Category Archives: My Opinions on STUFF

Probably reviews on books and movies. Maybe thoughts on video games. Who knows. I’ve already got a whole slew of book reviews up on Goodreads, so maybe just general things that entertained me. Or maybe this is where I’ll go all ranty and stuff. This is like the catch-all place for stuff that doesn’t fit anywhere else.

I stand with Planned Parenthood

I need to say something about Planned Parenthood. I’ve seen many friends in my Facebook feed re-posting both meme-d opinions and non-factual information against Planned Parenthood. I know that I can’t change their thoughts on the clinic but I do feel that maybe I can help them understand what Planned Parenthood is and what it means to people.

I think these friends, they probably never needed services from this particular healthcare provider. I’m not talking about abortion services, I mean any of the services.

There are many websites that give Planned Parenthood’s statistics. You can look them up. This post isn’t a fact-giving essay and I’m not here to argue politics or numbers. This is an anecdote. It’s my story, my reason for supporting this place that helped me get to where I am today.

My mom used to tell me that I was the reason she didn’t have a college degree. On her bad days, she let me know that I had kept her from fulfilling her dreams simply by being born. Yes, as an adult, I can understand why she said things like that when she did. She’s just a human, she was a frustrated woman who had children she maybe shouldn’t have had, children who had been thrust upon her and I mean that literally. None of us were by choice and three of us were by coercion at the very least.  I don’t imagine it’s easy dealing with a passel of offspring you never wanted.

She told me she would have aborted me had it been an option. I think she said something similar to all of us. She would have aborted Chris and Noelle only her husband wouldn’t have let her. She had to go to the doctor to find out if she needed to abort Bedot because having Noelle had nearly killed her and she needed to know if she was facing the possibility of leaving three kids with a less-than-nice father should she not survive the pregnancy. The doctor said they’d get her through it so she didn’t have to choose between one child and three others. Yay. Still, abortion had played a role in each of her pregnancies, if only as a background thought.

Maybe I’m airing dirty laundry; this isn’t exactly my part of the story to tell. However, I think it’s important because that knowledge is what informed my own later decisions.

For instance, I didn’t have sex until I was married, at least not the type of sex that leads to pregnancy or STDs. I was incredibly responsible with my body because I had a plan: I wanted to go to college and get a job and support myself. That was my goal. I would be the first woman in my family to do that and it was important to me. As I understood it, given my mother’s story, I wouldn’t be able to do that if I got knocked up and the easiest way to prevent babies is to not have sex at all.


I was in college when I married the first time. I didn’t have health insurance. I was working two jobs and going to school and planning a wedding. I didn’t have any spare cash and certainly nothing in my savings account. I was poor. However, my soon-to-be husband had been sexually active prior to our relationship and, being the responsible young lady I was, there was no way I was going to let his bodily fluids into my bodily cavity without him getting checked first. More important, though, was birth control.

I know there are those who feel women should not have access to birth control. But let me tell you, abstinence isn’t much of an option on one’s wedding night. For many couples, it’s not an option inside the marriage at all. I didn’t want a child and I didn’t want abstinence so birth control was my choice.

My fiance’s choice was the same. He wasn’t ready to be a father. That was a responsibility that neither of us wanted while we were young and full of plans for buying a house and getting ahead in the game.

I need to back up for a moment.

When i was 15, I started having migraines, the kind that make you black out and throw up, the kind that send shock waves of pain through your whole head and your neck and your shoulders just because you took a breath. The kind that make you need to kill yourself to get rid of the pain.

Mom took me to the doctor and the doctor decided the only way to manage this head torture was to put me on the pill. I didn’t want to go on the pill because 1) I wasn’t sexually active ; 2) my period was just beginning to normalize and I didn’t want to mess with it ; 3) I understood that my hormones were completely out of control but that they needed to do what they were doing and that trying to force them to do something else at that point was probably stupid, maybe dangerous.

But it wasn’t my decision.

So I had my first PAP smear at 15 and my doctor, a woman, was violent about it, bordering on cruel. I already had hangups about sex so having someone wield their sharpened fencing sword inside my vagina and uterus was both painful and horrifying.

You might be able to empathize with the terror I felt knowing that I would go in willingly and let someone hurt me again simply so that I could get birth control pills so that I would not have a baby so that I could go on and earn my degree so that I could get a job and become a contributing member of society.

But maybe you can’t. Maybe none of that makes sense.

Regardless, I scheduled a PAP smear for me and I scheduled testing for my fiance so that we could both enter our marriage feeling safe and secure in our sexual congress.

Of course, I remember that day well. The woman at the intake desk was young and brusque and unpleasant. My fiance was in and out in no time and he left to go do whatever he was going to do that day, probably work. I sat in the waiting room alone and waited. I tried to do homework but I was terribly nervous. The woman at the desk was glaring at me. I was scared, intimidated. Would the doctor be mean? Would it hurt as badly this time as it had last time?

No. The answer to those questions were no. There was a nurse and a doctor in attendance, both female. They were kind. They were supportive. They understood that I was there now so that I would not have to go in later to make use of their other services because, yes, I do believe that I would have strongly considered abortion had I gotten pregnant at 20 during my junior year of college. I suspect my then-husband would have driven me to the appointment. That is how badly we did not want children. These women understood my fear. They understood the judgement I had put myself through just to enter their clinic. They were lighthearted about the whole procedure, they made me laugh and assured me I was doing what was best for my body and my future. It was just a PAP smear and some pills but to me, it was my first step to taking control of my life.


This is why the clinic is called Planned Parenthood. It’s so you can plan to be a parent when the time is right for you. It allows people – people who don’t have access to nice OBGyn offices, people who are ashamed and worried that their family and friends may see them at their own doctor’s offices getting birth control to keep from reproducing, people who don’t want to find a doctor for wellness exams or STD tests, people who are young and who are scared, people like me – to PLAN their futures, their family’s futures.

Why is that bad?

I used Planned Parenthood throughout that first marriage. It’s where I got my birth control. It’s where I got my annual check-ups. They were the only doctors I saw for over five years. Planned Parenthood kept me healthy, and not just sexually. If I had laryngitis when I went in, they prescribed something to help me get better. If I seemed stressed over school, over my new marriage, over the death of my grandmother, they told me I had to take care of myself. They told me to drink more water, to take vitamins, to try to let everything go even if only for five minutes a day, to make room for helping myself heal. These people took care of me, better care of me than I would have at that time. Better care of me than my husband or my family or his family did.

After I divorced and I started dating, every time I became serious about a new relationship, I went to Planned Parenthood. He could get a check-up and so could I. Peace of mind, health of body, and all at an affordable price.

I got my college degree. I got jobs. I have a career and another degree. I’ve traveled the world. I am remarried. I bought my own car. I have friends, family, cats and a dog and some fish. I have a house. I’ve succeeded. I met my goals and I’ve had to make new ones.

I have healthcare now. I have access to a lot of services I probably couldn’t have received at Planned Parenthood, such as my Essure implants and my Novasure procedure. I have an OBGyn whom I adore; she’s incredible.

I don’t have children because I chose not to and I 100% fully realize I was able to make and follow that choice because of Planned Parenthood. 

I’m not going to get into an argument over Planned Parenthood selling fetuses and baby heads on the sly or whatever other awful thing media has accused them of doing because there’s an election year coming up. I don’t believe they’ve done anything illegal but you might. You have your sources and I’ve got mine. I haven’t fact-checked mine and I doubt you’ve fact-checked yours, either. Face it. We’re lazy and we want to be fed that which will rile us up or make us cry or make us laugh and we want it in short bursts over the internet. We’re not going to do any deep digging into this and that’s on us. I’m not willing to bolster my defenses so I can’t take you on since I have nothing backing me. I suspect you’re in the same position.

However, I can stand here and tell you that Planned Parenthood is not the evil corporation you may think it is. I’ve had plenty of experience with them and I can unequivocally state that the doctors I encountered there helped me, took care of me, were compassionate and kind. They are there for people who can’t afford or may not have access to healthcare, otherwise, and it seems that would be an important component of society, no matter your personal beliefs.

All I ask is that you please think of your friends and maybe your family who have benefited from their services before you vilify Planned Parenthood on your social media sites. You might be condemning something that has helped people you love.

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I want to marry Peggy Carter AND be her, too.

Marvel has done something – yes, I’m going to say it – Marvelous.

Agent Carter.

Agent Carter

Comic book stories are big again, which is both wonderful and miserable. Comic books are fun, imaginative, and let us be bigger than we are for a little while. However, they’re also trite, rife with racism, sexism, genderism, and many other social ills, and they make for some sucky movies.

Of course, there is the manga/anime craze and indie graphic novels are becoming TV shows  and films, but the biggest two providers of comic book entertainment are DC and Marvel.

From where I’m sitting, I see Marvel pulling ahead and creating an exciting, dynamic, and often family-friendly multiverse. This latter part is important because it allows grown up comic book geeks to share something they love with their children. DC? They’re making poor decisions, which is a shame because their characters are generally better known, or, at least, always have been. That’s probably about to change.

I’ve got a passing familiarity with the comic worlds and I would have considered myself a DC girl but only because I’ve had their Big 3 in my sights since I was a tot. I mean, I grew up watching Superfriends. I had a Wonder Woman doll and coveted my cousin’s Batman doll. The Flash was my imaginary friend for a long time. It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I learned about Marvel via Spider-Man and then, later, X-Men. DC has always been on my radar whereas Marvel was just out there, wandering around, sometimes in my line of sight and mostly not.

Now Marvel belongs to Disney and Disney owns ABC and they’re putting everything together to create one big story using the same actors and storylines across the board, from TV to movies to the comic books. That’s seriously cool, especially for A-Types like me who love continuity and consistency.

Disney has employed its legendary magic on Marvel, that’s for sure. They’ve got all these giant movies with big names that bring in lotsa bucks every summer. While I’m neither a Hulk nor Thor fan (yes, of course I love Loki. How can you not love Loki? That smirky face, his flippy hair, the irresistably cute evilness), I do enjoy Iron Man and Captain America and I loved the Avengers. I’ve seen most of the movies and we’ve started watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well.

But Agent Carter is something special. The show is a bridge. Marvel has given us, the not comic geeks, a gift that will bring us into the fold (or at least, make us hate the fold less), handing over someone to love from the ground up. Peggy Carter is merely a blip in the comic world, not fully introduced until the first Captain America movie. According to Gabe, who is a comic book geek, The Cap has been known to date one Sharon Carter (the blonde “neighbor” in Winter Soldier is named Sharon, as Gabe likes to point out all the freaking time) but there has never been a real Peggy Carter…until now.

Marvel made her for us. And us = women who aren’t steeped in the Marvel universe lore.

Agent Carter 2

There is so much to love about this woman.

First, she’s classy and wears fantastic shoes.

Peggy Carter 2

Second, and more important, she’s a normal woman. She’s not all wispy and willowy or Jillian Michaels buff. She’s not even blonde (not that blonde is abnormal) She’s a standard woman and who is really good at her job and happens to be pretty. She’s relatable. She could be someone we know, she could be our co-worker, neighbor, or friend. She could be me. (No, not really. I’m making a point, not being delusional)

In addition, she kicks ass. Seriously, she’s a scrapper when beating up or outsmarting the bad (and good!) guys and she does it in such a zingy way, I feel safer walking to my car at night. To see a normal woman beat the crap out of a man’s face with a stapler, it kind of makes me feel like, yeah, I really could fight for myself if I had to. She makes me feel stronger by showing me what a smart, confident, capable woman looks like.

Peggy Carter 3

But she’s not a robot, she’s not the cold, calculating agent. She has feelings. She cries when her friend is shot. She faces hard choices and agonizes over the possible outcomes. She is frustrated by the narrow-mindedness she faces at work and the sexism she sees directed toward her female friends. She has a heart, she’s compassionate, and she wants to do all the right things to make the world a good place. She’s not just Steve Roger’s widowed girlfriend, she is Captain America, herself, with good shoes and a dash of soft snark.

But the best thing about Peggy Carter? She’s mine. She didn’t belong to someone else, first. She doesn’t have an origin story that the comic book readers know and I don’t; she was merely a bit character in the background of a few issues. Gabe and I are on ground level with her, we both have to learn her together and I don’t have to hear all his Marvel knowlege regarding this character and that device and the other thing, too. Yes, there are those little Easter eggs, some of them tying into the comics and some to the movies, but they’re minor. The story, Peggy and her team, they are beginners and we’re all starting down this road together.

Yeah, I’m a fan.

Marvel’s been doing a great job with women, much better than DC. I like the current iteration of Black Widow. She’s awesome.

Black Widow

I really love Melinda May. She is phenomenal and I wish I were that tough and that I had her quintessential superhero stance.

Melinda May

Sidenote: My favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. baddie is also a woman. And if she’s not all villainous anymore, don’t tell me. I haven’t made it to Season 2, yet.

Raina

But my most-favorite Marvel hero? It’s Agent Margaret “Peggy” Carter. I love her so much, I might just start reading comics again.

Peggy Carter 1

Marvel? I need merchandise. I have money for all your Agent Carter gear. Get on that, ok?

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Promises, tears, and magic

Remember back when I won a book on Goodreads and it led to me accidentally working with an author?

On May 13th, that manuscript, the one I got to read and puzzle over and love – it was published.

Suzy (I call her that cuz we’re tight, remember?) and I probably shot pieces of this book back and forth over the course of four or five months? Let’s call it six because that makes it sound like we did half a year’s worth of hard work and let me tell you, writing is hard work. She’s a total hack-n-slasher; she’ll remove entire sections, if necessary, in order to make her story go the right way. It’s like she is all the forces of nature wreaking havoc upon her poor characters but the result is amazing. In turn, her early readers are like FEMA workers in that they have to see what the lay of the land looks like after the restructuring. We’re responsible for testing the new spots, making sure everything fits together, sometimes reading the same thing over and over again. It’s a lot of work and I don’t think I’ve enjoyed or taken as seriously any other project in my entire grown-up life.

Anyhow, when time was up and she had to relinquish her baby to the publishing house, she told me I’d been a big help. I don’t know how much I believed her – my opinions are only opinions, after all – but it was nice to hear nonetheless. She reaffirmed she was going to put me in the acknowledgements, something she’d said a million times already, but this time she said I would be first. Again, I don’t know that I fully believed her because I know I get overly-enthusiastic about stuff from time to time and make promises only to forget them later. She asked me how I wanted my name to appear and if I wanted her to say anything specific. I said I wanted my full name because I’m vain and no one would be able to doubt it was me she was acknowledging but, otherwise, she could say whatever she wanted. Then I promptly forgot about all of this. Well, not forgot but it sort of went to my background consciousness.

As the publication date drew closer, I started hyping the book to co-workers, friends, and family, using the “You should buy this book because I’ll be in the acknowledgements” line but even then, I don’t think I really knew what that meant until April 18th when Suzy announced on Facebook that the pre-order was live and that if you went to Amazon and did the “Look inside!” trick, you’d see the people she’d tagged in the acknowledgements. I did as instructed and then died.

Talk about making good on promises.

People, when you say you’re going to do something, do it big like Suzanne Palmieri. I cannot tell you what this did to me (but I’m going to anyway).

Here’s the book:

Go get this book. If this isn't your kind of story, buy it as a gift for someone else. Just go get it.

Go get this book. If this isn’t your kind of story, buy it as a gift for someone else. Just go get it.

And here’s the Acknowledgements page which is right at the beginning:

Yes. That's me. The very first acknowledgement, just as promised.

Yes. That’s me. The very first acknowledgement, just as promised.

Not only am I first, but I have my own sentence. Two of them, actually. If you read the book, you’ll appreciate the sweetness of “shine,” too.

When I saw this, I cried. Not pretty little tears trickling down my cheek at a beautiful pace. No, it was the out-n-out snotty nose, puffy eyes cry, the Ugly Cry. You would think ugly-crying would not be the proper response to finding out you were mentioned with gratitude in a book and got a place of honor surrounded by swirly, lovely words but the thing is, not only had I not been expecting something this big, this special, but about ten days earlier, I had found out my mom has cancer and I’d been in a bad place ever since. So seeing this was a gift, a hug, a bit of love on the wind coming to give me comfort during a turbulent bit of life. Yes, of course, part of my joy was centered around my vanity – who doesn’t want to see her name in print, right? But it was more than that, two things more, to be precise.

One: My mother was going to be able to see this before she dies. I owe her and her mother, ZZ, credit for my reading addiction. Because they showed me how to love words, my name gets to live with words. My mom always wanted to be a novelist but never got around to it. I think she has the same hope for me but even if I never make it, this is close. I loved seeing her smile when I gave her this book and she read those words. I can keep that with me forever.

Two: Praise is a wonderful thing but, for me, it’s what’s behind the praise that means the most. I know that I helped Suzy, that I gave her a piece of me and she was able to weave my thoughts and suggestions into her story, that she was able to take what we all gave her and she made something that was already good into something absolutely…well…magical.

I feel the shine. Can’t you?

The Witch of Belladonna Bay is available at Barnes & Noble, Target, Amazon, and other fine book retailers or you can order it through your local bookstore. Can’t buy it? Try the library!

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“I hate mommy”: A prelude to Mother’s Day

I’ve written, a time or two, about my horrible mother and the awful things she did to us (like lying about bread and telling us the bug museum was boring) Seriously, our childhoods were so miserable, so Annie-like, that Chris, in a fit of anger at being sent to his room for punishment, scrawled “I hate mommy” in mad black crayon of newly-learned letters on the back of his dresser. Mom discovered this act of rebellion years later when we were moving to a new house and she thought it was funny. She told all her friends and they all laughed because they were probably also heartless, evil people.

I recently had the opportunity to play Mom, which is like playing dress-up only with more responsibility, for a week. Noelle’s husband took her to Las Vegas for her birthday and I stayed in their house with their children and their diabetic cat and made sure no one died. Because, really, if you boil it down to the very basics, a parent’s job is to make sure no one dies. I totally rocked that job but in doing so, I had to reminisce on my own early life, had to remember the lessons doled out by my own awful parent in order to pass along wisdom and essential knowledge (such as: if you don’t do your homework, you can’t go outside and play with your friends)

All that thinking led to a shocking realization: while my mother was obviously abusive and mean, she sort of did a really good job at raising her kids. It took me this long to see that not only did we NOT die while in her care, but we can also do a ton of things that many of our peers don’t do. We’re a tough little pack of white-trash, redneck hooligans who can garden, preserve food, pluck chickens, cook food, balance a checkbook, budget a household, mend broken animals, whip out witty/scathing one-liners like we have hundreds to spare, overuse our vast imaginations, completely ignore trends and fashions and look good doing it, read, laugh at ourselves (and everyone else), and stand up for ourselves. We can do these things because we’ve been doing them since we were the ages Noelle’s kids are now. Back then, we also had to make our own lunches, clean the dinner dishes, wash and fold our own clothing, buy our own toiletries, entertain ourselves and a bunch of other crap that was supposed to teach us responsibility and self-reliance, though I don’t think that’s why we did those things. I think it was because Mom got tired of doing stuff for four rotten urchins and told us to learn to take care of ourselves. And we did. And we can. Because our mother taught us how.

Also – we are all very classy because we are apples who have fallen way too close to the tree.

Classy lady - Mom

Classy mother is classy.

Classy lady - Daughter 1

This is our mom’s classy daughter on her wedding day. Seriously.

Classy lady - Daughter 2

This is our mom’s other classy daughter who is probably going to kill me when she sees I posted this. But, hey, it’s on Facebook so it already belongs to The Internet, right?

Classy lady - Daughter 3

Also placed here without permission…and no, she’s obviously nowhere near as classy as the rest of us but, then, this one doesn’t ham it up as often as perhaps other family members, ergo, there are fewer classy pictures of her.

 

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If you could change one thing about your body…

Hold up.

This is not an attack on body image, it’s an answer to a question that comes up too often, even now when we should know better.

If you could change ONE thing about your body, what would it be?

I would have my nose hairs altered.

Why nose hairs?

On a biological level, I understand them. They filter things out so we don’t inhale rocks into our lungs. They are like little fur coats, helping to keep our mucous linings warm so we don’t freeze our brains while sucking in cold air (that is not a scientific explanation, by the way; don’t quote that on a test) Yet, I wonder why we have not evolved beyond such rudimentary protection methods. I know my life would be a lot better without the need for these dark strands of evil.

I loathe my nose hairs to such a degree that they represent the ultimate agitation in life, they are the the symbol of all things miserable. I can tell how stressed I am based on my dreams; when I begin to dream of nose hair, I know it is time to go to the hospital.

Here’s what I mean:

Mild Stress Indicator Dream: The standard going to class naked, forgetting the locker combo, getting lost in school and being late fare. This dream shows me I am under some stress but it’s generally superfluous and my brain will work it out on its own.

Medium Stress Indicator Dream: The ex-boyfriend who should have cancer based solely on the amount of ill-will I bear him starts showing up and trying to get my attention or assumes nothing has changed between us an can’t figure out why I won’t talk to him. This dream lets me know that my stress level is now noticeable and is something I should keep an eye on.

Strong Stress Indicator Dream: I find myself needing to poop but there’s some reason I can’t use the toilet or I’ll find a toilet in the middle of a giant, empty room and just as I start stinkin’ up the joint, all these people come in and want to talk to me and I’m pretending nothing is happening but I’m desperate to finish my business and I really want them to leave but they mill around and ask me to do stuff and I need to discreetly wipe before I stand up and there is panic. You can imagine my horror at the Poo-pourri commercial. Sometimes the toilet isn’t even a working toilet; it is there as a piece of art or because it needs to be installed in another room and then I have to figure out how to get rid of my horribly smelly evidence once I sneakily clean myself, pull up trow, and make it look like I was never evacuating wastes there in the first place. Now we are in serious dream territory. My stress levels are high and I need to manage them or else there will be problems. At the very least, I will get sick. At the worst, I will turn into Godzilla and kill the entire city of Tokyo.

Maximum Stress Indicator Dream: I feel a tickle on my upper lip. I am usually talking to someone important like my boss or the president of a country who could make war on us or sometimes even to Jenny Lawson. The tickle worsens and I stealthily brush it away with the back of my hand. The tickle continues and as it grows stronger, I begin to sweat, to worry, to freak out. There’s something on or hanging out of my nose and I need to rectify this immediately but can’t think of a graceful way to break from the person to whom I am speaking. Also, I can no longer let that terribly important person see my face so I am trying to have a conversation while averting everything under my eyes from their gaze. Things get awkward as I surreptitiously attempt to assess the damage. As I lightly, quickly brush the nostril area with curious fingers, I feel fur. Like a mouse. I think there is a mouse hanging out of my nose. On the next swipe, I search for a tail. I find none. As my stress levels rise and I continue to find a way to disengage from the conversation in the hopes of finding a private bathroom with good lighting and a clean mirror, I become more neurotic in my ninja-like fumblings around my nose holes and finally, horrifically, it becomes clear: I have an entire handlebar mustachio emerging from both nostrils made entirely of tickling nose hairs. I cover my nose and mouth and run away crying in shame. My life is terrible, bad things are happening, and I’m probably five seconds away from a heart attack. This is the end. It’s time to take down Tokyo.

This is what I think my nose hair looks like.

How my nose hair feels – and probably looks – in my dream.

Yes. Nose hairs are the pinnacle of awful personal worries, worse than showing up to class sans vestments, worse than being hounded by a hated ex, worse than pooping smellily in front of a crowd. No worry tops the  worry of nose hair.

The most terrible part is that my Maximum Stress dream all too often borders on reality. I’ll be driving to work, breathing, like people do, and I’ll feel a tickle just on the inside of my nostril. I always have reason to believe that I’ve inhaled a cat hair since I tend to smoosh my face into my cats’ bellies or backs, breathing deeply, on a regular basis. I often find cat hair on my person, in my billfold, in my underwear…it’s everywhere, including up my nose. So I’ll lightly pinch my nostrils together and gently pull downward, hoping to catch the tip of a feline fur and guide it to freedom. I would guess that 1 time out of 10, there really is a cat hair and it’s usually one that has wormed so far up that the other end is wrapped around my eyeball and pulling it free is a terrible and strange sensation, resulting in watering eyes and squeaky shrieks of something like pain that’s not actually pain.

Those other 9 times? It’s a nose hair. It’s an errant nose hair that has grown its way to sunlight and is blowing in the breeze of my breath, softly bouncing against the skin around my nostril. Why is this allowed to happen? Why don’t they just stop growing at .1 cm? WHY?

I try to ignore it. I try so hard. But I can feel it, wafting in and out on the tide of breath. Before long, it’s all I feel. There is no autumn sunset on my face, there are no fingertips thawing from scraping winter ice from the windshield, there is no wind in my hair on a beautiful summer morning. There is only the exquisite torture of a nose hair licking my tender skin with every intake and exhalation of oxygen through my nasal passages. Even breathing through my mouth sets the follicle a-quiver.

I lose all sense of sanity and decorum; I attack my face…in the car where other motorists can see me. Making tweezers of my thumbnail and the pad of my forefinger, I attempt to locate and dislodge the offending piece of hair. Often, I find it but lose it after my swift tug yields no result. I drive down the road, pecking at face with my own fingers, shrieking like a banshee as I fly at 75 MPH. There is nothing in the world but this battle.

Inevitably, I win, but success comes with a price. My fingerpad is sore and throbbing from having my pointy little thumbnail jammed into it for minutes on end. And when the root of the hair finally pulls free, it hurts. It’s always a deep root, one that goes straight to the bone of my nose, a bone most people don’t have but I know I do because I can feel the hair coming from there. It is such a sharp, swift pain, worse than a needle, worse than a burn. The pain brings tears. And yet, these minor miseries are nothing in comparison to the hair, itself. I roll it between my swollen fingerpad and thumb, relishing my victory. Then I look upon it with triumph and see that the little bastard is half an inch long.

HOW THE HELL WAS THAT IN MY NOSE?

If you are not alarmed, go get a ruler and look at the length of half an inch. Nothing that long should be up inside anyone’s nose.

Ever.

I scream. I scream for minutes, in pain, in terror, in horrified fascination, and in complete disappointment that my body would let this happen. Again.

My fellow road-passengers hurry to pass me, wondering if I am an escapee from some asylum who will undoubtedly be on the news tonight, in the center of a multi-vehicle pile-up.

It doesn’t end there.

When I get home that night, I wage war. Me, the tweezers, and the bathroom mirror, we are the Allies. I pull out every damned hair in my nostrils, every single one I can see, feel, or whose presence I merely suspect. They all come out. I do not care that it hurts, I do not care if I make my nose bleed. I do not care that this results in minutes-long sneezing fits. Furthermore, I do not care if I start inhaling boulders into my lungs or if the air I breathe turns to ice when it passes my brain resulting in permanent neurological damage.

I. Do. Not. CARE.

The nose hairs have to go.

Do you know what my brother told me recently? He told me that he had this blemish on his nose that hurt like nothing he’d ever felt before. It lasted for weeks and would never come to a head. It was just a big, red, sore spot that persisted despite all his attempts to rid himself of said blight. The pain became unbearable and he was left with only one option: dig at the spot until something happened.

It runs in the family, ok? We’re all still alive, so just shut up.

Anyway, do you know what he found?

An ingrown nose hair. A nostril hair that he’d pulled months before had grown back on the inside of his nose, all curled up and evil. He said it was a good half inch long when he straightened it but that it would’t stay straight and kept springing back to its mutant form.

When he told me this, I passed out.

The only thing worse than a half-inch nose hair is the half inch nose hair you pulled out but that returned INGROWN.

Now that I know this, I suspect my Maximum Stress dreams are about to become that much more horrifying.

I hate nose hairs. 

And that is the one thing I would change about my body if I could.

**This post is lovingly dedicated to Sam from Normal For Norfolk as she is my sister in nose-hair hatred.

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