I’m being sarcastic.
I just purchased a gorgeous new pair of sterling silver earrings yesterday at a local piercing shop that I’d been eyeing for almost three years.
I took them out before I went to bed last night and set them on my nightstand. This morning I woke up to discover that the parts that had been touching my ears and the little bit of skin behind my ears had already tarnished. So I asked my trusty friend google and discovered that one of the main causes of silver tarnish (after humidity… and I’ve no shortage of that) is hydrogen sulfide, aka sulfur gas. Now, I’m not a particularly gassy person, but I also read that people who eat a lot of acidic foods sometimes generate more hydrogen sulfide. I started wondering if there was something especially sulfuric in my diet. Had I been eating more garlic than usual? Was this a weird side effect of the Plaquenil? What was wrong with me?! Then I asked myself: “but why don’t my silver rings tarnish like this? Maybe because I wash my hands a lot?” And BINGO: The answer is that I use a (non-smelly) sulfur-based soap to control inflammation of the skin on my face, neck, chest, and back. I’m literally rubbing my earrings with sulfur every time I wear them.
Mystery solved. I guess it’s time to invest in some Tarn-X.
Hello blog, sorry I’ve been away. Life got in the way and suddenly it’s three weeks later with no updates. I was busy teaching while you were just lounging around the pool, I’m sure. Or whatever it is that blogs do when they’re not being attended by their creators.
I spent the last three weeks teaching in a program for gifted teens. It was both amazing and exhausting. And reminded me why I don’t teach middle school or high school during the rest of the year. Most teenage boys have so little impulse control it’s comical.
In some ways, it was good for me to keep busy. My uncle died suddenly of a heart attack a few weeks ago, so I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about living purposefully and not taking anything for granted. On the one hand, I think being chronically ill makes me more aware and more appreciative of everything that’s going on in my life, but there are some times when it just feels like I’m enduring my life until something changes. Granted, when it comes to my health, I don’t always have the power to change it, or the change will come slowly, if at all. (I’ve been through enough cognitive behavioral therapy to be convinced of the power of positive thinking, but there are limits to what the human body can do and feel in any given situation). What I need to avoid is taking that sort of “endurance” mentality and applying it to other things that are within my power to change. I don’t have to spend time with people I dislike, or who make me feel less-than. I don’t have to make and honor commitments that other people try to pressure me to make when my gut tells me “no.”
In other news, this relentless heat (and its accompanying $180 power bill) does not make me happy. I can’t remember the last day it didn’t hit the low 90s. While my arthritis tends to do better in the heat, nothing else does. Well, no chillblains either, but there’s plenty more to worry about. I’ve been coating myself in sunscreen every day before I leave the house, but even that doesn’t seem to be enough to keep me from reacting to casual sun exposure (driving to work, walking from one building to another). I have a lovely rash all over my chest and shoulders that looks like acne. I almost wish it were acne– at least then it might respond to something other than steroids.
Several days ago, a friend sent me a link to this smart blog post, a response to an article in the Wall Street Journal that suggests most YA novels are “rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity” that doesn’t reflect the reality of teens’ lives, and that parents, teachers, and librarians should actively seek to prevent teens from reading these books.
There’s been lots of comment drama at the Hairpin today in response to this article on breast reduction surgery. I haven’t been in the position of the author, but I’m kind of tired of all the supposedly “feminist” hand-wringing over body modifications. I’m lucky to be comfortable with what the genetic lottery gave me (plus my ink and a couple piercings), but a lot of people don’t feel that way. (I’ll admit that in the past I’ve made a few less-than-generous comments about other people’s breast augmentations. Sorry.) But it isn’t just “blah blah the media is evil,” “blah blah ‘normal’ is bad.” The complexities of identity deserve more than that. And all this rhetoric of “accept yourself as you are” (aka “natural is better,” whateverthefuck that means) so easily slides into totally unreflexive transphobia. I think that’s the part that’s really heartbreaking to me. Can’t we just come to terms with the fact that some people are utterly (and often miserably) alienated from the bodies they were born into, whether that’s something as simple (ha!) as breasts, or as complex as gender?
P.S. You can have my smoking hot body and perky boobs but you get lupus to go with it. Deal?
Well, OK, maybe just a short one. It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, but the microbloggery of facebook and twitter just aren’t cutting it these days. Maybe I just need an outlet while I’m writing my dissertation. I’ll let you know when I figure that one out.
I always struggle with the “where to start” question when it comes to narrative projects, autobiographical or otherwise. But you don’t need to know my life story for any of this to matter, so I’ll start with the thought that made me want to start blogging again, and hope that’s enough.
The other day I tagged myself in a photo a friend had taken me at a costume party a couple months ago. It’s a great photo of me, and I like it. But as friends– especially friends who don’t live here, and/or who haven’t seen me in a long time– started to post compliments, it began to make me uncomfortable. It’s only recently that I’ve started to really feel comfortable in my own skin. And while I recognize that I’m conventionally attractive in most of the “right” ways, it really took until my late 20s before I was able to see myself that way. I always saw myself as quirky and off-kilter, unconventional and interesting. Not attractive. But now, in my early 30s, I’m in possibly the best shape of my life, and I look good. And I’m finally able to see that. I won some genetic lottery that makes me tall, thin, and well-proportioned. I don’t want to be the kind of woman who can’t take a compliment. But there’s a huge caveat to all of this. (Isn’t there always?) It’s false advertising. And I do mean beyond the hair extensions and the fake eyelashes in this particular picture (which may make me sound like a drag queen, but I swear it’s no different than the average cosmetics ad– that new mascara will not make your eyelashes look like that unless you’re using glue, trust me). I’m down to the size I was when I was in college– or maybe junior year of high school, even– but it has very little to do with willpower, diet, exercise, or self-denial. Having defined triceps for the first time in my life? Well, I’ll take some credit for the yoga that made that possible. But the rest? Chronic illness. And it’s a magic bullet I cannot recommend.