09 October, 2008

Cortisol, Faith, Love, and Feces


I have been thinking about the stress hormone cortisol lately. I have made some attempt at researching it on the internet, but it reminds me of a conversation I had with Vilja freshman year. My religion professor had given a devotional about chastity, and he addressed the males first, saying, "Brethren, did you know that there are ten million sperm in your testes at any given time?" I forget the actual number but you catch my drift. Then he said, "Sisters, how many eggs do you think you were born with?" At the time, I thought I knew the answer, and responded with something in the neighborhood of fifteen thousand. He said, "Actually, you have about x eggs in your body..." and then made some point about how magical sex is, and how we should avoid it for the time being. Anyway, I was embarrassed to have answered wrong in a class that was mostly men (boys!). And I thought for sure that my answer had been correct. I told Vilja about my problem, and asked if she knew where I could find the correct answer.

V: Why don't you check out a medical textbook?
Me: Because I wouldn't understand it!

(Note: I briefly attempted to research the true answers to the aforementioned questions on wikipedia, but my search results led to medical photos of stuff I don't want to see until I'm married ... I have no desire to look at a stranger's testes, thanks)

Anyway, my point is that I've been researching cortisol but I don't understand much of what I read. I did manage to learn that it's a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands and that it increases blood sugar and blood pressure, and reduces immune responses. Raising my blood pressure? Mine is too low, so that's good. But damage to the immune system!!! That must be how I got tuberculosis on my mission!!! Stupid stress hormones ...

I found no suggestions of how to reduce the amount of cortisol I produce. Someone dear to me suggested "happy thoughts." I'll let you all know how that goes.

Speaking of happy thoughts, I have realized recently that my tendency to assume the worst about people really is a bad thing.

Yes, Cori, I recognize that you have been telling me this for years.

No, seriously. I used to think that my lens on life was a "realistic" one, and that people are by nature unreliable, so it is better to assume that no one keeps his promise, everyone will always forget something important, and that if there is a negative way of interpreting a piece of information, that is most likely the correct interpretation.

As I type that out, I realize how absurd it sounds. but that is a pretty good summary of my general beliefs about humankind. This is bad.

I was reading Alma 32 a few days ago, and the point of the seed allegory struck me in an entirely new way. I have always read those verses with the idea that one should take the gospel out for a spin, and if they like the way it feels, buy the car. Or something like that. But this time around, I started applying the nature of that allegory to people--that if you have a desire to trust someone, and give him a chance, then you can trust him a little more, and on and on to that perfect day. That might sound obvious, but it was really cool to me.

I talked to Matt about that today. He likes this girl that he thinks is out of his league (she isn't) and we discussed the idea that giving it a shot is better in the long run because then at least he'll know whether or not it would have worked out. A little awkwardness might ensue, but we Hungarians thrive with that. Plus then you have funny stories to write about in your blog (right, Kayla?).

My final subject is poop. Because I am both a nanny and a dog owner, I deal with excrement every day ... usually multiple times a day. Honestly, our western treatment of this bodily function fascinates me. Why is it that when I with friends, I can excuse myself to "go pee" and not feel strange at all, but I would never, ever excuse myself to perform its sister function? Why is it so, so taboo? Japanese people think poop is cute. Sometimes I wish I were Japanese.

Anyway, so my dog is the single greatest dog ever to walk the face of the earth (I'm biased), but he has one flaw: the last few places he lived had large fenced areas where he could go poop whenever he wanted. We do not have a fenced backyard. Thus Sego is still getting used to the idea that he has to wait to go poop until one of us takes him outside (which we do at least five times a day, so don't be calling no ASPCA on us, aight?). Results have been several incidents of poop in the house. Unpleasant. Today my dear Ama and I took the dogs for a walk and discussed potty training.

Me: I want to take that potty training class. I'm at a loss.
A: Me too, honestly.
Me: Because, I'm not sure if I should punish him when he has an accident inside, because I don't want him to think that going poop is inherently bad...
A: I know, just not inside.
Me: Right place, right time. That's crucial.
A: Going poop is a lot like having sex...

I love Ama. The End.

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