Sunday, December 26, 2010

What happened to my finger and my upper arm

I am typing this with a sore finger and a sore upper arm because... order that some sense of mystery should still be preserved, no revelation will yet be made concerning how my upper arm was injured.

But I will immediately tell you how it all began.

It all began yesterday night, when my family members began checking today's weather forecasts in preparation for my incipient trip back to Maryland. There was much anxiety about the 100% chance of snow that was predicted for College Park. Although I played the stalwart traveler, I was a bit concerned myself, fearing burial under drifts of snow, or an accidental departure from the road, or - even worse - having to drive all the way to Maryland with a film of salt on my windshield!

Well, only the latter actually happened (What's with all the gas stations at the so-called "service" plazas not having any window cleaner fluid?) and I actually made it to College Park completely unscathed. The snowfall wasn't even close to significant until I hit the Beltway, and there was, miraculously, not a traffic jam the whole way down.

It was only once I got home that I became scathed. After unpacking all the stuff I'd brought back from Ohio and pleased that I'd made the entire trip in just 7.5 hours, I was in a productive mood. So I decided to clean up some of the stuff that had been sitting around since long before I went to Ohio. Among that collection of stuff was a jar candle with a label that had been half-ripped off. I set out to remove the label completely.

I should know by now that plying any kind of blade on a cylindrical object is not my strong point. I have a scar at the base of my thumb to prove it, and now I'll probably have a scar at the base of my pointer finger to bolster the argument. I don't think I will shoot for scars on all five fingers. And now, gore alert! If you are as squeamish as I apparently am, you may not want to continue reading. There will be blood.

As I diligently scraped away at the tenacious sticker, I slipped and sent my paint scraper (with a fortunately pretty dull blade) digging into the flesh of my finger. "Oh my God," I said, and promptly began bleeding all over the place.

The fortuitous part of this story is that I was wearing my favorite pair of pants--pink jeans that I got at a thrift store almost 6 years ago. I loved them because they were the perfect fit and super soft, which most jeans never become. However, they had gotten so soft that I'd already worn a hole in one knee and the second one was soon to follow. As I was driving home, I noticed that they looked a little dingy even though they had recently been washed, and I vowed that this would be the last time I wore them--even though I love them so much. Well. Now that they are blood-spattered, I don't think I'll be able to cheat and try to wear them ever again. That was good timing.

Anyway, after cutting the dickens out of my finger, I did the responsible thing and washed it with soap and water. Fortunately, I was so shocked that I didn't feel any pain. But I did get really dizzy and have to lie down for a minute.

Then I was well enough to drive myself to the ER, where I received two stitches and a tetanus shot. Watching the former caused me to get dizzy all over again (I always forget how awful it feels to be on the verge of passing out. I think I'll be quite happy if I never feel that way again!) and the latter was why my upper arm now hurts.

Friday, December 17, 2010


I apologize in advance; I don't think I'll be blogging much for a while. I got depressed again.

This happens fairly often for me, usually when unfortunate life events coincide with the onset of winter, but it's particularly bad this time around. I just wondered today, as I was sitting in my chair staring off into the future, how many of you know what it feels like to be really depressed. Maybe all of you do; an uncorroborated statistic in my head is that 2/3 of adults have experienced depression at some point during their life. But if you haven't, let me try to explain.

Normally, I fix problems. If I have a problem, I 'll keep working at it until it is fixed. If I can't fix it, I get terribly upset. And if the unfixable problem happens to relate to the single most important goal in my life, I get more than upset.

I can't stop thinking about it. I analyze every aspect of it. I consider and reconsider every course of action that I could possibly take and realize none of them are acceptable. Even when I stop thinking about it, it stays in the back of my mind. I'll be going about my daily business when all of a sudden I'll realize I am so sad. This goes on for days. I start to get irritable. The small problems that I used to fix now cause me to burst into tears.

When I am alone, I obsess about it until I cry. Loudly, ceaselessly, in the most horrifying manner I hope you never have to hear. Sometimes, I cry until every sinus in my skull is completely impacted, or I have pulled muscles in my throat and ribs. I rail at the Problem, but finding it undefeatable, I have no choice but to attack myself instead. When I realize that hysteria is getting me nowhere, I swing to the opposite extreme and shut down.

Because quickness turns sadness to anger, I go slow. I walk slow, I move slow, I talk slow. I don't think people notice because my normal speed is ultra-fast, and my super-slow speed is the normal person's normal. But if you're watching me, you'll see me stop periodically and space out. Everything is so hard to do. I draw on all my reserves to muster the willpower to do normal things like open a box or put on my coat. I don't really have the strength to stay awake and do all those normal tasks, so I indulge in extremely early bedtimes. When I'm sleeping is about the only time I'm not utterly miserable. When I wake up, there are a few moments of foggy-feeling normalcy, and then the blanket of sadness descends.

Sooner or later, the physical symptoms begin. I lose my appetite. When it gets to the point that I'm dizzy with hunger, I'll try to eat something, but afterwards, I always wish I hadn't. I feel heavy and nauseated. I would like to think that this would at least help me lose weight, but unfortunately I think my metabolism slows down so much that if anything, I get fatter. In the mornings before breakfast, everything feels unreal. Something indescribable happens to my vision: Everything looks the same, but it feels like it looks different, as though I'm seeing it through a window on another world.

On the days that I don't work, I can spend hours on end staring into space or crying. I never bother to change out of my pajamas. I alternately close off all communication channels and open them all in a flood, hoping someone has missed me. They usually haven't. Although I am desperate to feel some love, being around people induces anxiety. Being alone is the worst thing you can do for yourself when you are depressed, but having to feign happiness – or even a sort of stable melancholy – for others' benefit is so draining. While I am interacting with others, I can laugh at jokes and even enjoy myself for seconds on end, but the terrible thoughts will insert themselves ruthlessly into any situation. I want to take some sort of action on my oppressive emotions, but I have to put on a brave face for these people! The stress of it causes mild panic attacks. And as soon as I leave, I start crying again.

I know that this will end because it has every time since I first got depressed. But the thought of the weeks or months that I will have to endure this is enough to send me into another fit of hysteria (please, no). And when I recover, it will only be to a state of resigned sadness. If you try to console me, it won't help (though the effort will be appreciated), but if you think about it, pray for the solution to the underlying Problem. I'd like to, one day, get back to being the ray of sunshine that everyone thinks I am.

Friday, December 10, 2010

How to kill off your dating prospects: advice from the expert

Ladies and gentlemen, after 2 years going on dating sprees separated by lengthy periods of imagined contentment with quasi-relationships, I consider myself an authority on love. And rejoice—I am now going to share my wisdom with you! Today's topic is: How to kill off your dating prospects (figuratively!). Both men and women can benefit from my sage advice.

Gentlemen: Be That Guy.

As an online dater, you have the advantage of presenting yourself in any way that you wish. Addicted to meth? No one needs to know. Want your face on top of (insert hot celebrity name here)'s body? That's fine. And you get to choose any one of a multitude of plausible personas! My personal favorite for scaring off the chicks faster than a hawk's shadow? The One-Track Mind.

When chatting with a new woman online, pick a topic and stick to it. Fanatically. Remember, this is the Internet, and normal rules of courtesy need not apply, so you can and should pick every girl's favorite subject to discuss with strange men: sex. If she has a photo posted online, make sure your first words to her are, "u r hottt!" Truncating the "you" and employing multiple T's are crucial. You want her to know early on that your interest in getting her into your bed far exceeds your mastery of English. If you have not seen her picture yet, demand one, because there's no point getting to know a chick if she doesn't look like a supermodel. Once you have received the required photo, proceed to the previous step.

Following this, if you are confident that your attempts at flattery have set the lady's heart aflutter, you may then invite her to see your manhood. However, if you are like most men, you'll want to take things a little slower than that and begin your courtship with some casual conversation. Here are some good questions to use to break the ice:
"What's the wildest thing you've ever done with a guy?"
"What's your favorite place to be kissed?"
"What are you wearing?"
"What are you wearing underneath?"

A chastity belt. Go away.
Ding ding ding! Congratulations! Following these steps, you can be certain that The One Track you're on is the Fast Track to rejection! Never fear, however. Just because you've successfully scared off one female doesn't mean that there aren't many more out there, just waiting to be repulsed! In later posts, I'll be discussing the many more personas you can try on them, including The Speed Dater, The Bore, The Stalker in Training, and The Hopeless Romantic—Really Hopeless. If you get good, you can combine all these into one epochal interaction that will be sure to leave the girl's head spinning.

Ladies: Be That Girl

You know, that girl...the one he talks to all his friends about and shudders. You can do it. Just follow this simple guide.

So, you're not that enthusiastic about meeting him, but he hasn't been deterred by your lukewarm response when he talks to you. You've canceled one date already because you decided to take a spontaneous trip out of town. You've canceled another date, citing a "bad mood." You've expressed your trepidations about getting involved with someone who lives so far away from you. But he's persistent and hasn't broken any of the rules, so, lacking any better options, you allow him to meet you for a first date and then a second.

But on the middle of the second date, you're still dreaming of the love of your life who is someone else and wondering how you will escape this guy's determined grasp. You don't want to be that coldhearted ***** who ignores his phone calls, and you don't know how to express in words that it's not because he's ugly or gross or boring, but you just don't want to date him any more. What do you do? What do you do?

Well, when he tries to kiss you, let him for just a second, then tell him to stop. When he asks you why, start crying. When he tries to comfort you, cry harder. Apologize profusely for putting him in this position and berate yourself with gusto in between sobs. You may cease this behavior after 5-10 minutes. Even if he toughs out the date to the bitter end, you can rest assured that this will be the last. Be proud that you will go down in history as one of his most memorable dates ever.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Branching out in the Blogosphere

Over the years, I have been consumed by passions for various creative activities. As much as one can be "consumed" by one thing while trying to simultaneously engage in three or four other hobbies at the same time. Call me a Jack of all trades. Jacqueline.

During my formative years, I was a prolific writer of stories and poems and drawer of pictures. I dabbled in aromatherapy, cartooning, and crafts of all sorts. In college, I channeled all my creative energy into academic and extracurricular projects. After graduation, I toyed briefly with making a business out of making wreaths, concurrently discovering the joys of glass etching. I became and remain infatuated with blogging. For a while I was so fixated on web design that I made it my career, and once that ceased to be a hobby and became the daily grind instead, I became fascinated with DIY fashion.

Buying clothes at the thrift store and altering them to make them look cute became my new favorite pastime. I discovered the aesthetic potential of knee socks. After a lifetime of either playing the fashion pariah or assiduously blending into the crowd, I discovered I really could have a unique look and not be spurned for it. Some people even tell me I look good once in a while!

This fashion fascination has lasted a year and a half and is still going strong, so I think it's time I make something of it. Rather than let my wardrobe experiments fade into history, I am going to memorialize them with pictures! Best of all, this means a new outlet for my blogging infatuation.

I have started a new blog. Unlike the mixed bag of random thoughts that is Val's Galorious Galaxy, this one will focus exclusively on fashion. Or rather, a deliberate lack thereof. In my new blog, I'll share the numerous ways a cheapskate with a unique sense of style can create a distinctive look.

Visit it today! Enjoy, comment, and tell a friend!