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Tiny hairs and pimples

As a teenager, I was fortunate not to have to worry much about acne. Sure, I got pimples. But there was never a time when I needed to buy Noxzema in bulk, and my version of oily skin could often by remedied with a little soap and water.

I have good skin. People compliment me on it. And despite the fact that I can’t accept compliments very graciously, this is one I can get behind. “What’s your secret?” they ask me. “Good genes,” I reply. I admit to very few people that all I’ve ever used to wash my face is Dove sensitive skin soap. A couple of years ago I began using a very simple scrub from Burt’s Bees, but only once a week. I rarely even remove my makeup at night before bed.

Thanks to hormones and my tendency to rub French fries on my forehead (not really, but I may as well because I touch my face so much) I’d successfully grow one pimple about every 3-4 months, and it’d last about 2-3 days. They were small enough that probably only I ever noticed. A little bit of a cover-up stick I kept on hand for these moments, and voila! Smooth skin remains.

And then, suddenly, like a dark shadow looming in the corner of an old, rickety house, blemishes began to appear on a regular basis. It started about 3 months ago, and now, out of nowhere, I have been getting one pimple after another.

Ugly ones, too. And they hurt like a bitch. And I never learned how to properly pop a pimple as a teenager because it was never necessary, and so now here I am, 32 years old, wondering why Mother Nature decided to flip me off, and thinking maybe I’d prefer wrinkles to this. Isn’t that what women my age should be more worried about? Why is it that I’m stuck looking like the before shot of a ProActive commercial instead of considering my future in Botox?

Meanwhile, my hairline has decided to embark on an outpouring of teeny, tiny little hairs, growing ever so slowly, framing my face in such a way that makes all hairstyles look unkempt. I may as well be headed to prom instead of to the store for more boxes of Ms Clairol like the rest of the women my age are doing.

Apparently it’s all a crapshoot. But congrats to me on the no wrinkles or gray hair yet.

That time my gallbladder decided to be a little bitch

I experienced a “gallbladder attack” for the first time in March. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I knew it was one of the most painful things I’d ever experienced. Since then, I had 5 or 6 more attacks — all of them kept me awake literally all night and included vomiting and fits of sobbing.

I changed my diet as the weeks went by, but at first, none of the tests proved that the gallbladder was for sure the culprit, so I was basically guessing. In May, I went to the ER twice. The first time, I finally just walked out when it was taking too damn long (“eloped,” they call it). The second time, the idiot doctor claimed it was just stress because I started crying while he was asking me questions. He released me when he decided it wasn’t a heart attack, despite the fact that I was still reeling from pain and would spend the next 5 hours at home doubled over.


My worst thing

I’m pretty hard on myself. Anybody who’s gotten even a little bit close to me knows this fact, and understands it about me. It isn’t always easy to deal with; sometimes I project these emotions on to others and being hard on myself translates into being hard on everyone around me. But mostly, I’m just hard on myself.

Because of this, it can be difficult for me to accurately determine the level of severity of my worst qualities. Just like everyone else, I make bad choices.


Something for the books

Natalie MainesLast night I had the incredible opportunity to attend Natalie Maines’ very first solo show. Having been a fan of the Dixie Chicks for years and calling the band one of my top five all-time favorites, I was ecstatic to go and check out this new venture. And it was a sight to behold. Maines has very clearly shed the chains of country music and dipped – no, dunked – her way into a fabulous little rocker-chick genre. She belted out beautiful words of Patty Griffin and Jeff Buckley, alongside Ben Harper – a soulful singer in his very own right, to understate it – and each song sent chills up my spine. I stood there, a mere inches away from this amazing woman, thinking about how I couldn’t wait to just immerse myself into this album and obsessively listen to it over and over again.

But while this experience was one I’ll never forget, it comes with a quiet but definite dark shadow.

For much of the ride from Anaheim to West Hollywood and during the half hour we waited for the show to begin, I fought a panic attack. During the show, in between moments of awe were moments of what felt like pure insanity. How could you want to flee from this so badly? I questioned myself. Stop being a pussy and just deal with this! I screamed. My body shook with discomfort. My heart beat a million miles per hour and sweat danced an ugly, frizz-inducing dance with my hairline. At times I would calm, but noticing the calm sent me nervously back into panic mode.

At the end of the only hour-long show, I breathed a sigh of relief. As many times as I wanted to run for the door, I didn’t. (Possibly, it’s that I couldn’t; the crowd had all but blocked me in after a couple of songs, which was part of what made me so anxious.) Still, I survived. Because, really, what’s not to survive?

There’s never a convenient time for a panic attack, anxiety or even just general nervousness. Still, it always seems to come at the very most inopportune times; I often find myself peering into other peoples’ eyes, other peoples’ spaces, wondering how they could be so normal while I am feeling so … not normal. But I survive. Every time. And the more I do, the easier surviving the next time becomes. So at least there’s that.