Paging Dr. Spock

I can’t stand to see people in pain. I have been a deep empathizer and a natural mimic my entire life. In fact, people laughing, crying or vomiting cause me to do the same.

My mom once told me that when I was about two or three years old, she walked past the living room to find me sitting in front of the TV watching cartoons (probably “Ben & Jerry”). As she looked closer, she noticed that, as I sat there intent on the show, I was crying quietly. Mom panicked that something was wrong and ran to her go-to baby book, Dr. Spock, wherein she learned that there was nothing wrong, but that this meant I was very sensitive and empathic to others’ sufferings. And in the years that followed, she took to calling me “Mamasita” (which is now my nickname for HER) because I was always trying to take care of people and boss around my little brother. For a long time Mom wanted me to become a doctor, but when I finally began to understand my affliction, I told her there’s no way I could be a doctor; I would take on my patients’ misfortunes or illnesses to the point of my own peril or demise.

Fast forward a few decades and nothing has changed. In most instances, I would rather inconvenience myself or cause myself suffering than watch someone I care about to be in pain. Standing by and watching someone hurt causes me more anguish than if I were the one hurting.

So, the moral of the story: if you’re in trouble, or you’re sad, just come sit by me. I’ll help. Mamasita, to the rescue.

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