Dermabrasion: The Hallmark of Alien Visitation


A few days ago, I woke up with a scar on my forearm. I didn’t notice it until I was showering. I was running the soap over my arm and suddenly I was all Huh. My arm burns. That’s weird. My other arm doesn’t burn. Let me turn my arm around and have a look at thWHA??? OH. MY. GOD. THEY’VE BEEN HERE. THE ALIENS. THEY CAME IN THE NIGHT. THEY’VE SCARRED WITH THEIR HORRIBLE MEDICAL EXAMS.

And I wonder why I’ve been suffering from adrenal exhaustion.

It’s in my nature to worry. I worry about everything. I get worked up about things that normal people don’t even think about. Like whether or not all the knife blades are facing the same way when we set the dinner table for guests. Or whether or not my riding gloves are next to my bike helmet in the garage. Or that there is one lone sock without a mate in CLH’s sock drawer. It literally keeps me up at night.

The height of my pent-up anxiety usually hits me just as I am getting ready for bed. The time when most people are thinking things like, Oh boy, I sure am excited to sleep in that big ol‘ bed. I can’t wait to get under the covers and dream abou—-zzzzzzz. You see? That’s how most people fall asleep: mid-thought, probably with their mouths open, with little pools of drool threatening to soak their pillowcases, their fists all curled tightly around their heads, their bodies nestled between billowy folds of down comforter and an array of pillows.

Not me. My thoughts as I lay down to sleep in the dark sound more like OMIGOD. OH. MY. GOD. WHAT WAS THAT NOISE? IS THE NEIGHBOR’S CAT IN THE DRYER? SHIT. DID I LET THAT CAT INTO THE LAUNDRY ROOM? IS SOMEONE KICKING IN THE FRONT DOOR? SHIIIIIIIIIT. FUCK. WHERE ARE MY PHOTO ALBUMS? BECAUSE IF THAT’S NOT A CAT IN THE DRYER OR A PREDATOR AT THE DOOR, THEN WE’RE HAVING AN EARTHQUAKE, AND I REALLY NEED TO BE ABLE TO GET AT MY PHOTO ALBUMS. SHIIIIIT. FUCK. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO RUN FOR THE OREGON BORDER. ON FOOT. IN OUR PAJAMAS. IN THE DARK. IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER. AND I WILL NOT GO WITHOUT MY PHOTO ALBUMS. AND MY JOURNALS FROM THE FIFTH GRADE. AND, OH SHIIIIT. A NEWS CREW IS GOING TO WANT TO INTERVIEW ME ABOUT HOW I KNEW TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE SO SOON AND I’M PROBABLY GOING TO SOUND LIKE AN IDIOT ON FILM AND HAVE SEAWEED STUCK BETWEEN MY TEETH BECAUSE THAT’S THE LAST THING I ATE BEFORE BED- AGAIN! BECAUSE I WAS HUNGRY! AND I LIKE SEAWEED, OKAY!?- AND I’M GOING TO WEIGH LIKE 500 POUNDS ONE DAY BECAUSE I SNACK BEFORE BED AND OPRAH SAYS THE NUMBER ONE REASON FOR WEIGHT GAIN IS EATING AFTER 7 PM, AND –

I’m going to cut it off right there because I could go on forever and there’s only so many lines of capital letters one should have to read before one is convinced that I should be injected with horse tranquilizer after 10 pm.

The night before I acquired this mystery scar, I asked CLH about aliens. I asked him because, well, I wondered if the things that kept him awake at night were the same things that kept me awake at night. Not that I spend nights thinking about aliens, per se, or that they are the only things keeping me awake at night (no, what keeps me awake at night most of the time are all sorts of apocalyptic scenes in which we have to run for our lives because the bomb’s just been dropped and somehow just he and I have escaped total annihilation and now we have to decide what to pack as we paddle across the newly liquefied landscape to start our lives over on another continent: my memory box from third grade or a jar of dried mung beans.)

The only reason I asked him about aliens was because there was something about the way the streetlight was shining in through the slats of the venetian blinds in our bedroom. The light looked all fuzzy and oval-shaped, and, well, a lot like a flying saucer. And I hadn’t thought about flying saucers in a real long time. Not since that PBS special in December of 1987 that gave me nightmares for weeks and convinced me that I could see a little gray man with huge ovoid eyes standing RIGHT behind me in the reflection of the glass ornaments hanging on our Christmas tree.

Anywho, I decided to ask CLH about what he thought about the idea of aliens.

The conversation went a little like this:

Me: Do you ever think about aliens?

CLH: Do I ever think about aliens?

Me: Yeah, aliens.

CLH: Um, no, sweets. I don’t think about aliens. Not the way you do, anyway.

Me: What’s that supposed to mean?

CLH: (Looks at me the one might look at a child who has just said something supremely naive, but in a cute way) Your imagination. You let it get the better of you. I don’t believe in aliens because (insert boring, logical reasons why reasonable adults do not believe in gray beings from another planet while I drift off into a reverie about what it would be like to be inside an alien spaceship. Cut to scene of blinking wall of important looking dials backlit with blue light. An operating table sits center stage. I am shackled to a gurney and wearing a flimsy paper gown. Two gray beings in lab coats exchange telepathic messages and then one flicks a 12 inch hypodermic needle and walks slowly toward the gurney). And that’s why I don’t believe in aliens.

Me: Wait. What?

CLH:… (pats me on the thigh, sighs heavily, and rolls over on his side.)

Me: (Snuggling down next to CLH and staring up at the venetian blinds) That’s why I love you. Because you’re not afraid of aliens. You’re like the rock in this relationship. You talk me down out of every tree I climb into. I really appreciate you. You know that?

CLH: Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about guilt and perfectionism (the roots, I believe, of my anxiety and depression) and the things that plague women that don’t seem to bother men. And I’ve been thinking about how much worrying I do about things I cannot control (like being probed by fictional creatures in the night). I’ve been thinking (this is new only to me, not to the world) that I can actually control the nutball things I lay in bed worrying over, writhing in agony, awake for hours on end. I’ve also been thinking about the guilt I carry around for REALLY DUMB THINGS. Like not posting to this blog. I beat myself up quite a bit for not posting. And for not writing more in general. The guilt makes me ashamed to show my face (on my own blog, for chrissakes). So I don’t post. And then I feel guilty about not posting, so I stay away even longer. And as we all know, that cycle of inaction, guilt over inaction, and more inaction is a hard one to break. Just ask my deflated adrenal glands.

But, I’m working on it. I’m working on being a touch more forgiving of myself. I mean, I AM RUNNING A BUSINESS and all. And I do most of the cooking and meal planning in our house. And some of the laundry. And I have an active social life. The point is that I have other things to attend to, things like a full time job on the weekdays, a luxury that allows me to sit around unshowered in a Snuggie all Sunday afternoon and tell you about bizarre scars that form in the middle of the night on my forearms. So, I’m going to go easy on myself from now on.

And I’m definitely going to close the venetian blinds ALL the way before I go to bed.