Monday, August 25, 2008


I didn't say you stole that money. It's funny how putting stress on different words in that sentence could completely change the meaning. Back in Chase, I was told that I had good stress and intonation in my speech and I used it to make people laugh. English is a stress-timed language, my trainer said and this would set me apart from my wave mates.

A year later, I find myself in her shoes talking about stress. Syllable stress (or-ganization!), word stress(I have a pen!), it all means the same thing: stress. I don't really know what this has to do with what I'm about to talk about but I guess it's nice to start with a story from work since work's what brought me here in the first place.

After the most stressful couple of weeks in my life, I've survived two demos, four classes, and a concussion. I didn't really elaborate on it but I mentioned in a multiply album that I fell down the stairs and landed on my head. Yes, I'm still alive, thank you very much.

I'd be lying if I said it ends there. Looking at the mirror, I see that the days have not been kind. The months I spent taking care of myself all went out the window with a couple of neuron-charged days. I see my forehead with the coffins of pimples laid to rest. The bags under my eyes could carry a ton of drugs past customs. Again, I'd be lying if I said it ends there.

These days, I'm lucky if I'm not dead tired when I get home. Amidst shuffling between classes and all the junk I find time for, I scratched my head and a clump of hair fell out. Chemo moment. I brushed it off and told myself that a couple of strands isn't a lot to miss. This evening while getting my haircut, the guy said I should see a derma as I had a couple of bald spots in odd places. It's funny how you can be so secure about your life one moment and be scared shitless the next. I spaced out when I heard "alopecia" and focused on trying to keep a straight face.

Maybe it is just stress but I'm really getting paranoid. Inside the bathroom, I stared suspiciously at the bottles of shampoo. "Are you to blame?" I asked. They stared back with the innocence of a large Chuzzle about to be popped. In my room, I held the container of wax in the dim light. "I've used you for years. Are you to blame?" On my way down the stairs, I watched the four concrete steps that could've been my demise days ago. Was my hair falling because of the shock?

The guy who cut my hair asked if I was under a lot of stress lately. "I'm not stressed", I lied. I just had a couple of things on my mind, I said. I thought about my demos and modules and the stuff I needed to do. Last Monday I had a headache (probably because I fell) and I had to ignore it because I was presenting the voiced th. I thought about getting my hands on some money (spent wisely, I think) and how I needed to find time to get the microwave oven I promised my folks. I thought about my Sun bill and how it's been months since I last paid and how I really should find some time to get it cut.

So am I stressed? Maybe.

I don't even know anymore. I'm kinda getting scared. I took a picture of my head and confirmed my fears. There's a spot. I see it. It's there. Oh goodness me, it's there. Pass the finasteride, please.