In the 7th grade, I was skinny and slightly gangly. I had large rimmed, tortoiseshell glasses, and shiny silver braces (always with gray rubber bands). For some reason, I cut my hair cut to slightly above shoulder length, which was a poor choice, for me. It curled under in an unattractive fashion. My hairdo often involved putting half of my strands up into a ponytail at the crown of my head and then pushing the entire thing forward, creating an odd, offensive little bump of hair above my forehead.
I hadn’t yet realized that waxing was so easy, so accessible…so important. Consequently, I had substantial, Groucho Marxish eyebrows. We’re talking thick, thick fuckers (or shall I say fuckER, since there was a bridge of hair above my nose, connecting the two furry beasts. Look closely).
I was also quite mustached. YIKES. After having braces for a few months, my orthodontist gave me headgear. It was an old school metal contraption in which long, curved metal pieces were pushed through tiny holes on the brackets attached to your teeth, and a cloth strap held the metal piece in place, as it pulled your upper jaw back, leaving your teeth achey in the morning. Half of the time I would fall asleep with the headgear on, and then wake up in the middle of the night finding myself being stabbed in the neck by the metal pokey pieces; I would often rip out the headgear in my sleep. Looking back, that seems rather dangerous.
20 years later, I’m not too much less of a dork (I do, however, have a LOT less facial hair). I’m starting to think I may be turning into an Un-Sexy Sleeper. Much like in 7th grade, I am starting to accumulate horrible sleeping contraptions.
Un-Sexy Contraption # 1: Bite Guard. I clench my teeth, which likely accounts for the headaches I frequently wake up with. As a result, sometimes I will wear a bite guard. They really do help to lessen the headaches; I hate wearing them though, so avoid it unless absolutely necessary. What tends to happen is my jaw will be normal/relaxed, and over the course of a few weeks it will tighten up a little bit every day, until it gets to the point where just touching the joint that connects my mandible to my skull results in excruciating pain. (Today is one of those days, so I highly recommend that you don’t talk to me today.) Then, I’ll wear the bite guard for a week or two, until it is relaxed again. The cycle repeats. Why not just wear it every night? Issue #1 is that the thing is just effing annoying. I try asking my husband a question and a series of mumbles comes out. I have to suck up the spit before pulling it out from my mouth, and then hold it in my hand while talking to him. Not attractive. Issue #2: is that when I sleep on my side, many of the bite guards tend to create a pool of saliva that builds up and then spills out of my mouth. Wet. Gross. Issue #3 is that I eventually bite through the bite guard and have to buy a new one. I haven’t gotten one from the actual dentist yet – maybe those would last longer. Downside = they’re crazy expensive.
Un-Sexy Contraption # 2: Wrist Guards. We moved into our house a little over a year ago. The house had been a foreclosure, and the people who moved out left it completely begrimed. The carpets were soiled. There were tiny black handprints located 3 feet above the ground, around the perimeter of every room in the house. There were pieces of cut up straws scattered around (I wonder why they lost the house…) There were chocolate chips EVERYWHERE. After the
slobs family moved out, the house was vacant for over a year and a half, so a colony of spiders took over and created webs that had to be cut through with a machete every time you entered a room. After buying the house, I scrubbed the walls for a week straight, until the rags no longer came away black. We replaced all of the windows, the carpet, much of the plumbing, stripped off roomfuls of flowered wallpaper, removed mold, repaired holes in drywall, gutted and renovated bathrooms, and repainted every wall in the house.
The prep for painting included sanding all of the trim. I sanded trim for hours and hours. And hours. It killed me.
A result of this torturous act was that the muscles in my forearms turned into burning, feeble, mush. Finally, I refused to sand anymore, since I was literally injuring myself. (We ended up just painting over the unsanded trim and it turned out fine. That really pissed me off.) Ever since then, my forearms seem to become exhausted very easily. Recently, it got to the point that they were constantly hurting, and I had trouble typing or doing anything that required repetitive motion. I couldn’t even practice yoga as much as I wanted, and that totally freaked me out. I NEED YOGA. So I went to my OMM doctor and mentioned that I thought I might be getting carpal tunnel. Dr. Golden (yes, that is his real name) asked me what my symptoms were and checked my arms out. He said he didn’t think I had carpal tunnel, but he knew what the problem might be. He thought that when I slept, I was keeping my wrists bent very tightly, so my palm was next to my forearm, and the strain on my tendons was causing the pain. As soon as he said this I pictured myself settling in at night, (or when I woke up in the middle of the night), and I saw my wrists tucked tightly into my arms. Sometimes my wrist was tucked under my chin, sometimes under my shoulder. But yes, I was definitely doing this. I tried keeping my wrists straight, but found this to be incredibly difficult, so I started wearing wrist guards to bed. I felt immediate relief when I woke up, and even got a satisfying pop when I cracked my carpals in the morning.
Un-Sexy Contraption (?) # 3: Mismatched, Non-Pajama, Pajamas. This week is Homecoming week – and thus, Spirit Week, at the high school I work at. Each day students and staff can dress up in a
ridiculous pointless enthusiastic way to show their school spirit. (I dress up solely so I can wear jeans and tennis shoes). But, Tuesday of this week was Pajama Day. I thought about dressing up, but…my pajamas? To school? No freaking way. I wear scrubby blue sweatpants that have some mysterious stain on the right thigh (salsa? I do love my nachos…). They are too big, so I have to cinch them really tightly around the waist. If they come even a tad bit loose, they start to slide off and my bum crack may or may not emerge. On the top I wear a mismatched t-shirt from 1999, or, on a good day, maybe a mismatched tank top. Not school appropriate. As I eyed the students and teachers in their pajama wear, I realized that maybe I should make at least a tiny bit of effort in terms of looking a little less like a schlump when I sleep. I mean, I’m not striving to be a snoozing fashionista, but maybe I could…match. Or, maybe I could wear pajamas that fit properly. A new pair of pjs, combined with the occasional non-usage of Un-Sexy Contraptions 1 and 2, could go a long way in ensuring I don’t turn into the Un-Sexy Sleeper. Even though my husband loves me as I am, he might appreciate this gesture.