Tuesday, January 30, 2007

picture this face on a valtrex commercial

There's a secret that I left off of my little list the other day...

I have had four--count 'em, four--sexual partners in my 21 years. All committed relationships, no one night stands or random hookups. On sexual partner #2, I contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

I'm the kind of girl who has to be taken out to dinner before giving up even a kiss. A girl with standards and big plans, who washes her hair regularly and never goes home with guys she just met. The kind of girl you bring home to your mom. And I have an STD.

This will stay with me all of my life. I take medication every day to reduce my chances of spreading it to others, and I'm honest with potential partners. Believe me, some of them have not been okay with it.

People are usually informed of this on a need-to-know basis, but recent events have led me to think maybe "need-to-know" could be a bit more loosely defined. Think of it as a public service announcement. Be careful who you stigmatize, folks, and wrap yourselves up, STD's aren't just for sluts anymore.

Monday, January 29, 2007

every eighteen minutes

I work at a suicide hotline. I talk about suicide every day. I'm used to it, I understand it. But when the issue suddenly surfaces in my life outside of work, it still seems just as shocking as before I had any training.

It appears as if one of Nick's friends tried to kill himself today. Nobody really knows for sure, because he's still unconscious and breathing on a ventilator, but it's pretty obvious that his wreck was no accident. I barely even know this guy, but it just seems so preposterous to me. He's really good looking, has a beautiful girlfriend he's been with forever, a college degree, a great job, lots of friends...it's such a glaring reminder that crisis can happen to anyone. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among people my age. In the United States, twice as many people die each year by suicide than homicide. Despite these outrageous statistics, it's largely ignored and stigmatized by the general public. It makes me very sad.

When I was in training, they told us that when a group of people who had actually survived jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge were interviewed, every single one of them said that at the moment when their feet left the bridge, they absolutely, positively, wanted to die. But by the time they hit the water, they'd changed their minds, and they were grateful to have survived. Jarod's in ICU now, fighting for his life. I hope he's one of the ones to wake up and feel happy to be alive.

UPDATE: Jarod died Thursday, 2/1/07.
“Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.”

Sunday, January 28, 2007

the secrets that I keep...

Copasetic Fish (WHO, by the way, is coming to VISIT ME for Mardi Gras! I'm so excited!) tagged me, so here are five things you don't know about me:

1. I grind my teeth when I sleep. I have no idea what exactly it is that I do with my jaw, I can't recreate the effect when I'm awake, but apparently it's loud enough to raise the dead.

2. I'm incredibly messy and disorganized. If it weren't for having a roommate, I'd have my crap strewn all over the apartment, and honestly, having a roommate only helps with that a little bit. My bedroom floor is covered in random crap and piles of clothes, the interior of my car is about six inches deep in papers, fast food packaging, and empty cigarette packs.

3. I have some credit card debt. I hid the card from myself and am working on paying the card off before I have to start paying student loans. I've got it down to about $1600.

4. I'm very self-conscious about my skin. I started getting acne when I was ten and struggled with it all through adolescence. I still have some problems with it, even though I think I should have outgrown it by now. I can manage it much better now than when I was younger.

5. My Christmas tree is still up, and will probably still be here for Mardi Gras. Last year, it was up through March. It seems so sad to take it down, and I'm lazy.

So, time to tag? Megan and Fisch, just to see if I can get him to post.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

should I stay or should I go now

A new semester has begun, my last one as an undergrad. The classes will be fairly easy, a good thing considering the kind of grades I need to make up for last semester. As graduation day draws near, I've been trying to figure out what exactly it is I'll be doing six months from now.

I go back and forth...school...work...school...work. I work at school, I learn at work...The options seem rather similar to me, except one pays me and the other I have to pay for.

There's an element of uncertainty to taking some time off before grad school. Will I get a good job with just a BA? What will I be doing, will the people be nice, will the work be meaningful to me? On the other hand, I know a lot of people who are in or who have graduated from LSU's MSW program; I know I'll get in, and I know what to expect once I get there.

But man, I am just so sick of school. Sick of racking up student loans, mostly, now that I think about it...

My love affair with Literature has been over for some time now; it's deteriorated into a marriage of convenience. I've been cheating on my major of choice with electives in sociology and communication for at least three semesters. F. Scott Fitzgerald doesn't even know that I've left him for Merton. But alas, dear Literature and I both know that it'll all be coming to an end in May, and I may as well put aside my dissatisfaction with my previous educational experience and look forward with optimism to a field of study I'm more likely to enjoy and appreciate: Social Work, also known as "Saving the World".

Today I'm feeling more like going to grad school. Tomorrow I may change my mind. My application's due in less than a month, so I better settle on one soon.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

saving the world is killing me

Thanks so much e. for the comment and the link, it means a lot to me, and that really is exactly what I've been thinking about for the past few days.

I talked with my counselor about this yesterday. She did some math and told me that I'm essentially working a 57 hour week right now. I really don't want to stop any of the things that I do, so the solution is for me to manage it better. I've got a bit of a plan and I'm pretty excited about it.

I think it's just important for me to remember that I have a right to a life led for me. I've always thought that if I'm capable of doing something, and I have the opportunity to do it, then I should, and that's just not true. Just because I'm able to do something doesn't mean that I have to, or that if I don't do it nobody else will. And if I don't make time to take care of myself, I won't be saving the world much longer. I'll be turning tricks to pay for my psych meds.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

philanthropy and inner peace

I was talking with a friend tonight over martinis, and I started thinking that...from where I am now, I don't think I can ever go back.

I've come to think of my time and my money as political power--some small little bit of influence that I can use to enact change. I don't shop at Wal-Mart anymore--June 10, 2006, was my last monetary donation to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.--I bring my business to locally owned establishments whenever I can, I bust my ass building a program to get homeless kids off the streets, and walk around the ghetto looking for them without a second thought. Even my job, the one that pays, is all about improving the lives of others.

But it certainly takes a toll. Imagine yourself trying to have an orgasm, but you just can't clear your fucking mind of wondering where those danged homeless kids are hanging out, and how to tell the difference between them and regular kids, and maybe you didn't do your best in that suicide call earlier today, and damnit you should have sent that email before you went to bed tonight, and are you sure you're not a bad person for still getting your prescriptions from Walgreen's since they're putting all the local guys out of business? And you still feel guilty for not helping the AIDS orphans in Africa.

I'm a firm believer in never doing nothing because I can only do a little. I will do what I can--all that I can--and leave the rest to other people to fix. I'm not dropping anything. I don't think I've taken on too much, I just need to work on using all of my potential, and part of that is knowing when to put it all to bed. So, what? No more work after 9pm? No more working on weekends? Time spent relaxing isn't really relaxed if my mind's still racing. I tell callers who are in caregiver roles how important it is to take care of yourself so that you can be there for others. Time to take my own advice.

I don't know what this post is really all about. I just know that I really can't orgasm the way I used to, and I really do struggle to shut my mind off at night. I don't think I should have to cease any of my activities to get back my sex life or my good night's sleep. And I'm all about problem solving, so I'm just gonna have to find a way around it--making sure "me" time really is about me. I started by ordering a second martini.

Monday, January 08, 2007

managed care covered insight

Between me and them, I know at least one of us has got to be crazy, and I decided I was ready to find out once and for all whether it's me.

So today was my first step in unraveling the dysfunctional familial dynamic that seems to unexplicably bring me to tears any time I'm compelled to discuss it. I learned a thing or two this afternoon about passivity. I've known somewhere inside for a while that the solution lies not in "fixing" them, or trying to change the things that they do, or telling them over and over and over again how I feel. I've been using "I" language like a pro, delicately expressing my feelings in a manner designed to minimize conflict, hoping that they'll hear what I'm saying clearly and rationally, but it just doesn't work. And no matter how much the experts say it's an effective mode of resolving conflict, if it doesn't work with them, it doesn't work, and I've got to move on to something new.

I've got to stop bitching about how it's not fair, it's not healthy, it should be different, and just work around it. I can't fix them. I can't change them. They're going to do and say whatever they want, whether I think it's right or not. If I ever want any peace, I've got to stop whining and be the bigger person. Even if it not fair.

Friday, January 05, 2007

no seriously, this really happened

Ya know, I was just thinking last night how nothing particularly noteworthy has happened in my life over the past few weeks, at least not anything I'm willing to put on the internet. And then, mere hours after my boring post was published, real disaster struck. The kind of thing that inspires nervous adolescents to whisper urban legends--sexual, painful, traumatizing, and most certainly worthy of placing on the internet.

It all started with a little trim in the shower. I must admit I'm responsible for the progression from scissors and a razor to lotion hair remover. I thought it would be more efficient, and as always, I disregarded the label as irrelevant and overrated. However, it seems I may have missed a few bits of important information on the label, mainly being the capitalized warnings to NOT RUB IN, and the caution against placing on any kind of genital area (come on, if they don't want you putting that stuff on the genitals, it's basically worthless). Next thing I know, Nick is screaming bloody murder, pushing me out of the way so he can get his balls under the water, and before long I'm on the phone with Poison Control: "Those products are generally very alkaline and should never be applied to that area [yeah, does me a lot of good now, bitch]. He probably has a chemical burn. You need to get him to an ER right away."

I stood in the bathroom door looking at him, still lying on his back in the shower, and knew that I would rather have my fingers dipped in acid than take him to the hospital for this. I could just imagine his mother, a nurse, demanding to know why I could be so stupid as to put lotion hair remover on her son's testicles. He was still carrying on about the excruciating pain he was in, and the aloe I'd tried applying had only worsened an already nightmarish scenario, so I decided to seek a second opinion. I went ahead and called the hospital, telling my story to various healthcare professionals until finally they put a doctor on the phone, who asked me several questions about the condition of the balls. Apparently I wasn't answering to Nick's satisfaction, because by then he'd mustered the courage to get out of the shower and grab the phone from my hand. The doctor said that since there was no blistering, swelling, or bleeding, just a lot of redness, he'd be okay in the long run, and he'd feel a lot better if he applied some vaseline to it.

And what have we learned from this tale, boys and girls? Don't apply beauty store chemical products to any area you'd be embarrassed to show your mom. You don't want to end up the guy bringing his balls into the emergency room.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

insert witty title

I've taken the Myers-Briggs several times in my life, always promptly forgetting my results as soon as I get them, but I took it again the other day just out of curiosity, and it was freakishly accurate. I'm an ENFP. There were two links to descriptions at the end of the test, one of which listed pretty much everything I like to think about myself. The other one, with a disclaimer at the top reading, "The following comes partially from the archetype, but mostly from my own dealings with ENFPs," was written by someone who is obviously not a fan of folks like me. One phrase, in particular, was straight out of my mother's mouth, accusing me of "neglecting [my] nearest and dearest while flitting around trying to save the world."

Whatev. Saving the world's going pretty well for me these days. I'm getting back into the swing of things after the holidays, with meetings and web conferences and outreach sessions all lined up for my last two weeks of semi-freedom before classes start again. We were supposed to go out to the streets today, wandering the bad side of town handing out information to store clerks and posting fliers in mall bathrooms in hopes of making contact with the oh-so-elusive homeless youth population that we can't seem to get our hands on (they work pretty hard to be invisible so they don't get picked up and taken back to abusive homes, which makes them tough for us to find). But alas, it's been raining all day, so we couldn't go. No way am I asking my volunteers to go tredging through the ghetto in a thunderstorm.

And, of course I must mention the fact that I went to the Sugar Bowl yesterday, and it was awesome. I went down Tuesday night, got a horrible night's sleep in a hotel on Canal Street (I paid nothing for the room, so I can't really complain that the others were obnoxiously drunk and kept me up all night), ate the best Eggs Benedict I've ever had in my life in the French Quarter, and had more than a few beers at The Bar That Never Closed During Katrina, then headed over, drunk off my ass, to the Superdome to watch my beloved Tigers beat the piss out of Notre Dame. It was bittersweet, as it's the last game I'll ever attend as a student, or as an undergrad at least, but I'm so glad it was in New Orleans and I was able to go, and I had a lot of fun.