5

Twenty Questions for That’s So Jacob

One of the most curious places on the Internet is Yahoo! Answers. Even though Yahoo! has been on a decline since the 1990s, but for some reason, Yahoo! Answers is still there. And people are still asking questions, every day, big and small. I haven’t yet asked any, but I’ve answered a few.

But tonight, I’ve decided to answer a few more.

I’m going to go on the site, answer the first twenty questions that come up, to the best of my ability, and post the responses here.

1. Michael asks:

Hi, I ordered a skateboard deck from amazon and the trackijg info on amazon shows the seller shipped the packaged today and the provided a tracking number. Below the tracking number in the status section it says 
We’re sorry. “We are unable to retrieve more tracking details for this shipment.” So I took the tracking number provided and checked all of the shipping companies and none recognized the tracking number. The company that’s listed on amazon as being used for shipping is FedEx SmartPost. I even called FedEx and they said they can’t see any package in their system. Why is my tracking number not recognized by FedEx tracking system and why doesn’t amazon have any info on its whereabouts?

Dear Michael,

Some things in life are meant to be mysteries.

All kidding aside though, sometimes it takes a day or two for the number to come up in the system. Other times, I’ve received things I’ve ordered online with that same message, and they’ve just shown up anyway.

2. Kayla asks:

I recently bought biotin at target because I heard it helped hair and nail growth. But then I further researched before taking the pills and I heard that it makes you break out in pimples. Are these true?

Dear Kayla,

I have no idea. I would probably rather rely on nature if I had a problem like that.

3. Alysha asks:

I have a membership card for Hot Topic that gives me points when I buy stuff or even visit a store. I was wondering if there are other stores with the same kind of cards? And if there, can anyone tell me? 

This is not a credit card by the way. It just gives me points so I can get discounts later or access to member events. I do not want credit cards or anything like that lol. Just ones that I get points for and get discounts later.

Dear Alysha,

Absolutely! So many stores have membership or rewards cards program. Starbucks has a membership rewards program as well, where you can download an app to get free drinks. Check your local supermarket to see if they have a club. Look at your favorite stores’ websites for more information.

4. Stephanie asks:

Like, I don’t get the difference between foundation and concealer. Okay, maybe. Foundation I think makes like the skin glow and give a pretty skin color look? And concealer might like cover acne and stuff? I don’t know!! I also don’t get like how people put it on. Makeup, I mean, basically. Like their routine, pretty much. I just put on makeup twice or once a week. I get foundation, smear it on and put on masara, a bit of eyeshadow and face powder. I don’t even know if I even do it right or not. Can someone just tell me how you put various products on, before or after another product? Makeup routines? The right way to put makeup on? Thanks!

Dear Stephanie,

One word: YouTube. Search for “makeup tutorials.” Cheaper than a fashion magazine!

5. James asks:

I feel betrayed and I don’t know what to do. This all happened a few days ago and ever since that day, I became very antisocial and did activities by myself. This is not how I wanted my summer to start -.-

Dear James,

Sounds like rough stuff. If my friends betrayed me, I’d ask myself…did I really want to be friends with them in the first place?

6. Jill asks:

I’ve read many times that regular makeup (oil based and creme makeups like Cover Girl and all those popular commercial brands) will not stick to silicone surfaces and look discolored, I understand that only silicone sticks to silicone. I learned that the best way to color silicone is alcohol-based makeup palettes, however, if silicone sticks to itself than would using silicone based makeup work? Like the Temptu brand or any other brands that use silicone in their foundations? It makes sense to me but I can’t find any information anywhere that it would work. If anyone does know, would this last over silicone all day and keep it’s color? Thanks very much.

Dear Jill,

I’d definitely say a silicone based makeup. Also, I think many spray products (spray tan, etc) use silicone.

7. Kiiashi asks:

My daughter is 6 months old and has been cutting her teeth in recently. Two are fully cut now and she’s cutting 2 more. Is she too young for me to brush her teeth now that she’s getting some in or do they need to be a certain age first?

Dear Kiiashi,

I was at Target recently and saw that in the baby care section, they have training toothbrushes that are small and soft. You could probably look at the age range on the back of them. Also, if she is not eating solid food, I guess that she’s not at risk of staining them with anything. Best of luck with your dental hygiene quest!

8. Naz asks:

Made a hair mask from Coconut oil, 1 egg, and vanilla/banana yogurt. 
Can I leave it in my hair overnight? 
Don’t normally use yogurt.

Dear Naz,

Put a shower cap on it, and in the morning you can pour it in a bowl for breakfast!

9: Holland asks:

Dorothea 

Theodora 

Ilithiya / Eilithia (pronounced, ill-ith-ee-ah & is a real greek girls name) my personal favorite 🙂 

I know Ilithiya is difficult to spell and pronounce but keep in mind we WILL be calling her Thea.

Dear Holland,

All those names are very nice! But remember, she’ll have to use that name on her college applications, credit cards, and when calling US Airways to book tickets to see her grandparents in Athens. I love the name Eleutheria, it’s Greek for “freedom” and she could be called Thea. There’s also Althea, Mathea, or even Cynthia. Whatever name you choose, she’ll still be your adorable daughter.

10. Kevin asks:

Where to get locator chip installed in my child?

Dear Kevin,

North Korea?

11. Colleen asks:

Do i need a work permit in the summer?!?! Im looking for a job (any job suggestions will be fantastic as well. Im a 15 year old girl in georgia)

Dear Colleen,

I had a summer job as a 15-year-old in Maryland. I got a work permit through a woman who was a secretary at my junior high school, who was also a notary. Popular jobs for teenagers include lifeguarding, babysitting, lawn mowing, deck washing, or tutoring kids. Good luck!

12. Lisa asks:

‘She have aids so I didn’t ask her out’ does this sentence make sense? Or should it be she got aids…?

Dear Lisa,

In this case, it’s past tense. “She had AIDS, so I didn’t ask her out.”

13. Sonja asks:

Favorite book?

Dear Sonja,

All of them.

14. Niamh asks:

It’s sunday morning and i have done an all nighter, will this effect my sleeping pattern as i have school tomorrow (monday) and i have to get up at 6;00, please help me out, if you have any tips on what i should do, please dont hesitate to give me advice.

Dear Niamh,

Sleep is important for restoring the body and aiding mental strength. Be careful and try to avoid too much sugar/caffeine lest you “crash” later.

15. Jacob asks:

I don’t really know what it’s called or how to fix it but if I do something stupid and embarrassing like everyone does eventually I will literally obsess over it for days and it drives me crazy…. any idea how to fix this

Dear Jacob,

First of all, awesome name. Second of all, you might have a type of OCD. I’m not a doctor, but remember…people won’t remember the things you did but how you made them feel.

16. Newty asks:

My friend is having problems reading and listen, some time he loose his consciousness for a seconds and comes back to normal. Is this something to do with neuroscience. What diagnosis should i suggest to him. He says that he has to read at least 3-4 times to understand the contents and he doesn’t like reading more lines as he get distracted soon. Also he finds himself distract when somebody is talking to him he misses out many points that were told to him.

Dear Newty,

I’d suggest focusing. No TV, no music, no interesting things in the room or on the walls or out the window. Maya Angelou used to write in a hotel room and request all the paintings be taken off the walls.

17. Jasmine asks:

I absolutely love people and wish I could easily talk to people. I’m 14 years old and had such bad social anxiety I had to be put into homeschool in 7th grade because I was fainting from anxiety attacks everytime I stepped within 60 feet of someone. I still am in homeschool and it’s just depressing to me that I don’t get to have the same experiences with friends and relationships as other teenagers. I’ve talked to people i’ve known since elementary school online and they say things like “we should catch up” and I say “yeah sure” and never get back to them. I’ve even canceled dates. It’s mostly because I feel weird looking and just well, weird in general. I don’t share much interest in things that other people do. I’m short (only 5’2), i’m curvy (not fat I have a flat stomach but a big butt and thighs), I have a weird face shape, I don’t dress very fancy just a tshirt and skinny jeans, I can’t even have small talk or be looked at without choking. It’s just horrible. Is there any advice anyone could give me to try to tackle this whatsoever?

Dear Jasmine,

I’m so sorry you’re suffering. I have had depression and social anxiety all my life, and I’ve tried a lot of things, and honestly, it’s different for every person. For me, it’s been finding out who I am, what I’m good at, and what I like/dislike; a strong sense of self is important, and in learning about yourself you might learn about others. I have good and bad days, but my best days are ones when I go out and do activities I like. Maybe joining a youth group or Girl Scouts would help you meet new friends your own age; don’t rely on the Internet. It’s summer, and I’m sure there are plenty of activities around you…look into taking a class in dance, acting, or public speaking, or audition for a local community theatre production. As far as inside of you, taking meds is not a shameful thing; seeing a psychiatrist might be beneficial. If none of these things feel possible for you yet, just do something small and creative, like a silly YouTube video or a funny blog; I have one. Good luck with things and remember you’re not alone.

18. Olivia asks:

I’m 14 turning 15 in a few months. I am really interested in modeling and acting. I have been for a few years. I have also started running to lose weight and working out. I have blonde medium length curly hair and blue eyes.
I’m about 5.5″ (that was a few months ago) and I’m close to Toronto Area.
I just need advice on how I could “break in” to the world persay. Also, both my parents work so they would not be able to stay on set or a shoot. Would this mean I would have to wait until I am of legal age to model/act? Is there any chance for me if I don’t have community theatre in my town (and the closest one is Musical which I strongly dislike)? And how could I model for companies like Garage, Walmart, etc? How would I find a legit agency? And would I have to pay them money or is it a scam?
Thanks to everyone who takes the time to answer!

Dear Olivia,

First of all, be VERY careful. Have a parent or older relative (aunt/uncle/sister/brother) with you, you never know who wants what.

Second of all, I think a lot modeling/acting “schools” are scams. Self-promotion is so easy in this day and age. Make a website and a resume, and a passport photo place could take a very nice and inexpensive photo; many high fashion models do their first series of headshots au naturel/very little makeup, looking straight at the camera expressionless. A white top makes it extra elegant. Camera phones have also evolved to take great pictures.

Third, I am sure you could act locally with your parents’ permission and possibly a waiver.

Fourth, if you live near a college/university, contact their theatre department; students are always looking for readers/actors.

19. Christina asks:

So I’m visiting my long distance boyfriend soon and I’m staying with him at his parnents house. (Both 18 by the way) anyways I got a blank thank you card with a gift card to his parent’s favorite resturant. How do I express my thankfulness to them? I’m not good at putting words that I express together. Thank you!

Dear Christina,

How about: Dear Mr and Mrs Jones:
Thank you so much for your hospitality. Please accept this gift as a token of appreciation for opening your home and your heart to me.
Yours truly,
Christina

20. D asks:

I’ve been getting a lot of social and mental problems lately and I feel I need to see a psychologist about it. I’m not wanting to meet one in person, I just want to be able to email one and ask for help in that way. Does anyone know any good psychologist sites and ones where I can email? Thanks 🙂

Dear D,

http://www.psychologytoday.com connected me to someone who really helped me a lot. Good luck!

You got questions?

I got answers.

Ask me.

Advertisements
2

My Next Two Weeks, By the Numbers

I’m feeling stressed and sad today; I had brunch and dinner with friends, but for some reason I still feel like I’m in a rut.

Maybe if I write down everything – absolutely everything – that’s going on in the next two weeks for me, I’ll feel better. I’ve been trying to avoid doing stuff like this in this blog, but if it exists somewhere, maybe it’ll help me compartmentalize it.

Courses: 4

Class sessions: 6

Political Science classes: 2 with work

Theatre classes: 1 with work, 1 of presentations

History classes: 2 with presentations

English classes: 0

Book reviews: 1

Final papers: 4

APO events: 2, plus CAPS and Formal

Articles to read for tomorrow: 7

Days until Theatre presentation: 9

Days until History presentation: 10

Days until English final is due: 12 (ish)

Days until Political Science final is due: 15

Days until History final is due: 17

Days until Theatre final is due: 18

This is my life.

9

April 25th

Whoever said that thing about art imitating life was dead right.

As many people know, I do suffer from depression. It gets me down sometimes…well, actually that’s what depression is. I don’t think I need to go much more into detail about what it is. I don’t like to talk, write, or even think about it.

Sometimes I feel sad, sometimes I feel anxious, sometimes I feel heavy feelings, that’s all normal and okay. But every once in a while, I have a day where I feel numbed from the pain in a spooky way, like I’m living in a fugue state. I’m going and going, but my emotions aren’t going in the same direction. I want to smile and laugh and in short bursts I can, and these things sometimes tend to happen when I’m doing something social and normal-person-like, and I’ll want to withdraw into myself, when normally, I’m all about the fun. I fake it until I make it, and most days I even convince myself that everything’s okay, but then there are days like today, not quite lemonade and jelly beans, but more like…April 25th. Not too hot, not too cold. But overall, sluggish in pace. It’s on days like today when I’m the least productive, and where my couch and my bed are the only two places my mind and body want to be, although sleeping, eating and schoolwork are usually not in the plans. It’s watching videos on the Internet, watching TV, playing a game, staring at a book, a wall, or outer space. And by the time I get myself in gear, I’m late, or I forget something, and then I feel it even more.

I wish my apartment with a bathtub.

A hot bubble bath would be nice right now.

Will you massage my scalp?

Oh, and for the record, it was 66 degrees and slightly breezy in Madison today, with plenty of sunshine; a cruel shame that something inside me pulled me inward, keeping me from enjoying it.

But tomorrow is April 26.

4

Lemonade and Jelly Beans Day

Every once-in-a-while, I have a day that I call Lemonade and Jelly Beans Day.

And today was one of those days.

A Lemonade and Jelly Beans Day is not a good day, a bad day, or a neutral day. It’s one of those days that starts out with some rottenness, is usually dreary, and something good happens, but it’s not enough to turn the day around. Well, the good thing that happened to me today will have some long-lasting effects, but I’ll talk about those another time.

The provenance of Lemonade and Jelly Beans Day occurred in October 2009 in Jerusalem, Israel. I can’t exactly remember what set me off, but I was still living in the WUJS apartment so it couldn’t have been a good day, period. I remember that it was raining, which is normally a bummer, but makes everyone calm and happy in drought-stricken Israel, and softens the rougher edges of the world. It’s more of an act of purification than anything else. Plus, it makes everything beautiful. That day, I slept in, and when I woke up, my heart was sinking in my chest, heavy like a bag of sand. Which, ironically, was heavier knowing that it would have to face the rain. I wasn’t tired, hungry, or motivated to do anything. And then a feeling crept up on me.

I needed lemonade and jelly beans.

Right now.

Even though those are two foods I don’t enjoy on a regular basis, I strolled through the rain down to the makolet, which, fortunately for me, had some Minute Maid bottled lemonade and Jelly Belly Sours. Double yes, went my brain. Back at home, I settled back into my bed, my computer in front of me, and cracked open the drink. The lemony goodness washed down my throat, and when I bit into each jelly bean, the sour tang tickled my taste buds, validating all the sour thoughts and feelings that were going through me, and typed “it’s a lemonade and jelly beans type of day.”

Though I didn’t end up getting lemonade and jelly beans today, I certainly felt a bit deflated as I went about my daily routine, even passing up gym time to go home and hit the studying, hard, which was kind of good, I guess, since it got me to get some of my stuff done.

Each time I have one of these days, some other odd compulsion comes out, and for some reason, today, it was 90s one-hit-wonder group Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On” doubling as the soundtrack. There’s just something about Wendy, Chynna, and Carnie singing lyrics like “I know this pain/Why do lock yourself up in these chains?/No one can change your life except for you/Don’t ever let anyone step all over you/Just open your heart and your mind/Is it really fair to feel this way inside?” It’s like a damp dishcloth for your soul, complete with a wacky bass line and banal, inoffensive lyrics that essentially talk about nothing. Sometimes it’s a horrible song, sometimes it’s my jam, but today, it’s like my special friend, or guardian angel, if you believe in that sort of thing.

Everyone has a lemonade and jelly beans day once in a while, where you’re not at your best, and that’s okay. Again, it’s not happy, but it’s not necessarily sad – more like subtle, subdued, low-key, teetering between anxiety and calm.

I feel a little better now.

3

Let It Grow or Let It Go

As I opened WordPress on my iPad to start today’s (11:30 PM – crap) entry, the song to come through the earbuds amidst the chatter of the Saturday night crowd at Glass Nickel Pizza Co., is “Let It Go,” from Disney’s Frozen, AKA the best new song that everyone is (rightfully) going gaga over.

My Florida trip as well as the past 48 hours of being home without very much human interaction brought back my anxieties and fears, big time, preventing me from getting my work done (well, that and the fact that I left one of my textbooks in Florida and have to hunt down another copy at the library tomorrow). The usual fears; schoolwork, life, friendship. These are the anxieties that make me stare into walls, pick at a scab on my heel until it bleeds, pare my nails, and on the whole, take down my confidence.

Confidence is a tricky thing; it can help you reach your goals, but you shouldn’t have too much of it, only in moderation. Having a whole lot of inner confidence can help you shine on the outside, even when you don’t feel particularly positive. Knowing who you are, and what you love and why you love it, and allowing that feeling to emanate throughout your body, that’s true confidence and it’s tricky to achieve. Sometimes, people mistake a lack of outer effervescence for a lack of confidence or self-esteem, but sometimes you don’t need to assert yourself. It is okay to celebrate being you, because you are the best you that there is. When I doubt myself, it hampers my ability to function. But I just have to keep reminding myself to let it go, just like the song says, and focus on my power inside.

There’s a phrase that I heard somewhere along the line, what you focus on grows. It’s a corny phrase, and of course my dirty mind goes straight to the innuendo, but if you look at yourself in a better light, as a dreamer, a believer, a human…(now, “Under the Sea” is playing, so my thoughts are temporarily interrupted by singing sea creatures)..,okay, well the song’s not over yet, but grabbing back on to that previous train of thought, what you focus on does grow. The more I replay a scenario in my head, the bigger it gets. So if you just focus on being a good person, the positive attributes will grow and overpower the bad and sad thoughts, making them the plebeian, shoddily-made cloth finger puppets of your psyche rather than the complicated connections of bones, muscles, and tissues, that make up your essence as a puppet of your own design, controlled by all the processes that magically fit together to make a human being.

Taking a step back…sometimes that’s just what is necessary, to take a step back. Just today, A friend of mine posted a one-liner on Facebook that made me giggle, and I told myself “okay, I’ve gotta comment on this with a zinger.”

So I clicked.
And I thought.
And I waited for a thought to come to me.
And I started typing something…but then realized all the ways it could be misconstrued.
So I deleted it, and started typing something else…before retracting that.

Ultimately, I wasted about five solid minutes just staring at that dialogue box, “leave a comment” leering at me through the bared teeth of Facebook on iPad.

And I didn’t post anything.

Sometimes you don’t need to have your say on everything, mark your territory, get in the last word. If you have something to add, put it in focus and let it grow, or take a step back and let it go.

Exactly one post down was another keen observation made by another friend, and on that one, the appropriate response came to my mind fully formed, and took me mere seconds to post, without a second thought.

Now, that moment has come where I can’t think of anything more to say, so I’ll end this post for tonight with this message:

If you want to post a comment, do so, and let it grow.
If you’ve read this far and the moment doesn’t come to you, just press like and let it go.
I won’t be offended either way.

0

Oversaid Fines

Here’s a good one.

There is a three-word phrase that you probably say just about every day of your life, whether it’s to yourself or to someone else. It’s not “I love you,” and it’s not “f my life” but to me, it’s just as overstated and meaningless.

What do you typically say to a good friend who is:

  • Struggling with school?
  • Nervous about searching for employment?
  • Scared of dying alone?
  • About to embark on a big trip?
  • Having wedding-day jitters?
  • Undergoing stage fright right before the show’s opening?
  • Has been trying and trying and trying but failing?
  • Has lost faith in himself?
  • Has lost faith in everything?

If you’re like most of the world, the response in your head at this point is something like:

“You’ll be fine.”

BUT WILL I BE?

It seems to be the catch-all answer these days.

I first noticed it being used more frequently last year in Houston, when struggling to complete my coursework and my master’s thesis. My professors used it as a clap-on-the-shoulder, “I have to do something else but I want to end this conversation on a positive note even though it may or may not be true.” My parents have used it in pretty much every conversation about anything I’ve been nervous about over the past year, from moving to a new apartment in a new city, attending a new school, and eating yogurt after its expiration date. I’ve heard it from friends, family members, doctors, teachers, and even acquaintances. Over the past few days, I’ve heard it said to me about a hundred times and have even resorted to using it myself.

But what does it mean? What does “fine” actually mean? Where’s the context?

“Fine” can mean so many different things. It can be used as a brief explanation to someone that you aren’t dying, it can be used to express happiness, it can be used to express disinterest. It can also be used ironically, to show disgust or annoyance. It’s one of those words that if you say it too many times, it loses all meaning. “Fine” can mean physically healthy, emotionally healthy, mentally healthy, safe, having money, or any combination of the above. Once upon a time, saying you’re “fine” meant that everything was going 100% smoothly and well in your life, but now, even if everything is completely out of whack, you can just say it and no one will suspect a thing since our sensibilities can no longer handle transparency anymore.

Here’s the way I see it…

My dad has a client who happens to be a very high-strung woman in her 70s. Let’s call her Doris. Doris is a wife, mother, and grandmother, with a college education, an incredible high-profile career, and so many friends that she can’t fit them all into her apartment for get-togethers. She’s the exact opposite of a cat lady – respected, honored, and leads an active social and professional life that would be envied by most. Plus, she’s friendly, fashionable, and charming. Whenever Doris and my dad talk, she’s usually fretting about something money-related, like her paycheck (from her contracts from which she works, which is hit-and-miss but lucrative when she’s working), her social security (which she hasn’t yet started claiming) or her will (and despite a physical disability, she’s in great shape for her age). And it’s always the same tone with her – at level 10. From the way she talks and how she describes herself, you’d think she’d be a step away from being evicted and that her next meal might come from a dumpster behind a Taco Bell. I, myself, am not privy to details about Doris’ financial situation; needless to say, I think that despite her paranoia she’s got a lot of bases covered to sustain emotionally, physically, and financially for the rest of her life. I don’t know if she chooses to see herself that way, or if she actually does, but either way, her self-perception is completely untrue. And every time my dad talks to her (and about her, outside the office) he says that she’ll be fine. 

That I can go for. That’s what being fine means to me – she’s already lived a full and happy life and continues to live it even as I type this entry when I should be studying. She has the money she needs, friends and family who love her, all her mental and almost all her physical faculties, and finds new things to love every day.

Basically, I dream of having a life like that.

However…that’s not the case with me. I’m a constant worrier, yes, and I do over-analyze a lot, but let’s get real here. I struggle every day in a different way. Most of the time, I am not fine. Big or small, and whether I know it or not, I feel like there’s something that’s always not right. Will I be fine in my life? With God’s blessing and no major catastrophes, yes. Will I be fine this minute? No, not necessarily. I am safe, I’m not even unhappy, yet there’s a falling-quicksand sensation in my brain that not everything is all right.

Will I be fine?

You don’t know. I don’t know. I hope so.

In the future, when someone says then to me, I’ll continue to accept it, given the large amount of possible subtext lying beneath the phrase. As to whether I’ll believe it or not, that depends on how I’m feeling that day. The fact of the matter: sometimes it’s hard to believe it, it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility. Sometimes it helps to hear, but sometimes it doesn’t. Let your actions speak louder than your words, but don’t let your words slide down.

This was a particularly long and heavy post, so here’s an audiovisual representation of how I usually feel when you say this to me, with a special thanks to Whitney Houston: