Tag Archives: ChapStick

Trekking Through Hell

Jana: School started this week. And this morning, for the first time in a long time, I cut myself shaving.

This experience, and all of the experiences that come with this time of year – cooler weather, moving, change-related anxiety – reminded me of a time, in the year 2004, when I made a weird, bad choice that made me sad and uncomfortable. In that way, it wasn’t unusual, but it still warrants a blog post.

To start this story, I have to tell you that I only got into one college. Despite being a nearly straight-A student in high school, having totally decent SAT scores, and writing an essay containing a whimsical story about my deep-seated feminism, I was wait-listed by my two top choice schools. This threw me into, first, a long session of sobbing, and next, an overly-ambitious period of attempted positivity. I remember just crying and crying, while choking out the words “I’ll just go to UVM, it’ll be fine, UVM will be fine, I’ll be fine…”

Anyway, I did go to UVM. And in an attempt to embrace the experience that was being forced upon me, I decided to take the bull by the horns and sign up for the pre-orientation week-long wilderness trip option, called TREK. Clearly, I did not think this through. In my mind, it was the only way: I had to do this, to make the most of college, to make friends and LOVE COLLEGE AND IT’S FINE I DIDN’T GET INTO SKIDMORE. The rational thoughts, like, hey Jana, you don’t LIKE camping or the outdoors or building trails – those weren’t ones that I had. Not even for a second. I just bought a wilderness backpack and arrived in the UVM gym, ready to go.

This is the picture on the TREK website. Like. Did I think I belonged in this group?

I’ll also note here that I was still dating my high school boyfriend, and we had decided to stay together even though he was still in high school and I was traveling away to Vermont. So I arrived at the UVM gym, wearing wilderness pants and a wilderness backpack and a baseball hat, desperately sad to be without my boyfriend.

The week was like this: I was sad. My group’s job was to BUILD A TRAIL, and to accomplish this we had to hike really far up a mountain, set up camp, and then spend every day doing hard manual labor like moving giant rocks and carrying large pieces of wood. I was the worst at this. Because OF COURSE I WOULD BE THE WORST AT THIS. I didn’t actually speak most of the time, but inwardly, I felt intensely sorry for myself.

I also want to mention a specific element that made the week especially painful. Ok, Listen. I FORGOT TO BRING CHAPSTICK. For those of you who know me, you’ll understand that I keep chapstick on me at all, ALL, times, and apply it approximately every fifteen minutes. When I don’t have it for a day, my lips become weird and gross, with little skin flakes on them that then fall onto my shirts – you know? You know. So, picture those lips multiplied by one whole week. The thing was, I probably could have asked to borrow some chapstick on the first day, but by the time the situation had gotten bad enough that I really considered doing it (I like, eyed people while mentally rehearsing the question), my lips were so disgusting that I knew no one would ever share with me. Or love me. It was awful.

Some days, in the afternoons, we were given “free time” and allowed to go on recreational group hikes instead of working on the trail. During those times, I always, always claimed to feel sick so that I could lie in my tent alone and cry about missing my boyfriend. Those were the most enjoyable moments of the week. I cherished them.

So yeah, it was hell. When the week mercifully ended, we all piled into the van to drive back to campus, and stopped for lunch at a fast food place. In the bathroom of the restaurant, I think that I actually laughed when I saw my face and how disgusting it was. Like a monster had taken over my mouth. New friends? Anyone?

As an addendum, know that when we finally made it back to campus and I got to take a shower, I was overly-enthusiastic about shaving my legs and cut myself so deeply that I had to run to my RA’s room to A) introduce myself while crying and B) beg her for band-aids (she gave me three, which was not enough). As a result of this wound, all of my jeans from that first month of college have a little blood stain on the spot where they touched the cut. It’s a fitting memorial.

Here’s an email I sent to my dad shortly afterwards:

I’m sure mom told you about my gigantic shaving wound. It is crazy, i dont even want to think about how i did that it makes me cringe. I dont think i will shave for a while – at least its almost fall. Oh well. it is healing so no worries, and i put neosporin on it today so it shouldnt get infected or anything.

Happy Back To School!

Catherine: I too have a debilitating chapstick addiction, so being without it for a week is obviously the thing that terrifies me most about this prospect. Not like I wanna quote Leann Rimes, but “HOW DO I LIVE WITHOUT YOU.” That whole song, lyric for lyric, encapsulates precisely how I feel about chapstick.

Can I also direct everyone to the TREK photo for a moment – look at the man in baseball cap, second from the right. Is this really THE BEST picture they could find? Homeboy looks MIS.ER.ABLE. and photoshopped in all at the same time.

And one more thing – for the past like, ten times I’ve shaved my legs, I have cut myself shaving. Including cuts on BOTH FEET from dropping my razor on them. I’m getting worse with age, guys.

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Romance Isn’t Dead, It Just Watches Bad Movies.

Catherine: Isn’t young romance cute? Except not when you are the 12-year old couple GOING FOR IT on a street corner in the middle of the day whom I encountered the other week. Those two need to shut. it. down. If you’ve been reading, you already know about my deodorant-obsessed first boyfriend but perhaps noticed no tales of a first kiss? Perhaps? Well, that’s because there was no kiss (thankfully.) That “special” moment was reserved for the summer after 8th grade. That’s probably PRETTY late. I get that. I understand. And we all need to deal with it and know that given my awkward social behavior, it was a real no-brainer.

My SECOND boyfriend, let’s call him Timmy (no relation to his real name, but I think the name Timmy is funny and a little tragic, like this story) and we were in love, I think. I base this on the fact that he gave my Cherry Chapstick once at a movie theater. And that is all I ever want, really. I have a chapstick addiction, and we were dating before it even started, so he was really ahead of the curve. All my friends at the movie (group date, clearly) thought it was very romantic. As did I.

So, one spring day we trek to the local elementary school fair where I win a goldfish which would go on to live for over a year and would be named Spot, because it had a spot. Its death would break my mother’s heart. After the fair, we headed to my friend “Sarah”‘s house, where she was hanging out with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend, whose name I THINK was actually Sacha, was in middle school despite being maybe 16 years old, had facial hair, and was a Russian drugdealer. I am making zero of this up. Suffice it to say, Timmy was impressed.

We all settled down to watch “Starship Troopers,” Sara and Sacha on an opposing couch very obviously doing things. Sexy things. It was gross, but fascinating. At one point Timmy leans over and whispers in my ear, “I wanna kiss you.” I think to myself, WE ARE IN LOVE! FUTURE HUSBAND (truly believed that, guys.) I AM EXCITED BUT MOSTLY NERVOUS. Maybe 10 minutes later, “the kiss” happens. It is disgusting, wet, and wrought with bad breath. I complete the movie by snuggling into the crook of his arm at such an angle that he cannot possibly kiss me again. And he never would. We broke up days later.

Still, I know I am beat by my friend who lost her v-card whilst watching “Spaceballs.” That’s alright.

Jana: I love the fact that your first kiss took place in such close proximity to a 16-year old Russian drug dealer/middle school student. He seems to embody, for me, what’s really beneath a first kiss: fear, darkness, danger, inappropriate behavior given maturity level, etc.

And my first kiss didn’t happen until I was 16 (REALLY edgin up on 17. It’s like I was in The Sound of Music, except it was 2003), so. Don’t feel too bad.

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Wiping Out

Catherine: Jana and I met, rather fatefully, in the UVM production of “Hair.” (SIDE NOTE: Jana had actually first seen me in a summer production of “Ragtime.” Upon seeing that I was going to UVM in my bio, Jana’s mother, Mary,  very smartly suggested that perhaps we might be friends? Jana’s response, in retelling the tale is something like, “Yea, SURE!” (sarcastically.) Mary, as it turns out, was 100% right and Jana was once again reminded of the fact that mothers do, often, have a tendency to know what’s what.)

SO ANYWAYS. There was one particular performance of “Hair” that sticks out but for the terribly humiliating moments it had in store for me. Before I get into it, I should state, briefly, my addiction to Chapstick. I always have it on me, as does Jana, so we are both addicts. It’s real, it’s an addiction, now let’s move on. Since I had a costume with  no good pockets to use, I was keeping the chapstick in my bra strap, where it would be warm, and safe (what could possibly go wrong?) In  the most dance heavy and choreographed number of the entire show, where the entire cast of 20 or so was in very rigid lines moving completely in sync, I spy out of the corner of my eye, a red cherry chapstick on the ground a few rows of people ahead of me. Not. Period. I had to pick it up because a) I needed it and b) If I didn’t, it might be onstage for the whole show where it would surely be seen. And so I ruined the entire dance as I rather scrambled to get it off the ground and back into its formerly safe haven. And I never wore chapstick onstage again, but rather hid one of both sides of backstage.

Later in that same show, I had to ride my bicycle across the U-shaped stage (we call that a THRUST, now you’ve learned something!). It was a dramatic moment, don’t let me dissuade you from thinking otherwise. Well, as I completed my second turn, I realized that I had not left myself enough room to clear the audience (the front row of which was at the same level as the stage). So I crashed. I crashed into a big pile of boxes and, subsequently, some audience members. Was it loud? OF COURSE IT WAS. IT WAS LOUDER THAN A SONIC BOOM, I AM PRETTY SURE. The bike landed on me and I played it off like, “what? oh yeah, oh yeah that was supposed to happen!” while inside I was all like, “My body hurts and I hope I am not bleeding on my costume and maybe nobody noticed?” Cautiously, I spied into the crowd where, not shockingly, all eyes were on me. I walked my bike offstage, where those in the wings had heard a SONIC BOOM and wanted to know what had happened? I told them and was met with pity, shock, shame, and bemusement. I wish to conclude by saying that I continued to have to ride my bike in 7 or so more shows. WHY I didn’t get taken off bike duty, I cannot say.

This was taken backstage. I can only assume it was before the bicycle incident, as I seem in generally good spirits.

Jana: I have a lot to say about this post. I choose the following: It is true that I first laid eyes on Cathy in a production of Ragtime, the summer before we were to attend the same university. It is also true that I was very disdainful of the idea that this random girl might one day be a friend of mine, because I was sure that I would not make ANY friends and that I would fail at college and probably have to drop out and live in my parent’s basement (these fears are really well-documented in the plot of a short story I wrote for my 12th grade creative writing final – I named the main character “Jane”).

Secondly, the chapstick addiction is real, it’s true. Unfortunately, since our “Hair” days Catherine has become much less diligent about keeping it nearby, whereas I have become more so. The result is that she relies on me to provide her with chapstick when we are together, which breeds resentment. Catherine – how do you even survive in LA without me?

And finally, IT’S TRUE THAT SHE FELL OFF HER BIKE DURING THE PERFORMANCE, and that it was really, really embarrassing. I was really embarrassed for her, even as I danced around in the tight pink pants I had been assigned as a costume. It did ruin the scene and it was insane. Testify.

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