Good News :)

The following email just appeared in my inbox. The result was lots of screaming and jumping and screaming and  dancing. And a little more screaming.

Dear Melissa,

After an extensive review by two committees followed by careful deliberation by Dean Wynn Stirling, you have been chosen to receive the Graduate Research Fellowship award in the amount of $15,000.  Attached please find your award letter discussing the conditions of this award.  Please let me know if you have any questions regarding the attached letter or the fellowship award in general.

Congratulations on this great accomplishment.  Less than 30% of the applications we received were awarded monies, so you are to be commended for your excellent proposal.

Have a nice day.


(More screaming and dancing. I'm sure the entire 5th floor of the Widstoe building is now aware of my elation!)


Feeling Uninspired

I have quite a bit of free time this summer. I live alone, and my class 'load' consists of a golf class and a yoga class. I do research for my thesis. I TA a pathophysiology class. I coach a softball team. But mostly I spend lots of time entertaining myself in the quiet of my living room. Lately this entertainment has been mostly in the form of books (material for a future post) but I also spend time online reading blogs, facebook stalking cute boys, checking email, and browsing Pinterest.

In my casual perusal of Pinterest, I have become exposed to a phenomenon I wasn't aware existed until recently. It is also a phenomenon that I despise with my whole soul. It's called "thinspiration." And it's disgusting.

Pictures like these are often accompanied by sayings like "sweat is fat crying" or "pain is weakness leaving the body."

These pictures are not real, and they are not realistic. These women are not healthy. Few, if any, of these women have regular menstrual cycles. In other words, their bodies have made the executive decision that they no longer have enough nutrients and fuel to sustain one life, let alone two.

I study obesity and TA a class about disease. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that a few times. I know as well as anyone the risks involved in being overweight or obese. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, etc. But I also know that an estimated 24 million Americans suffer from eating disorders. About 90% of those 24 million Americans are girls and women. Many of them will never be able to have children because of the damage their eating disorder causes to their reproductive system. Many of them will die from complications caused by their eating disorder.

This is not okay. If you are guilty of perpetuating false ideas about what fit, healthy or beautiful looks like, shame on you. The next time you're tempted to 'pin' some 'inspirational' piece of garbage, remember that your physical body is a gift from God, and he expects you to treat it like the temple it is. If you struggle with an eating disorder, please PLEASE get help.


Third Time's a Charm; or The Vindicated Anti-social

***Warning: this post contains a bit of gore. Proceed with caution.***

My first trip to the emergency room was when I was around the age of ten. It was dark and I was chasing my cousin Sam around my grandma's tree. I didn't see the bird bath hanging from a low branch and ran right into it. It cut the skin next to my eye, so we slapped a washcloth on it and went to the ER. The doctor insisted that stitches weren't necessary because it wasn't going to scar. In the end he was wrong, but I didn't mind much at the time because I had successfully avoided being prodded repeatedly with a needle.

My second trip to the emergency room was when I was about 17. I was slicing an apple while at Girls' Camp and the knife slipped, making a thin but deep incision at the base of my index finger. I went in search of a bandaid, but when one of the men supervising the camp saw the blood and came to investigate, he insisted I be taken for stitches. The camp nurse cleaned and bandaged the cut and we set off back toward civilization where we met my mom at the ER. When the doctor unwrapped my hand to clean and put in stitches, the cut had closed by itself. The only evidence that I'd had a cut at all was the blood all over the bandages. I was, again, relieved at not having to be sewn back together.

Last night I took my third trip to the emergency room. This time, I wasn't so lucky.

Some people in my ward were gathering to play 'Ultimate Frisbee.' As a general rule, I avoid such gatherings because a) I am an avowed recluse and don't like people, b) I am terrible at Ultimate, and c) I make a point of not doing things I am horrible at in front of other people. I was in my kitchen loading the dishwasher when there was a knock at my door and I received a personal invitation. So I thought, 'What could it hurt? My book can wait....and human interaction might be good for me.' Famous last words...

The frisbee had been thrown approximately once when I collided, face-first, with Frank.* We both stumbled back and I felt something wet and vaguely sticky on my face. Blood.

So the girl who had driven us to the park brought me and Frank back to my apartment. I grabbed my wallet with insurance information, a washcloth and snapped a few pictures before we left for the ER.

About 1.5 hours and five stitches later, I was good to go home. The stitching experience wasn't nearly as terrible as I'd imagined it would be. The worst part was having the side of my face get numbed. I hate being numb.

This is right after I got home. Some of the stuff they injected me with made my eyelid swell so much that it was pretty hard to open my eye. Also, I think that a lot of the 'bruising' in this picture is probably just smeared makeup.

Here's what it looks like this morning.

Still a little puffy, but definitely not as colorful.

A silver lining from this experience: my girls are going to think I'm so tough at practice tonight.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent. Also, he apologized like 5 million times, so it wouldn't really be fair to demonize him on my blog.


Little League

To my great delight, I am coaching a little league softball team this summer comprised of 9 and 10 year old girls. They are a chatty, silly, energetic bunch and so far we've had a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, while I am busy coaching it's very difficult to snap photos. So you'll just have to take my word for it for now until I find a willing photographer.

Today was our first game. We played pretty well.....even if we didn't win. I think I probably learned more than the girls today, and I'll be adjusting my coaching strategies accordingly.

I did manage to snap this yes-I-used-self-timer-because-I-live-alone-and-have-no-friends photo of myself pre-game so you can all see how official I look as a coach. Which is pretty official, if I do say so myself.