I am a wus. I am the kid at the shallow end of the pool dipping her toe in for twenty minutes and lamenting how cold the water feels. I don’t like roller coasters or water slides. I don’t like to ski or get on motorcycles. I don’t walk between subway cars while the train is moving, no matter what ungodly thing I find myself facing as the doors slide closed behind me. I don’t get in physical fights and if a pigeon flaps in my face, I will either duck or throw my hands up and shriek.
It’s definitely not genetic or environmental, because Pandito will fling himself down a mountain on a skateboard with only Jesus to protect him, emerging unscathed and grinning ear to ear. My natural trepidation comes from a disease I was born with and have suffered all my life: Delicate Flower Syndrome.
DFS affects thousands of men and women throughout the world, though it is more common in developed countries, where people have lost touch with what real problems and visceral needs feel like. Some symptoms may include: squeamishness of hours old food, a fear of the high dive, constant fatigue, a need for special toilet paper, a distaste or inability to imbibe anything generic, a fear of personal injury so great that it inhibits you from joining a gay basketball league, a wheat aversion (those actually suffering from Celiac disease not included), being a vegan who won’t eat honey, a strong fear of any and all confrontation, a strong proclivity towards whining….the list goes on and on.
My personal manifestation of DFS happens to be small, non-threatening health issues. Asthma, allergies, cysts, oh my! Sinus infections? Why not. Jammed finger? I barely survived it. Tonsillectomy? I took down the entire family’s Christmas and the movie It’s a Wonderful Life with that one. If I had been born in Biblical times, they would have left me on the Mountain top to die. “Thou art too high maintenance, child. This is God’s will.
Fortunately, I was born in a time when Delicate Flower Syndrome is not only permitted, but encouraged. At one point, I was on six different medications plus a multivitamin for all of my afflictions. DFS is not the same as hypochondria; the two may be combined for an incredible succubus of neediness and neroses, but are not mutually exclusive. It’s more the ability to not have to deal with any minor malady. With pills for acne, cramps and allergies a DFSer can cut his or her burden in half. People who have DFS need to feel coddled and appreciated; ask their doctors, teachers, parents and friends.
The only cure I know to alleviate Delicate Flower Syndrome is to get over yourself. But in a city of glorified Woody Allen-wannabe hipsters and baby Barbara Streisands, I just don’t see that happening.