Sunday, January 31, 2016

Having Your Legs Knocked Out From Under You

This post was originally written on September 4, 2014:

The first time I flew in an airplane I was 18 years old. I knew that I always got carsick easily, so I couldn't begin to imagine the kind of nausea I would experience on a plane. Before take-off I took the recommended dose of Dramamine and nervously waited for it to kick in. Three years later I found myself on a flight across the Atlantic ocean returning home after a semester in St. Petersburg, Russia. After spending 24 hours on planes and in airports, I was relieved to spend a comfortable night in my own bed. The only thing that bothered me (aside from the intense jet lag) was that every time I closed my eyes the room would start spinning. It wasn't enough to make me sick, but it was disorienting.

The dizzying, rocking feeling after spending time on a boat, in a car, on a plane, or otherwise in a constant state of motion is called Mal de debarquement syndrome, or MdDS. The actual syndrome is more severe than the short 12 hour period that I experienced. Symptoms can be present for up to three years and cause significant turmoil. Additionally, there is no set treatment for the syndrome.

What is most interesting to me about MdDS is that the people who experience it never know until they are on solid land and stable. Their bodies are able to adjust to the rocking and swaying and whatever other motions they have to go through. The inner ear helps people to stay oriented and up-right. Because of this they can get used to what is actually completely unsteady ground.

Time and time again I've found myself (as most people have) battling against rocking ground, trying to find my balance. Sometimes it feels like jumping through flaming hoops in the middle of an earthquake when a tornado is also coming to suck you up. I always manage to keep my balance, jump through the hoops, and steer clear of the tornado. But the transition back to stable ground is so jarring that I'm unsure of what to do with myself. If I don't have the battle pushing me forward, then why am I moving forward at all?

As if I don't have enough comparisons and stories, let me throw one more in here for good measure. It will all come together in the end, I promise. Back in January I decided to cut carbs out of my diet completely. I lasted about three days because on the third day I got in a car accident on my way to work. Thankfully no one was injured.

You'd think that the worst part would be waiting an hour for the police and tow truck to show up when cars were rushing by as my bumper protruded slightly into oncoming traffic. But I learned a really important lesson at that moment. Life is too short to avoid carbs. So I ate fruit snacks with my friend and joked about ways the situation could be worse.

The most awful part of that day was calling one insurance representative after the other and retelling the story. I second guessed everything that happened, why it had happened, if I had responded correctly (for the record, it wasn't my fault), and most of all how much this would cost me.

Let's tie this post up with a bow. Douglas Adams said, "It's not the fall that kills you; it's the sudden stop at the end." Falling is terrifying and freeing all at once. The only choice you have in that instance is to keep falling. You can't grow wings and fly your way out. It's when you hit the ground that the options begin. Stay there, wobble around until you fall again, or start running to the next drop even sooner.

(This is when I drop the mic and walk away.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why I'm Satisfied: Part 3

Some short time ago I decided that one of my favorite sayings was “It’s a metaphor.” I like to add it to the end of statements. It works great for deep thoughts, poetic thoughts, or nonsensical thoughts. I wanted to trace the origins of this saying and I tracked it down.

Back in November I was driving to work with my friend, Brittney. We were listening to NPR and they starting discussing the following story:
The correspondent decided it was appropriate to say that the Google Barge is a metaphor for… something. We didn’t quite catch what he said. But we were obsessed with how funny it was. And thus the “It’s a metaphor” saying was born. Here is evidence of how I use it in everyday conversation. Or at least when I’m chatting at work.

That is true
I can't believe it is already the 15th
the passage of time is so disturbing to me
I can't believ eit either
But I am rather grateful for it
I guess I am too
I feel like I've been living in a haze for two weeks
I mean, imagine if it were still August or something
I would hate that
Wandering through the mist
It's a metaphor

I'd be really down to go to New York
Do you ever just feel really uncomfortable in your skin and antsy?
Because that's how I feel today
your skin, like metaphorically?
like you want to be someone else?
Yeah, it's a metaphor
No, I don't want to be somebody else
I just want to be myself
But not
Like, you just get sick of yourself
I can't even describe it
Like you're just tired of being with yourself all the time
oh i totally get that
we've talked about it before

Raffle time, baby!
I hope I win
i hope IIIIII win
Don't know what the prize is, but I know that I want it
I hope that one of us wins
maybe it will be a tie
They will accidentally pull out both of our tickets
Because they will be stuck together
It's a metaphor

There he is
Talking about the project
Shark out of water.
Feet fully wet
It's a metaphor.
My line
Empty words.

Can I share with you a gem from my funny things notebook?
Me: I was wondering why it looked extra dark outside. But it wasn't. It was actually extra dark inside.
Emily: It's a metaphor.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Why I'm Satisfied: Part 2

I like three things about this life right now.

A) I am old enough to go to concerts at 21 and over clubs.

B) I get my ID checked at said clubs.

C) When the guard sees a small plastic bag sticking out of my pocket he says, "Looks like you have some goodies there." Implying that perhaps I'm trying to sneak something not so legal into the venue. To which I put on a big grin, pull out the bag, and say, "Yeah, my friend gave me cookies!"

I love tricking people into thinking I'm a junkie when really I just have a sweet tooth. This is the life I lead.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Why I'm Satisfied

I like that I can open up my notebook at work and see this written down:

"Note to future Nicole. Bjorkell would make a ballin' dog name."

I am very satisfied with the professional adult that I have become in the past year.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hollywood Dreams

Contrary to what the title of this post is, this won't be my confessions of how I dream of going to Hollywood to become a famous actor or actress or director or... sound... mixer... anyway.

No. I had an insane dream about a week ago and I can't shake it.

Allow me to set the scene here. (Assume that everything I say from this point on was in my dream, unless otherwise stated.)

I was watching a movie by myself. The movie starred Matthew McConaughey. He worked as a member on a cargo ship, while the vessel was carrying something like oil. You know, not important cargo at all.

Like most movies, the film goes from calm to intense so abruptly I almost get whiplash. While one second it is serenely moving toward its destination, in the next frame the cargo ship explodes! And who is the lone survivor, left to drift out to sea on a tiny lifeboat? That's right. It's Matthew McConaughey. Alright, alright, alright!

Unfortunately, Matthew was severely injured in the explosion. He's pretty cut up all over his face and his left arm is hanging on by a couple of ligaments. You can literally see the tendons in his arm where all the flesh has been burned off. This is some gruesome stuff. I'm pretty sure this dream is rated R. At least PG-13.

As he is floating in the middle of the ocean the heat is relentless and he begins to lose hope. His lips are dry with thirst and his eyes are half closed - a mixture of seasickness and exhaustion. A breeze picks up, but he doesn't even notice. When the wind starts to make the water choppy, the little lifeboat begins to sway more and more. The waves grow and grow until the lifeboat tips over and Matthew McConaughey falls out.

He's swimming under water and trying frantically to reach the surface. It is now that Matthew's voice begins to narrate the scene. He starts talking about how he was trying to swim with all his might. But in his frantic paddling he used too much force and his fragile left arm fell off completely. As he continues to scramble, kicking his feet and waving his right arm around uselessly, you can see his left arm slowly sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

As he's swimming he makes a pained expression and inexplicably all of the skin on his face peels off in one even strip. His narration at this part was, and I quote, "I knew my face peeled off because I could feel the salt water entering my nasal passage. And it hurt like hell."

While I'm watching him scramble for air I can feel myself start to panic. Will he make it? Do I have to watch him die? Then, seamlessly, it's not Matthew drowning anymore. It's me. I am four feet under water and using every ounce of strength I have to make it to the top.

Fortunately, I have all my limbs and my face to aid in my survival. I remember being aware of this fact and thinking I was in much better condition than he was to be swimming. But as I flailed my limbs, I got nowhere. I knew that I was swimming correctly because my grandma had taught me when I was a kid. But there was something blocking me from getting to air. I knew I was running out of time so I started a fight between dream Nicole and semi-conscious Nicole.

"Just take a breath."

"I can't. I'll only breathe in water."

"But you have to breathe."

"I can make it to the surface."

"No, you can't. You're not going to make it."

"I have to or I'll die in the ocean."

"Breathe! Breathe right now!"

"It will only be water and Matthew said it hurts like hell!"

That's when I woke up, desperately gasping for breath. I'm not sure if I was holding my breath in my sleep or if I was panting because I was panicking. Either way, it was one of the strangest dream experiences of my life.

Author's Note: This is when I tell you that my greatest physical fear is drowning.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 290 of Summer

Kara and I have decided to try and challenge each other on occasion to keep our writing sharp. Here is my latest challenge from her (after she totally rocked the Momo challenge!). This was insanely harder than I imagined it would be. I get what Summer is thinking but I have a really hard time translating that into a way that she would say it. I think I barely passed on this one.

Tomorrow's challenge for Nicole is to write an internal monologue from the point of view of Summer from 500 Days of Summer, struggling with making the decision of whether or not/ why to break-up with Joseph Gordon-Levitt .

This was fair from the start. It was clear that this wasn't a relationship. He wanted a label on it, but that doesn't mean that I had to believe the label was true. As great as it seems like it's been the past few months, life changes things.

Life changes people.

I can't do this couple life. I don't love him how he needs me to. We can't keep pretending that this is all real. Not when we believe different things about where this is going.

"I think we should stop seeing each other."

Challenge: Come up with a back story to one of your favorite songs.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Not Touch

I asked my roommates what to write about. They were not as helpful as I wanted them to be. But still a little helpful I guess. Their ideas:

  • Write about them
  • Lights
  • Abby's essay assignment
  • Caramel sauce
  • My terrible speaking grammar
I decided that last topic would be adequate.

Let's set the scene:


NICOLE is minding her own bees wax, making a caramel dip for apples. The base is yogurt so she has this empty yogurt cup sitting next to her.

Enter SARAH and ABBY.

                                            What are you making?
                                            Caramel dip?
                                            For ice cream?
                                            No, for apples.

                                            What do you use for it?

                                             Like, some yogurt and brown sugar and whatever.

SARAH walks to where the empty yogurt cup sits on the counter. Her hand hovers over it for a short time.

                                                       NICOLE (in a panicked voice)
                                             Not touch!


                                             Not touch?

                                             Yeah, I need that. I didn't want you to throw it away.

SARAH and ABBY'S laughter ensues.


So apparently when I feel threatened my grammar resorts back to that of a two year old. This should be promising if I ever get attacked while I'm out for a jog or confronted by an angry drunkard or whatever. Again, this causes me to think that my children have a very bright future ahead of them.