Friday, May 13, 2011

In Which I Depress Myself or Squick Myself Out on Purpose

For some reason, I am attracted to articles/stories/news that are either crushingly sad/depressing or so horrifying/gross that I've been scarred after reading or seeing them. I'm a very visual person, so just reading something that is graphically described will just play on an endless loop in my head.

I guess I wouldn't say I'm attracted -- more like plain stupid. Repeatedly.

I can talk about this now (because I am no longer scarred--OK, fine, I'm no longer having nightmares about it) but my most recent example of this stupidity involves an article on The Awl a month or so ago about cannibal fetishists, or basically people who want to be eaten and find that exciting even though the end result is being dead. I know. I am an asshole for even clicking on the link to read it. But since The Awl tends to be snarky fun and I had the idea that it was just about communities of people who talked on discussion boards about it (and that was also covered in the article), I started reading. And then the article started talking about a dude WHO WAS ACTUALLY EATEN, and that there were VIDEO RECORDINGS of how it happened that they would then GO THROUGH IN GRAPHIC DETAIL.


So guess who didn't stop reading? Yeah. I can't even link to the article because I don't want to subject someone else to it.

It was like I was driving and couldn't stop in time to keep from running over a squirrel. I just could not stop reading. And then picturing it. And then freaking out to the point where I actually broke out in a cold sweat. Who does that to themselves?

I was traumatized. I tried talking to my husband about it later that night because nothing makes you feel better about something awful than forcing other people to experience it. I still had crazy dreams about it that night and for a few nights after, and then for weeks I'd be driving or running or whatever and into my head would pop SOME DUDE TRIED TO EAT HIS OWN JUNK. Why God why??

So I share this story of my epic dumbassery as a public service: Don't be me. That's good advice on many levels, but particularly in this case. I can't even get into why I always end up reading stories about spouses and children dying, end up tears, and then internally yell at myself for putting those vibes into the universe. I think the cannibal article is my swan song of Fucked Up Shit I End Up Reading.

It's puppy dogs and ice cream from here on out.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


It's been about a week since I found out I got an A in Statistics. I know, right? Me? Who barely got through basic Algebra II that was a requirement to graduate high school, even though I was taking Physics, AP English and had taken every science class offered by Stafford County? Well, except AP Biology because I refused to skin a cat -- plus it conflicted with AP English which I knew I would do well in. Anyway. Back to me usually sucking at math.

I was a typical overachieving student who did well in everything except math; even the sciences that require math, like Chemistry and Physics, were fine for me because for some reason when applied to science, math made sense. Otherwise, nah. It took me forever to learn how to tell time on a clock. In 7th grade I had all As on my report card except math. I managed to squeak out a C after pulling a D+ during one of the grading periods. The shame, the shame. And that shame has pretty much followed me throughout my learning life -- anytime math is involved, I freeze. No one was more relieved to take the first calculator-enabled SATs than I.

Statistics was on its way to becoming the same albatross as other math classes; the prof wasn't that engaged, when I read stuff it kind of went over my head, using the Excel tools to pull the data was fine, but interpreting them afterward was like wha? I was starting to sweat this whole shebang. Then I had to prepare for my midterm. So I decided I was going to start over and be good at this, dammit. I read the chapters out loud to myself like I was in first grade. I did all the practice problems. I reinterpreted examples to apply them to my life instead of the sample in the textbooks. I worked hard -- which for a Type-A classic Good Girl student with a photographic memory, was challenging. I'm not used to having to study to know something. ;)

I got an A. By myself! Oh, it was on.

And then I got a B on the second exam and promptly spiraled into panic mode. Maybe the A the first time was a fluke. I'm going to fail the final OMG.

Never mind that the B was actually a B+ and I still had an A overall; suddenly I was in 11th grade again and felt like I had no idea what I was doing.

Then I took the final and to no one's surprise, the checked-out professor has simply rehashed questions from the other tests and quizzes and with my photo-memory, I was golden. There were a few original problems that popped up, but I got through them. I got an A on the final and an A in class.

So does it feel like a hollow victory that the final was a rehash and it was my memory that pretty much got me the A?

Hell no. Now that I'm an adult, one of the biggest lessons I've learned is: You take the victories when you can.