) it reminds me of college, because that’s what I wore. In fact, a lot of perfumes and colognes remind me of certain times in my life or certain people. And certain food smells remind me of places. (I bet you feel this way, too!)

When I smell lovely things, like orange blossoms, eucalyptus, or garlic simmering in olive oil (another favorite), it is more than just a smell. It makes me feel something. It’s like a moment of sensory bliss, and I just can’t get enough of it.

Note added a few days after posting this: Some people have commented about whether acute sense of smell in an HSP thing. I don’t want to give the impression that this means you an HSP, or that all HSPs have it. This post is a musing (not amusing–a musing), just talking about another way in which I am sensitive, and perhaps it is related to being high sensitive in general–I don’t have any proof of that, though. Just wanted to clarify. 🙂

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