The particular sadness of lemon cake by Aimee Bender

Recently I read this novel and started thinking about the ways in which sensitive people have access to sensory information that the rest of the world doesn’t have, doesn’t pay attention to, or isn’t bothered by. The particular sadness of lemon cake is about a young woman to tastes other people’s emotions when she eats foods that they have made. Being able to access these experiences gives her all sorts of information that she doesn’t necessarily want- or know what to do with.

I think that sensitive and observant people often pick up on emotional tones, nuances, shifts in energy, and other aspects of behavior that not everyone sees. Knowing where to take this information, what to do with this information, and figuring out how to use it wisely can involve some growing pains. Some of the people that I treat have tendency to dismiss, attack, or hate themselves for having access to it in the first place. The character in The particular sadness of lemon cake even goes through a period of time in which wants nothing to do with her mouth.

Emotional sensitivity can be seen as a gift. Being reactive, tuned in, and responsive to others’ emotions can be difficult and painful- especially if people in the environment don’t get what you get. Instead of hating yourself for having the information in the first place, consider what you might do with the information.

Being perceptive and picking up on things that others aren’t picking up on doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to react or say something in the moment. It may be noticed, attended to, or worthy of discussion down the road. How do you think what you notice about other people that they don’t notice about themselves could be useful information? If you had this information and you wanted to respond to it in such a way that you felt good about yourself, how might this information help you 1) give someone accurate, meaningful, and relevant feedback 2) help you keep a relationship by (possibly) not saying anything- or by waiting and finding the right time to say something? In any case, consider a stance of openness and curiosity: What could it mean for yourself and the relationship?