Skip to main content

When I was pregnant, I had a serious problem with smell. This wasn’t completely out of the ordinary – other women get like this too, but it usually goes away after the first trimester.

Mine didn’t. For the 35 weeks that I carried that little sucker, I could not stand to smell anything. Perfume, my basement, my dogs, rain, grocery stores (really anything besides guacamole), one sniff and I tossed my cookies – so to speak. It was when I was pregnant that I unearthed the real reason that most kitchens are designed with the fridge within spitting distance of the sink.

My personal fix for this issue was to keep my nose closed, completely shut down. And this was when I came to discover that I have my very own super power.

Apparently, most people can only close their nose by holding it shut with their fingers (or a clothespin – but that really hurts). But I can do it without my hands. I can’t even explain it – the how or the muscles involved. I can just do it. It’s like I have a nose switch or something. I’m doing it right now. And you can’t even tell. I still look like I do when my nose is open. If any of you are thinking this is no big deal (which is what I originally thought), then you are special too – but, at this point, I’ve so many people tell me this is extraordinary that I’ve come to accept that it is true.

I should probably have t-shirts made. With a big nose on the front. The back will say, ‘I can shut it.’

As a writer, it made me think about what else needs to be shut at regular and excruciatingly important moments and how, all the while, we need to still look the same, equanimous even, to the outside world. Let’s see:

  • Our mouths when a client wants us to ‘add flowery language’
  • Our doors when people that wish us harm come knocking
  • Our computers/smartphones when we need to be human and interact with others
  • Our insecurity when we’re pitching a proposal or naming our fee
  • Our egos when we’re writing for someone else
  • Our doubts when we’re writing for ourselves

And some things must remain open with poise as well:

  • Our minds
  • Our hope
  • Our relationships with those that mentor, adore and support us (and us them)
  • Our desire to learn, stretch, expand and grow
  • Our capacity to write about different things
  • Our ability to write in someone else’s voice
  • Our tolerance and acceptance of different perspectives
  • Our stream, our flow of words, thoughts and ideas
  • Our belief in ourselves

Image credit: mag3737

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • linda says:

    I have that nose on/off too– I turn off my sense of smell whenever I go in a public bathroom. Totally subconscious.

    I think it’s genius that you’ve taken the nose thing to a whole other level. I’m going to be mindful of keeping my mind open – or shut, thanks to you.

  • The deMented Mom says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I faithfully read every post that lands in my inbox. You have an uncanny knack for providing me with exactly what I need to hear on a given day. Thank you so much for sharing your insights and wisdom.


  • Julie Roads says:

    That’s it. I win. Clearly I have the best community of blog readers in the world!!!

    (and I love that at least one of them shares my super power!!!)

    Thanks for being here and taking the time to tell me these things…Julie

  • Ari Herzog says:

    Hold on a second here, Miss Julie “I Can Shut It” Roads. You mean to say if I hold a sniffer of black pepper under your nose, you won’t sneeze, let alone twitch?

  • Julie Roads says:

    Yes, Ari. That’s exactly what this means.

  • Shutting the nose is a trick I need to learn, I retain smells now days.. pretty weird.

    In writing I’m now trying to learn to shut out negative comments, nagging people.. whether in blogging or elsewhere. I guess it’ll be a balance of staying present, being clear on my purpose and accepting that others have rights to free speech as well! Not a small chore

  • Julie Roads says:

    Delicate Flower – I like where you’re going with this. Yes, let them deal with their negativity…you don’t need that! But I agree about the balance – and sometimes we get to learn things from other points of view, even if they don’t feel great…

  • Things that must remain open: how about….

    Our wish for peace;

    Our confidence in the heart’s capacity to love.

    Sounds all hippie-like, but the absence of both peace and love in a person’s life (in this day and age) can make you really miss them.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Jennifer! Fantastic additions. Sending thanks from the bottom of my OPEN heart.

  • Andi says:

    Love this. I want to print this list up and tape it by my desk to remind me of all the smart things you just said!

Leave a Reply