Friday, June 29, 2012

Street harassment

The other day I was walking the short two blocks from my office to Union Station to grab lunch when some man yelled very loudly at me “I love the way you wear that skirt!” And then “Yeah touch that skirt!” in response to me almost subconsciously grabbing at the hem of the skirt and tugging to make it more appropriate.

My face was flushed, my heart thudding, and I was embarrassed, because I was sure people were staring at that girl with the giant ass and the skirt that rides up whenever she walks.

In that moment, my years of higher education, my hard work, my intelligence, my strength meant nothing, because I was just a faceless thing with some female anatomy attached to it. He had the power, and I became nothing.

Then I got mad.

I was dressed for work in a knee-length black pencil skirt, a t-shirt and a belted cardigan – a perfectly conservative and appropriate outfit – and no one, certainly no man, had a right to make me feel like I was slutty, or inappropriate, or an object to be leered at in public.

And then I really was ashamed, because I should have said something. I should have informed him – just as loudly and belligerently if necessary – that sexual harassment is not okay. That it is against the law, and I don’t have to take it.

Too often I think we fall into the trap of ignoring it, because boys will be boys, right? Because that’s just how men admire women, and we should learn to take it as a compliment. Besides, if our butts weren’t so big or our boobs weren’t so bouncy or our legs weren’t so long, they wouldn’t notice us, and then where would we be? We’re nothing if we’re not fodder for the sexualized male gaze.

I am so over that bullshit. Being verbally harassed in public, having parts of my anatomy leered at and commented on by strangers, feeling helpless because I’m a female and such is my lot in life – I’m done with that shit.

I will speak up for me now, and I will speak up for you if I witness it happening to you. We make this stop by correcting one ignorant, entitled jackass at a time. They no longer have the power – we are not sex slaves to be paraded about for their pleasure. We’re worth more than a cursory glance to determine how deep our cleavage goes. If we’re not silent, we can shut them up. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Invisalign begins

After months of preparation, panic-inducing surgery and being called a druggie, I finally got my first set of Invisalign trays yesterday. I’ve been self-conscious about my wonky twisty tooth probably since I was about 12, so the decision to finally do something about it was a long time coming.

I started looking into Invisalign in 2009 in Austin (back in the good ol’ days of my employer-paid health insurance) and was about to do it when we found out that Charming got a job in DC and we were moving.

Then once Charming got his act together and proposed, I decided it was time to start looking into it again. Insurance be damned (not that most insurances cover it, as it turns out, but it took me a little while to figure that out). Once I realized how expensive it was going to be (average cost is around $5500), I decided to do what any deal-savvy patient would do: Look for a Groupon for dental work. Because discount health care is the wave of the future. Or something.

Anyway, I found a Groupon that was $2500 for $6000 worth of Invisalign services at a dentist about 19 miles from DC. I did some research, liked the website well enough, and went for it. Next up: Groupon breast implants. Just kidding! Maybe.

Getting fitted for the trays was awful because I have the world’s worst gag reflex (I know: that’s what she said). It took 3 tries, 2 instances of projectile vomit, and 1 very brave fiancĂ© holding my hand to get it done. They squirt this rubbery synthetic crap into a tray and shove it against your teeth and hold it there for 10 minutes while it simultaneously hardens and manages to drip down the back of your tongue at the same time.

But through sheer determination, I survived it, and after 3 weeks of waiting for the progress plan to be designed, and another 3 weeks of waiting for the retainers to actually be made, I have my first set of 3 trays.

I went in yesterday to pick them up, and I was nearly bouncing up and down because I’m so flipping excited about the prospect of having a normal smile that doesn’t require me to always be on the left in pictures and tilt my head just so, so that the tooth doesn’t stick out.

But first, we had to put on attachments. Attachments are the little hard things they weld to your teeth that fit into the tray like a puzzle piece and make sure your teeth are actually rotating/moving with the trays.

While working on the last set of attachments on the lower left side, the dentist suddenly realized she wanted her receptionist to see the process, so she called her in. I was lying flat on my back on the chair, legs crossed tightly because like an idiot I wore a short dress, with giant plastic sunglasses on (they use some sort of light to harden the stuff – I know I’m getting technical, stay with me here) with three people all staring down into my mouth like adorably-confused pugs. I had to think about dead babies and car accidents to keep from bursting out laughing.

Then the trays. They snap down over the attachments with a surprisingly loud popping sound. And they feel very strange. Heavy, almost, which isn’t quite right because the trays are obviously super-light, but there’s a weird kind of pressure – like you have a force field around your teeth or something.

Getting them out is also kind of difficult, because you have to jimmy them off your teeth, and they’re stuck on those attachments pretty good. I foresee a lot of broken nails in my future.

The trays have been rubbing my gums in two spots today – just slightly off to the right of the bottom front teeth, and on the upper left side – so when I took them out to eat, I used the softer edge of a nail file to try to smooth out those two areas on the tray. I also took 3 advil and a glass of wine, so I’m not sure which treatment had the greater effect.

You’re supposed to wear these things 22 hours a day and just take them out to eat and brush your teeth. I’m trying to minimize the amount of in and out (gel manicures are kind of pricey!) so I take them out in the morning, brush my teeth, eat, brush again and then put them back in, then take them out once at lunch, and then at dinner and brush my teeth immediately afterwards for bed.

Definitely cuts down on the unnecessary snacking. I also predict a lot of fluids consumed through straws in my future. And my teeth are kind of sore because I guess they’re already starting to loosen up and turn, so even when I have the trays out, I can’t eat much. Hello Invisalign Diet. Maybe I will lose that last 10 lbs before the wedding after all.

Here is a closer look than you ever thought you wanted at my teeth (at least I avoided an up-the-nose shot), with tray 1:

Anyone ever done Invisalign before? Any tips for me? 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Update: My lungs hate me

Good news! I’m totally not a hypochondriac (thanks, mom!) – I finally got to see a doctor yesterday and was diagnosed with acute bronchitis. I think that actually makes me kind of a badass, for surviving almost 2 weeks of work with inflamed lungs/airways.

Now we can treat it, and hopefully in a week or two, I’ll be able to walk more than 15 feet without wheezing like a … ok. Stop here. I couldn’t think of a good simile to use (blame it on 2 weeks of very little sleep), so I googled “wheezing like a” and the first response is “grampus.”

Which I naturally image-searched, because duh, what the fuck?

I got this:

Apparently, it’s some sort of semi-mythological tree-dwelling porpoise-like creature. That wheezes, I guess. And gives a nasty evil eye. The more you know.

So yes, grampus-tangent aside, I’m dutifully taking my z-pack and my inhaler and my nose spray and my Prilosec (heartburn makes bronchitis worse – yay constant stress!) and am very much hoping to feel well enough to get some shit done this weekend.

Have a good weekend everyone, and watch out for the grampuses! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Giving in

I’ve done it – something I very rarely do. After procrastinating for a week and getting the same advice over and over again, I finally caved and made a doctor’s appointment.

Last year, around this time, I got sick then developed a horrible, wracking cough that lasted something stupid like 6 weeks. I didn’t have insurance back then (and now have a lovely crook in my nose, since I couldn’t afford emergency care when I fell off my bike and onto my face), but I do now, so I’m setting aside my skepticism of doctors in general and going to see one.

My mom’s a nurse, so growing up I didn’t go to the doctor very often. Everything was treated the same way – tea with honey and Jewish Penicillin, aka chicken soup. Even when I was 17 or 18 and started having vicious awful stomach cramps that would leave me curled in a fetal position crying for hours, she almost refused to take me to a doctor. Mostly she was afraid to discover I was pregnant. Fortunately for her (or maybe not fortunately – we’d have made a fortune off the publicity) I was not the next Virgin Mary.

When we lived in Austin, I had decent health insurance because I worked for a state agency, so I would go to the doctor occasionally if needed. Unfortunately, my doctor sucked. When my horse slipped in the creek and fell on top of me, half-crushing my knee and causing me to wrench it out from under him at a weird angle, and it swelled up to 3 times its normal size to the point where I couldn’t wear pants, the doctor offered me an x-ray. Sarcastically.

Then about 7 months later, after I was in a [slow-moving] head-on collision and went to the emergency clinic, where I sat for over 3 hours half in shock with a dislocated rib, I pretty much gave up on doctors altogether.

So yeah, a little skeptical of doctors.

But after a week straight of not being able to fall asleep despite a potent cocktail of Mucinex, Robitussin and Nyquil, and being woken up around 4am every morning coughing violently and flinging the blankets off my chest because they weigh 80000lbs, I am seriously looking forward to this appointment.

And I’m sure all my coworkers within a 5-office radius are looking forward to it as well.