Would I have the courage to speak up?

The #MeToo moment continues. Instead of proceeding in a way that vindicates the countless individuals who have been sexually abused, raped, assaulted, and violated, we have found ourselves wading in mud passed our knees, submerging our beings at a standstill. Our hands can still clutch at our devices so we send out cries for help over social media, begging the rest of the world to wake up and see the raw, ugly reality that we have endured — pardon me — endure amid threats of violence, accusations of lying, and questions about our moral compass.

Would I be as brave as the Anita Hills or the Dr. Christine Blasey Fords of this world? Electing to bare my soul, exposing my very essence because I could not allow someone who took power from me to ascend to levels even more powerful?

Blood boiling.

It started off so innocently. A small crush on the barista at my favorite coffee shop over the summer after high school. Encouragement from friends and some unexpected bravery resulted in an exchange of telephone numbers. A time and a place to go out soon followed.

The events of the early evening are more fuzzy. We went to a movie. He did not seek my consent as he violated me in the movie theater. He pulled over in my middle school parking lot. He did not ask my consent to my body.

He told me that he was a youth leader in his church. Someday, he wanted to be a pastor.

I remember the fear. Moments of absolute paralysis. He kept repeating himself, murmuring garbage into my ear as I squirmed underneath his weight, knowing this was not how my first experience with sex would be. Why wasn’t he listening?

It seems crude now. “Let me feel your warmth.” I laughed about it later. But I wasn’t laughing that night. I said no. I said no. I said no.

Boys being boys.

Was this my fault? I was (am) a human being who craves affection, love, touch.

But I wanted those to be my choice, not his. And he didn’t allow me to make it.

Maybe he’s a youth pastor now. Would there be a list of character witnesses lined up to defend his honor? How could I prove what happened 15 years ago? There’s no physical evidence. I can’t remember if I told friends or not. I was supposed to be better than that. I was supposed to fall for men who were kind, caring, and respectful.

The bravery I have seen from my closest friends and beloved strangers is inspiring and gut-wrenching. This isn’t my only story. That moment didn’t define my self-worth or value.

But, it did remind me that I’m a survivor. And I’m not alone. The more people listen, the more people wake up, perhaps there’s hope we’ll finally get unstuck and back on the path to a different future

 

 

Things I Don’t Understand – Elevators

I’m not curious about how they function or lack understanding of their purpose [though I do have a slight fear of being stuck in one, hence one of the reasons I opt for the stairs 99% of the time — AND GOTTA GET THOSE STEPS].

No, it’s us, the people who ride them, and our bizarre culturally-conditioned behavior once inside one. While waiting for our elevator to arrive, we may be carrying on a fantastic conversation, all jovial. Then, the doors open, we step inside, and it’s like we’ve entered the chamber of our death.

Silence. Staring blankly at what often is a reflective surface. Are you looking at yourself? Or are you checking out who the person standing shoulder to shoulder with you?

Thank goodness for smart phones, am I right? The solution to abate the awkwardness of those 10 or 20 seconds of gravity-defying momentum. No signal? No problem. I am going to pretend to look busy on this here device until I hear the ding that indicates it is my turn to exit this failed social experiment.

Who decided that elevators equated isolationist policies? Why do we choose to not engage with the people riding up with us? Do we think it’s too short of a time to really get to know someone? Is it an inconvenience?

I can hear some of my introverted friends decry the “small talk” default situations like riding an elevator invite. Still, there’s something inside each of us that yearns for that acknowledgement. See me. Even a simply volley about the weather brings us back to the often forgotten reality that we are both of this world, in this world.

We just happened to be in this strange moving box together, at this present moment in time. What could happen if we broached the invisible divide?

Who knows what could transpire in those seconds. A new friendship? A future romantic interlude? An awkward exchange with one hand over our mouth to mask the 20 cloves of garlic in our lunch.

Today, I got in an elevator (28 floors seemed ambitious, especially when running late) and intentionally turned my shoulders to the center of the elevator.

Yes, I was that person. Feel my energy, other elevator riders. I see you. We don’t have to talk. It’s okay. But we can share in the silence together.

The sounds of idealism

Young and hopeful,

Dissecting public policy decisions on a Sunday train trip.

‘We know solutions’, their conversation exudes.

Buzzwords aplenty: Medicaid, Medicare,

Space X.

The privilege of Amtrak: Time to berate funding priorities for public goods on public transit.

I sit amused and reflective.

How many of these moments have I initiated or participated in?

Gucci. Versaci.

Did he mean to rhyme during his tirade against the fashion moguls, whose designer shades continue to cast long shadows on the inhumane practices their corporate values gloss over?

If we took action on a fraction that frustrates us about the world we live in,

What would the world we live in look like?

Will these two young people be the catalysts?

I look over my left shoulder: both are now on their phones. Conversation paused.

Redirected to the distraction of now.

And so it goes. The sounds of idealism succumb to our soundtrack of life.

Easy.

Breezy.

Beautiful.

Right?

But, I wanna be productive! Don’t I?

The return trip back from any time away from home, whether a week or a long weekend, sets my brain and heart into motion. The parts of me I allowed to unwind begin to tightly coil once again.

I anticipate all that must happen in the next ten minutes, even when I’m still 30 minutes away from home: the unloading of the car, unpacking of bags, washing of clothes. The watering of plants, wrangling of cat fur tumbleweeds taking over the downstairs. The emails to respond to; the calendar plotting for the week ahead. Do I need to get groceries today or can that wait?

All of this is self-inflicted. And unhelpful. Remember how much fun we just had on vacation, Katie?

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Warning: that’s a genuine smile. Because I was having fun in the woods.

After spending the past two nights in the North Carolina mountains, I sit at this laptop with the goal of giving myself the gift of grace. Do what truly needs to get done in order for you to feel prepared to take on the week ahead. But, leave the “shoulds” out of the conversation today. BUT IT IS SO HARD!

Those “shoulds” are loud, often. Deafening at times, in fact. I will be the first to raise my hand and admit my cultural adherence to the notion of “productivity.” I prove my worth through tasks and outputs. Spending time on creative exercises, even writing this blog post right now, can provoke that small inner voice to speak up. “Psst, Katie, shouldn’t you go vacuum right now? The kitchen floor needs to be wiped up. And, why don’t you just check your work Inbox for a few minutes? You’ll feel so much better tomorrow…”

Will I, inner voice? Or will the small pool of “shoulds” morph into a tidal wave of anxiety, sweeping me into a vortex for the next two hours and then I look up and Sunday is over?

Do I sound like I am speaking from experience? Absolutely. Frequently. It has been a goal of this year for me to intentionally shift how I value myself and my time. Because, if I don’t, I will continue to miss out on opportunities to live fully.

Isn’t the notion of retirement weird? Our culture dictates that you have to earn your time to take adventure, develop hobbies, give back,etc. But, we have these mortal bodies that wear out over time. It becomes a heck of a lot harder to do all the things we may have wanted to do 30 years prior. (Unless you’ve developed erectile dysfunction. Then we’ve got a pill for you!)

We ran into many (perceived) retirees while hiking in the mountains on Friday. Of course — it’s a WORK day [note: “work” day in the dominant narrative of what constitutes “real” or “professional” work in a white supremacist society but NEWS FLASH: people work EVERY HOUR OF EVERY DAY and many of us take their schedules for granted — things still get delivered to ours doorsteps; our loved ones in the hospital are receiving care; office buildings are cleaned; fields are harvested; passengers arrive from one part of the world to another].

Back to my Friday morning hiking rumination. Aaron and I stuck out like a bit of sore thumbs as the youngest climbers of that time slot. Why would people of working ages be climbing a summit at 11:30am unless they were:

  1. Retired
  2. Vacationing
  3. Stay-at-home parent
  4. A person who takes time during their day to go hike a trail

Yes, number four is an option. (And no doubt there are a slew of other options so excuse my lack of inclusion. It is not meant to short-change anyone’s reason for being on a hike at 11:30am on a Friday. If you are on a hike at 11:30am on a Friday, you’re a badass. Period.)

Taking the time to make these moments happen, for me, can be so hard. Guilt of not feeling a contributing team member with my colleagues; fear of not being able to respond to the needs or questions of board members, donors, other stakeholders who are working on a Friday at 11:30am.

I like me some routine. I like me some dependibility. Funny how life provides neither of those. I can feel like I’m in a groove, that I’ve got things figured out. And then:

BAM.

A new opportunity. An illness. A phone call. An injury. A ticket to a sold-out show. Whatever it is, the exciting and excruciating, serve as reminders that change is constant. Which I know I know, but it doesn’t really sink it. I can still sing every lyric to Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” as proved on our drive home today.

But, I refuse to grant space in my heart and mind that my perception of routine is false. Things are happening behind the scenes. It’s our own Upside Down from Stranger Things. Hopefully with fewer horrifying creatures.

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That’s essentially the face I make when confronting anything outside of my routine. IF IT IS NOT WRITTEN DOWN, I AM NOT SURE IT CAN HAPPEN. (Photo credit)

Here we are: on a Sunday afternoon, fretting about living up to standards set by society and me. The shadow of having to justifying taking a Friday off, of not doing another load of laundry today. One could be done, sure. There are a thousand things that could be done; there are a dozen tasks that I could list as “should be” completed.

Today, I started my morning, sipping hot coffee while leaning on a window ledge as a fog swallowed the homes, farms, and gardens enclosed in our valley. I heard the call of the rooster, alerting the masses that it was time to stretch our limbs from a good night’s rest. I smelled the rich earth, dotted with dew, and breathed in the cool, crisp air one would never expect in a North Carolina August.

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I should sit in that memory for a bit longer. It will fade, in time. But the feeling it has imprinted will serve as a reminder of why I choose, today and each day, to live. Productivity, be damn.

The other kitchen sink drain

It doesn’t look like the epicenter of frustration and tears, does it?

Alas, this spot marks the culmination of epic arguments between Aaron and me. Most have been borne from an off-hand remark and then spiraled off into a platform for unloading the real issue that had been simmering under the surface for hours, days, weeks, or months. (Note: if your panties have been in a wad for months over something a partner has done to you, you’re the only one experiencing that level of chaffage. Unpluck the wedgie by working through that concern pronto — nobody likes surprises or Desitin).

The kitchen should be a place reserved for the creation of comforting, creative dishes; for laughter and a few spills. It’s the siren’s song, drawing people into the home, whether a long-time resident or a random Tuesday dine-and-dash. This one space offers gifts for all five senses (but it can also be the place to get burned. Ouch).

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Maybe if I had a kitchen that looked like this, things would be different? Damn.  Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Our kitchen does take on these positive qualities most of the time. But, every once in awhile, this room morphs into our own version of a WWE Raw event. And it most often begins when one of us is standing at the sink.

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A fairly accurate portrayal of our culinary-centered verbal smackdowns. Photo credit.

A few months ago, Aaron pointed out: 90% of our arguments start at our kitchen sink. (My husband loves him some percentages. Next time you see him, ask him if he is a vegan). Back to the kitchen: There’s nothing that sparks anger or annoyance than feeling the pulsing vibrations of a nearby garbage disposal, am I right? It’s true: the rectangular section between the island and washing station appears to channel dark energy that worms its way into a host and expels itself through the mouth in the form of a snarky comment, criticism, or passive aggressive non-verbal behavior.

Observe:

Me watching Aaron load the dishwasher: “Instead of putting those on the bottom shelf because they could melt, can we shift those to the top rack?”

Me upon discovering a bowl crusted with dried food left on the counter: “In the future, would you mind soaking this dish in the sink?”

Me washing dishes after cooking dinner: “Can you DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING, I JUST COOKED DINNER AND WHY AM I WASHING DISHES? OH AM I YELLING AT YOU NOW? I AM TRYING TO SPEAK SOFTLY BUT PROBABLY DON’T PUT A STICK IN MY HAND RIGHT NOW, NO MATTER THE SIZE.”

What did those three scnarios have in common? 

I am the instigator.

Am I always wrong in my instigation? Not from my perspective. I HAVE CONTROL ISSUES. This is when I force myself to reflect on my own experiences around the kitchen sink growing up. I was raised in a home (and mom, please correct me if I’m misconstruing any of this) where dishes were not to be left in the sink or on the counter overnight. There was a dishwasher. Use it. Put dishes in said dishwasher in a logical manner. Make sure they are rinsed first because the dishwasher isn’t magical. Wipe up excess water around the sink. Every once in awhile, wipe out the sink because it is a breeding ground for serious funk.

Perhaps I set the tone early on in our relationship when I instructed Aaron to get out of the kitchen as I was preparing a special dinner.

It was Aaron’s kitchen.

We all have idiosyncrasies. There are processes we prefer to see unfold, methods that soothe our spirits. None of them are inherently wrong. When it comes to merging your preferences with that of someone else’s, that’s when each of you might reach for your battle axes or boxing gloves.

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Or just bare-paw it like these wallabies. Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

It is not easy to live with someone else. Feel free to disagree. Feel free to throw the “you’re an only child” card in my face. I’ll eat it for breakfast. Because I firmly believe that maintaining your sense of self in shared space is harder than we assume — or how it can be portrayed in pop culture. Our baggage alone can crowd our closets. Remember all of those things you used to do as a single person that you would never do in front of a partner/roommate? (Future blog post for sure).

The kitchen, in particular, also screams to me the place to buck gendered household roles. I resent feeling as if I’m the sole cook and then the sole cleaner. I’m not good at asking for help; or, if I do ask for help, I struggle letting go of dictating how a process gets done. Would I have preferred that a larger colander was used rather than filling the brim of the small one? Sure. Does it really matter in the preparation of this meal?

No. It doesn’t.

In the same breath, I do want to engage in a real partnership, not just give lip-service to one. I have to be able and willing to speak up and express when I’m feeling like the balance of shared responsibilities is lopsided. I want my partner to understand that it’s not about me versus him; it’s about the “us”, this modern take on establishing a household where each of our parts plays an instrumental role in creating the atmosphere that fills us with satisfaction, connection, and joy.

Perhaps it’s best if such conversations start far away from the kitchen sink.

 

That whole no regrets thing? BS

I’m going to write three words that is going to make most women between the ages of 30 and 70 squeal with pleasure:

Dr. Brené Brown

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IN THE FLESH. (Photo credit: SuperSoul TV)

If you haven’t checked out this amazing shame researcher-turned TED Talk celebrity-now author of multiple best-selling books-who is warm and real and vulnerable and wicked smart, then I would highly recommend starting with her website and allowing yourself to fall in love.

Point of clarification: just because I identified women in my introductory sentence doesn’t mean Dr. Brown’s work is exclusively for women. Far from it. No matter your gender expression, the odds are that you know shame well and how it manifests inside you. The hissing voice of criticism that seems to get louder and louder at all the wrong times. 

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You know this feeling, right? (Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash)

Last week, I’m listening to Brené on Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversation podcast and she begins talking about regret. Apparently, she put this out on social last year, but alas, I wasn’t a superfan back then. Here’s what she wrote on Facebook:

I’ve found regret to be one of the most powerful emotional reminders that change and growth are necessary. In fact, I’ve come to believe that regret is a kind of package deal: A function of empathy, it’s a call to courage and a path toward wisdom.

Like all emotions, regret can be used constructively or destructively, but the wholesale dismissal of regret is wrongheaded and dangerous. “No regrets” doesn’t mean living with courage, it means living without reflection.

To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make, and no opportunity to be braver with your life. I’m not suggesting that we have to live with regret, but I do think it’s important to allow ourselves to experience and feel it.

One of the truest things I’ve ever heard about regret came from George Saunders’s 2013 commencement address at Syracuse University. He said, “What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded . . . sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.”

Time out, girl. You’re saying that we SHOULD have regrets? Because there were times in our lives where we could have made a better choice? Treated someone with kindness? Walked away from a situation? Taken action? Said “that’s not acceptable”?

I’ve always viewed regrets more from the FOMO (fear of missing out) frame. You’ll regret if you don’t study abroad! You’ll regret if you don’t take this job opportunity! Often, regrets had to do with major experiences or experiences.

But, it’s the little things that count, right? We talk about that in the positive sense all of the time. Small acts make big impacts. What about the small acts that didn’t lead to someone feeling empowered or seen? What about those times where we elected to be cruel or silent? If we were willing to accept the role of regret, what could we then learn, upon reflection, that would help us make a different decision in a future situation?

Here are two random regrets that came up in my reflection:

#1: When I was in elementary school, I made fun of Jenny Lee. Most kids in our grade did. Why? Jenny Lee was taller than average. I can’t remember if she was perceived as smart. She had a penchant for horses and would pretend to play make believe as a horse during first grade recess.

One day in particular, I must have been extra mean to Jenny Lee because I got my name written on the board. It was May 22, the day before my birthday 7th birthday. My friend Marissa, who was in fact celebrating her birthday that day, also had her name written on the board. I’m sure there were mumbled apologies. I was probably more ashamed at the public record of my bad deeds than the actual hurt I inflicted on Jenny Lee.

Jenny Lee was killed in a car accident a few years later. I never chose to speak with her or build a friendship. I labeled her as a weirdo and left her on the bench with the rest of my classmates deemed untouchable and unpopular.

Why did I choose to follow the crowd? Why did I feel the need to make fun of her in the first place? How did her presence threaten me? It didn’t. She was just a kid trying to navigate her way through growing up. I didn’t know anything about her family or the world she hailed from. All I knew was the others had deemed her different. And I needed to remind her of that on May 22, 1991.

#2: There was a boy in my 7th grade P.E. class, Jamorial. He sat behind me in our assigned grid-like pattern on the gym floor (or on the outdoor basketball courts when the weather cooperated…which was like every freaking day in Phoenix). Jamorial was probably the only Black kid at my middle school. (Ugh, talk about regret: I can’t even tell you whether we had more than one Black student at my junior high? Needless to say, I attended White-majority schools throughout primary education).

Jamorial was small for his age, if that’s a real thing. He had ashy knees (I even have regret typing this). He just wanted someone to talk to as we sat baking under the 90+ degree sun during final period. Sometimes I decided to be nice. But, I more often chose to whisper about him behind his back, commenting on his weirdness to my friend Amanda. I teased her that he had a crush on her and wanted to marry her and all of the juvenile patter that runs of our mouths.

I’m sorry, Jamorial, for being racist and further ostracizing a young man of color who had to ensure the unimaginable in our school. I don’t even know if you finished at Mountain Sky or went elsewhere. I’m not even sure to this day I am spelling your name right. I’m sorry I never took the time to learn.

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I think this image is called: “privileged white girl stands in her guilt in front of  her beach front property”

There isn’t enough time to list all of my regrets. Or yours. Definitely not time to list yours, assuming you are willing to have regrets as well. Heck, I regretted something I did yesterday. I decided to air my grievances with one individual in front of many (who DOES that?!) when I could have made the more respectful, compassionate choice of talking with that individual one-on-one later.

Apologies, if able to give, are part of this empathy/regret relationship. Not only extending sympathy to the inflicted party but also to yourself. Y’all, we’re human! We screw up. Constantly. Putting feet in mouths or fingers in eyes or whatever other strange bodily metaphors we devise to describe our continual ability to make mistakes.

Regrets, I got ’em. Or, better yet, the photo used in Dr. Brown’s post:

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📷@IMDb
🎥We’re the Millers (2013)
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

 

 

 

 

The real poison pill

What do you do when you learn that your body has stopped ovulating?

First, search the Internet to re-teach yourself everything that you should have learned in sex ed classes. (Where are my ovaries? What are hormones? Wait, a menstrual cycle isn’t really every 28 days? Thank you Taking Charge of Your Fertility – and the friends who recommended it – for setting me straight).

Second, create a list of possible explanations for why your body choose to abdicate one of its core responsibilities.

Theories on why I stopped ovulating:

  • I led a double life as a elite athlete. (Thanks for considering this to be included on the list doc, but alas, my pole vaulting career lasted a grand total of four weeks, and I never get off the actual ground)
  • My thyroid is wack. (Test, re-tested, medicated, test #3, cleared)
  • I’m hormonally imbalanced (WHO ISN’T?!)
  • I am experiencing stress. (SOMEONE TOLD ME I AM NOT OVULATING AND HAVEN’T BEEN FOR POTENTIALLY YEARS — AND MAYBE I AM ALSO HORMONALLY IMBALANCED)

Problems with ovulation are one of the top causes for infertility. Answers as to why said women are experiencing problems are less common.

Here’s a quick backstory: I stopped taking oral birth control in August 2015. Aaron and I had been married for almost one year, and we had decided to give ourselves that time before embarking on the potential for pregnancy. You know, that whole trying to figure out this marriage deal. I remember finishing my final pack, tossing it valiantly in the trash, and preparing myself for what could come. In September, something didn’t come: my period.

I was flabbergasted. My monthly flow was more Type-A than me. I could nearly chart it to the hour on the appointed day. But, no period for the first time in 15 years? Finally, this moment of being late that didn’t evoke an immediate panic attack.

Like any dutiful mom-in-waiting, I allowed the appropriate time to pass and then purchased my first at home pregnancy tests.

Negative.

Alright, perhaps I did this one too early. I let a few more days slide by (noting that my mind could only focus on the fact that I could at that very moment be formulating some zygote monstrosity that would ideally reform into a beautiful, healthy baby).

Negative #2.

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I didn’t understand. THERE IS ONLY ONE POSSIBILITY. WHY DID I BUY ALL OF THESE JUNKY PREGNANCY TESTS?

We’ll glide over the confusion and hurt I felt because, little did I know, this was only the beginning of my infertility journey!

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I wish this is what the infertility journey felt like. Image credit to the Tumblr blog “Power Pussy Says.” No, I’m not making this up. Brilliant!

How could I have foreseen that 2016 and 2017 would morph into my very own episode of “Unsolved Mystery”? Side note: easily one of the best television shows on Lifetime Television in the 1990s.

My period did not come back. Of course, I met women who shared that despite the fact that did not return to regular menstruation after birth control, they still were able to achieve conception. Have hope! Stay positive!

Nope. Well, I mean yes, I tried to stay hopeful and positive. But I certainly didn’t find myself procuring the coveted “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” novel or flocking to the nearest Target to oodle over burp blankets and onesies.

I’m less interested in talking about what transpired between those 24 months today. In fact, I don’t think what happened was really all that interesting, period (Ha! She’s got jokes). We tried a few things. I had some atrocious interactions with medical professionals whose callous, cold hearts made Charlton Heston look like a softie. What I really want to lament about on this Sunday evening is the evils of birth control.

After a failed round of hormonal injections last November and December (culminating in getting my period on Christmas Eve as I was in the midst of a wretched bout of food poisoning — happy holidays, folks!), we decided to take a break to start off the New Year. Or, I made that call as I do have an incredibly supportive partner in this process (even willing to be present in the room when I gave myself injections, if needed, but also would have had to turn away and not allow himself to hear any noises of pokes, or else I would have been waving smelling salts under his nose a half-beat later).

Fast-forward: STILL NO PERIOD. My ob-gyn is like: “ok, soooooo…maybe we should put you on birth control for a little bit to at least go through a couple of cycles. You don’t want your vaginal lining to get too thick because that can lead to complications. And, since you’re not producing estrogen, you should notice improved energy and mood. You may get some headaches initially but they should dissipate. Sound good?”

I am going to start taking medication that will prevent me from doing the one thing I’ve been trying for the last 2+ years to do? As Tony the Tiger would say:

Here I am: 33 and back on birth control. AND FEELING MISERABLE. The headache promise came true. But, what I wasn’t prepared for were the following:

  • Overnight weight gain (I’m sorry, what does my scale say?)
  • Bloating — or how I prefer to describe it — feeling SWOOL
  • Sore breasts that don’t fill sexy but just feel the pain
  • A general squishiness to my body (where did you go, muscles?)
  • Extreme anger — I may or may not have thrown vegetables at the wall at one point
  • Exhaustion
  • Constipation (something needs to come out of this damn body)
  • Generally unpleasant wife/co-worker/friend/human being
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I put Grumpy Cat to shame during these seven weeks.

The silver lining after three weeks: I got my period. Hooray?! Shed that lining. Feel like a functioning reproductive woman. All I felt was awful. Nearing the end of my second pack this last week, I said: “no more.” I chucked those last pills into the rubbish and dusted my hands of that experiment.

How do I feel now? Despite currently enjoying my second cycle of 2018, I feel so much better mentally and emotionally. I can’t hide from the fact that I will need to find a replacement therapy to put estrogen into my body.  That I may never get pregnant or carry a baby to full-term. But, like hell I’m going to allow myself to be subjected to feeling like shit and spending money on tampons by ingesting something that is designed to make sure I do neither of those first two things. I don’t have enough time or energy to sort that would with a therapist. Or to rationalize it any longer with myself.

Perhaps it’s time to give that pole vaulting career another try…