Monday, June 18, 2012

PUKE ABOUT IT

I don’t read a lot of blogs. In fact, I distinctly remember, at the tender age of 18 or something, telling anyone who would listen that I would never have a blog. In my mind I had constructed a well-developed character named “Amy the Generic Blogger,” and I hated this person. Amy was snark personified; a martyr for “telling it like it is.” She was self-involved, self-deprecating, desperate for praise, and slightly overweight. She wore hand-painted Chuck Taylors and told people that she can’t even like, watch television anymore.

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The truth is, the amount of disdain I reserved for imaginary bloggers at age 18 has only been surpassed by the amount of disdain I currently reserve for my 18 year old self. I was such a shit. Blogs are good. They’re fine. Some are better than others. In that sense, blogs are a lot like cheese. Are you following this?

My point is that, while I don’t read a lot of blogs, there is one thing I’ve noticed among the ones that I do frequent. Very few of them acknowledge in their first post that it is, in fact, their first post. They just get right into it. I thought that maybe I could attribute this trend to the general rule of educators, whether it be of grade school, higher education, or Zumba classes: “Don’t let anyone know it’s your first day. They’ll walk all over you. Forever.”


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The thing is - I’m not trying to educate anyone, here. I’m exposing the pulp of my brainstuff to you, my nuggets, and you can do with it what you see fit. In fact, I can say with confidence that you will not learn anything here. You might actually be dumber when you leave.

Call me simple but I always like to see a nice preamble when I dive into something new. So that’s what this is.

My name is Kristin, and this is the first blog post I’ve written that doesn’t have cake as a focal point. I’m acknowledging that. I’m owning it. I’m 24, and I live in Brooklyn, New York. I have strong opinions about things that some might rightfully argue don’t deserve such attention (like condiments and the insistence that I knew Severus Snape was on Dumbledore’s side all along), and little-to-no opinions about things that some might rightfully argue are the stuff of intelligent and worthwhile conversation (like politics, sports, and something called an IPO). It’s wonderful to meet you on this internet. My internet. I live here, please don’t touch anything.

Puke About It.

When I was a kid, I was terrified of throwing up. More than anything in the world - more than darkness, more than sharks, more than losing a loved one - vomiting was my downfall. It started around age 6, when my brother (4 years my senior) went through a relatively short phase where anything that smelled sort of iffy made him blow chunks.

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This poor kid couldn’t even eat in the cafeteria at his middle school. He had to eat in the hallway. Tragic.

Anyway, me being 6, my mind was malleable and I was already predisposed to being nervous about literally everything. Weighing in at a solid 40 pounds, I was like a bird. Skittish and not interested in socializing with humans.

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I stopped eating for a while. I have memories of staring at a plate of chicken nuggets and mixed vegetables for hours while my parents tried desperately to convince me that my dinner wouldn’t make me ill. I wouldn’t hear any of it.

I started carrying around a plastic bag in case of emergency. I might have been seven at this point. Every once in awhile, regardless of whether or not I was nauseous, I would stick my head in there on the off chance that the lunch I didn’t eat decided to exit through the in-hole. Eventually my mother gave me a canvas tote bag she had bought in Cancun, to replace the disposable Stop n Shop bag that had essentially become an extension of me. I still can’t decide if, parenting-wise, this was a supportive or an enabling move. Probably the latter.


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Here’s the kicker - I can count on one - maybe two hands the number of times I’ve actually vomited in my life. My longest hiatus was 9 years. I never once filled that bag with the contents of my stomach. It was all in my head.

At this point, the school nurse was my best friend. I would just hang out in her office. Our relationship was a one-way street, though. She grew weary of my constant visits and was not shy about hiding it.

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At age 8 I started seeing a therapist about it. She asked me to give my fear a name, and a shape. I chose Fred the Triangle. She then crouched down into the shape of what I guess she thought was a triangle, waddled around her office, and insisted that I address her as Fred. I remember feeling something I would later identify as patronized.

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Needless to say, therapy wasn’t super helpful.

With each passing year, I organically developed a more rational outlook on stomach bugs and all they entail. As I entered adolescence I had long since ditched the bag, and my involvement in competitive gymnastics made it impossible for me not to want to eat everything all of the time. In middle school, the nurse barely knew my name, let alone my neuroses. I was, at least on surface level, a normal if not physically tiny adolescent.


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The summer before senior year of high school, I fell back into my old ways. I spent one night in June writhing around with a pretty severe bellyache, and for months afterwards I was paralyzed with fear. Again, I stopped eating. Only now my behavior couldn’t be attributed to the irrational inner-workings of a child’s mind. No, now I was 16 and fully capable of reason. I went back to therapy.

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When school and athletics started up again in the Fall, the distractions allowed this dormant fear demon in me to ebb. I graduated a solid B student, went to my state’s university, and never looked back.

Let’s now fast forward to December 5th, 2011. Five days before my 24th birthday. Pain in my gut like I had never known. I thought I was dying. I worried about what a silly memory I would leave behind when people found out I was discovered dead in my bed wearing an extra-large Dutchess TShirt, at the tail end of a Netflix-sponsored Cosby Show marathon. Apparently I wasn’t self-conscious enough to switch to elegant silk pj’s and Breaking Bad, because when the sun finally came up, I found that my only concern was how efficiently I could get to some sort of emergency room.

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I laid there motionless. “If I move, I’ll throw up,” I thought to myself. So I didn’t move. My mouth filled with saliva, as it generally does just before chunks are blown. Still I denied it. Somewhere in my head, a voice told me that I’d feel loads better if I just let it out. I told that voice to go fuck itself.

I realized that I was in the unique position of being able to observe myself while confronting a fear that had plagued me my entire life. Questions that I had asked myself hundreds of times before - “Why are you so afraid of this? Is it really that bad?” - became entirely new when they were asked at a moment of fear-realization. “YES” I screamed at the voice of reason in my brain-space, “YES IT IS THAT BAD. YOU ARROGANT FUCK.” I denied, denied, denied all the way to the operating table 15 hours later, when after numerous tests (3 of which were pregnancy), they finally yanked out the offending appendix.

I didn’t vomit once throughout the whole ordeal, and instead of looking at it as a step backwards in my recovery process, I’m going to count it as a win against that fickle bitch, nature.

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BECAUSE WHATEVER

36 comments:

  1. You can put a puke on it! Great first post. Glad that you aren't leaving us in a cake-void, I love your writing and pictures.

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  2. Wow, on a whim I was just thinking about SMC and found out that you started this blog. When I found out that this was published less than an hour ago... I think I have powers or something. Don't know what they are, but that's gotta be it, right?

    Anyway, awesome way to start the afternoon. Thanks!

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  3. I tell a decent portion of this story to riveted drunk kids at parties when the inevitable puking tale one-upmanship begins.

    This blog is a wormhole into your brain that the world has been desperately in need of!

    Love, michelle

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  4. I am thoroughly looking forward to your next post. -Matt

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  5. Dead serious, I have never puked. In my life, not once. And I take pride in this, because I am dead scared of puking. There is nothing in the world that appears less enjoyable than puking. So I don't. It has caused many a scene (often in public places), but I have never and will never.

    Also, I'm glad you started another blog. (And didn't end up puking.)

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  6. Replies
    1. By the way, don't ever get pregnant. You will die.

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    2. Hilary. Your blog has all but solidified my voluntary biological-childless future. For real. I can't.

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  7. Agreed with Hilary, I'm 9months pregnant, love this little shit! BUT never.again.NEVER. I'm not even sure how I stumbled upon this blog but I'm glad I did :)

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  8. Lmao, I love this! Great work Kristin. And you should totally make a penis cake with Adam =P

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  9. This is amazing. I can relate to this so much! I'm over my phobia of vomiting for the most part now, and I love to look back on it and laugh at all my precautionary measures I'd take to avoid throwing up.
    I'm looking forward to reading your blog posts from now onwards, Kristin!

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  10. This is fantastic! I look forward to your future posts!

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  11. I'd say that this is a successful first post, and never in our little lives will we ever dare to trample over you. Mazel tov!

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  12. I hope your hair is actually purple and that if you puke, you always puke rainbows. Amusing blog by the way. Adam sent me here via the Facebooks.

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  13. You attributed years of nausea to "fear of something"? And then it took you all your life to realize you had appendicitis?

    For real?

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    1. You're dumb. Suck it Shakuntala.

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    2. Can you even read?
      Do you have basic knowledge of human physiology?

      You can't have appendicitis all of your life without knowing it.
      You're dumb.
      Eat a water bottle through your anus.

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  14. Oh. My. God. This is like reading about myself as a kid. I just remember being scared of going ANYWHERE, because I might puke on the way, when being there or in the car on the way home. I once passed on going to the movies to see 101 Dalmatians (which was the shit back in the day) because I just knew that I, or someone next to me, would throw up. I also remember lying in bed on several occasions crying because my stomach was hurting and I thought my mom would "make me puke"... Rational.
    I'm still pretty freaked out about vomiting, and will try to avoid it at all costs. I.e. lying completely still if I feel nauseated for some reason (needless to say, hangovers are a bitch).
    Anyways, thanks for sharing this! My friends all think I'm crazy when I talk about this, so next time I'll just send them a link to this page instead of crying "IT'S A REAL THING, OK???"

    This was a great first post and I'll definitely keep reading this.

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  15. I'm convinced that while nobody is actually a unique snowflake, EVERYONE has a pathological, irrational fear. Throwing up in PUBLIC terrifies me, but luckily I only had to do it once, my friend would not take the hint that I reallllyyy didn't want anyone around me for the next 5 minutes. Hawkward doesn't even begin to describe it...

    Anyway, I understand your fear of eating in reverse (that made it worse, didn't it?) through my fear of spiders. Small spiders, no big deal. Big spiders...I legitimately have night terrors. As in, I will wake up, and hallucinate seeing giant spiders...but once the light's on, of course I can't see them. This is a weekly occurence. Lifting my mattress, checking my sheets, my blanket, vigerously brushing my hair, checking my ears, blowing my nose (just in case)...You are not alone.

    I appreciate that your first blog post did not end with a question. I have a lot of patience with blogs if I like the author/subject matter, but if every post ends with a question, my patience is gone and they can go fuck themselves. Assholes, all of them!

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  16. So lucky you didn't puke coming out of surgery - apparently a majority of appendicitis patients experience this. (Aren't you glad I pointed this out POST-event?)

    Thank you for a fantastic first post!

    Cyndy

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  17. I guess I'm the opposite of you. For almost as long as I can remember, I used to puke all the time as a kid, and continuing through my teenage years: like, at least once a week, and whenever I was overtired, stressed, excited, or had alcohol. It wasn't fun. Eventually I got over it, which may have had something to do with moving out and starting to pay for my own food, which made me realise "Woah, throwing up all the time gets *expensive*!". I only do it rarely now, like a normal person, but I'll still feel guilty when I visit a place where I was sick in the past.

    But throwing up all the time meant at least I was never scared of it, so maybe you had it worse? I don't know. Anyway, nice blog, look forward to reading more!

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  18. Hooray! Another fun blog!

    When I was in junior high my mom was in the hospital for a couple of weeks and I was left alone with my dad. I was nervous about my mom and convinced my dad could sleep through a burning down house or a burglary so I was rather OCD about ovens and making sure the door was locked. I still haven't completely shaken either :p

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  19. I remember when I was about 13 I refused to vomit. It just was against everything I stood for as a human with a mouth. On that Easter however, around my 4th chocolate bunny for the day while watching The Ten Commandments, there was a rebellion. My stomach was screaming at me. "Hurt all you want," I said to my stomach. "What ever is in there, stays in there. You hear me?!"
    Before the Isrealites made it to the Promise Land, I was blowing chunks of happy easter bunnies in my kitchen sink... from out of my mouth.
    I instantly felt better.
    I'm 30 years old and to this day I neither eat chocolate bunnies of any kind, or watch the Ten Commandments.

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  20. I think of you now every time I hold an empty, vomit-less plastic bag in my hands. Keep the tender nuggets coming... I'm waiting.

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  21. I AM OBSESSED WITH YOUR BLOG! Found it through my friend Jackson, you are so my kindred spirit. I too have fear of throwing up and, save for a not remembered really bad night freshman year night in college, I haven't gotten sick since I was 9! I feel it is my main life achievement. Anyway Ive read all the other posts as well. You're amazing. These posts make my day so hardcore. Do moar plz!!!

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  22. This absolutely cracks me up. I found your page through BooksofAdam and I have to say I am very glad I clicked on the link. I can say without a doubt in my head that throwing up is one of my least favorite things in the world so I honestly don't blame you for having a phobia of it. Can't wait to read more!

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  23. Ugh I am always SO RELIEVED when I find other people who hate and fear vomiting as much as I do. Anyways, yeah, YOU SHOW YOUR STOMACH. That traitorous bugger.

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  24. 'Tis all good, but this way you don't get to experience that awesome feeling you get after (surviving) a hearty puke. It's like you're weightless and have been set free amongst the clouds. :)

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  25. I hate to come late to party, but...we'll, here I am. I should have read this earlier. I really should have. I mean, it's entertaining, has a great style of writing, but it is a little lengthy. Although, that's okay. You don't live by the rul— oh, sorry. I'm ranting now. Anyway, on to my point. I know that pain all too well. I was a young blade and I should say I owe this moment to a "Dorito" (I'm only assuming since that's the only thing I ate that day.) I remember laying on the ground of the ER waiting room. I was told it was dirty and I should get up, but fuck that. It was painful. Laying on the ground provided me with a small dose of sweet relief. Aside from that, the morphine was good. The anesthesia was even better. The hospital stay afterward, however, could have been better.

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  26. i actually have this disorder you speak of. its called emetophobia, the fear of vomiting. it consumes me and makes me afraid to go in stores and take transit and all sorts of things. scared to travel and generally be far from home incase i throw up. nice to see im not alone. even if you overcame yours and mine is terrifying me still

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  27. I also have emetophobia, and except for my very young childhood, I've puked all of twice, once when I was 9, then I had an 8 year streak before a bad stomach bug got me when I was 17, only puked at the beginning, and thankfully it wasn't bad for being purely water that I had been desperately sipping, everything else had already cleared the other end. I've since then powered through many a food poisoning with my trusty Pepto-Bismol. I luckily never had the fear of throwing up anytime, I just have the phobia reaction when I'm nauseous, when someone else says they're nauseous, someone gags/pukes/etc. I definitely don't have the fascination with other people's puke though xD

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  28. I have to admit, I was convinced I was just weird for having this fear, but everything you described is EXACTLY my life except take out the bag and insert constantly asking everyone if I look pale. I'd like to say I've made significant strides over coming my fears but after running scared from my boyfriend's house in the middle of the night when he came down with a bug, or attempting to walk from New Jersey to Virginia when a group of friends got too drunk at the beach, some people might think I still have a problem. Honestly, it could have been worse. :)

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