Inside My Sphere of Smelliness

About three weeks ago, something happened that caused me to stop writing blogs for about a week, until I got my head twisted back on a little tighter.  It was a Wednesday, I was at work, and the phone rang.  I recognized the caller ID (foreshadowing).  It was my employer’s wife (thus also my employer and the power behind the throne), who also works in the office paying bills and shopping online.  She hadn’t come in to the office that day, and she said that she had to talk to me.

She explained that she had been wanting to talk to me for a while, and that it was hard for her to talk about this, because she struggled with the same problem.  She explained, “You have a bit of *body*odor*”.

I didn’t hear anything she said after that.  My neck, starting at the nape, filled with giant prickly needles  that quickly spread around to the front of my neck, constricting my throat, then flashing upward to cover my entire head.  My ears roared with the noise of it. 

When it subsided, after what seemed like hours, she was still droning into the telephone.  I found myself saying, “Oh, thank you for telling me you had a problem” like the good customer service person that I am.  The conversation ended.

By this time I am sitting at my work station, crunched up into a little ball.  My head is ducked down, my arms are glued tight to my body, and I make myself invisible. 

What would you do next?  That’s what I did, too.  I started smelling myself.  I smelled my shoulders, I smelled my clothing, I looked down into the V-neck of my scrub top and took a deep whiff, I stuck my nose into my armpits.  Nothing.

For the next week, I avoided people.  I went home at lunchtime and took another bath and changed my clothes.  I went over, over, over all this in my brain.  Maybe I did smell.  I make my own laundry detergent – but I don’t put a scent in it.  I use well water that can smell like sulphur – but the smell dissipates.  I hang my clothes up to dry – maybe they smell musty or dampish.  I wash my hair once a week with organic shampoo and conditioner – maybe it’s my hair.  I use organic deodorant – maybe it’s no good. 

Then I got angry.  If I smelled, it was because I had earned it.  We had the pit bull that was living at the office.  I walked her every day, in July, people, in the heat of the day, at least twice.  I walked to the bank to get change for the office, again in the heat.  I volunteered at the shelter once a week to bathe shelter dogs during my lunch time.  I assisted in the exam rooms, holding and restraining dogs and cats.  And to add insult to injury, after all I’d done to help build the practice, I was told that basically I stunk.  I had paid the bill for people who had animals in need but had no money, like the pregnant chihuahua that needed the C-section, and the owner had $50.  I paid the bill so the doctor would perform the surgery and not turn the dog away to die in childbirth.  I paid the bill for a cat whose owner went to jail for writing bad checks, and someone else who was supposed to be taking care of the cat broke its tail, put it in a crate, and left it in a crate on an animal lover’s doorstep with a note to please shoot the cat.  I buy 40# bags of dog food for my dogs so that we can get enough weight on our weekly food order so that we can meet the food order delivery weight minimum.

I was DONE.  I stopped. 

I know what you are doing right now.  You are smelling your armpits.



7 Responses to “Inside My Sphere of Smelliness”

  1. Linda Smith Says:

    I wish I was there to give you a hug!…..Please do not let some idiot change you…..I have had times, when I thought I would give up my opportunities to do things for others, because they had resulted in pain, and humiliation for me…but you know what……………those people that caused my grief were the losers in all the situations……I was so blessed to help others. Your reward will be great, and your tormentor…..well…just wait and see……


  2. Becky Says:

    Now I just don’t know about this. There are days when I have prevented some biting and scratching by the toddlers to their peers, been on playground, walked around the church with kiddoes in the sun, and I can absolutely smell myself. I think if you couldn’t detect an odor, then you aren’t smelly. Perhaps it’s as our brother Steve used to tease, it was the lady’s breath blowing back in her face!! 🙂 P.S. Nobody puts my sister Ruthie in a smelly corner. :p


    • ruthrawls Says:

      I have turned this one upside-down and inside-out thinking about it. I don’t use perfume and maybe she detected my absence of artificial smell as body odor. But sometimes I might detect an odor after exertion, but I guess I thought that it was contained in my sphere of personal space. Guess not.
      Maybe it was my breath and she didn’t know how to say it.
      Steve knew how to dish it out.
      Do we break into dancing now?


  3. Kariann Says:



    Many times I roll into church Wednesday evening and throw on deoderant outside my van. As you would say, I earned it.


  4. Jen Says:

    Really? I mean…REALLY? I’m sorry momma! I still think you’re amazing;)
    P.S. I’m having a great time reading your stuff!


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