Two weeks ago I swore. More precisely, I said the word “hell” in a “what the hell” sort of way. I can’t remember precisely what caused it, but I know that it wasn’t that bad, and that Josh laughed harder than I have seen in a long time. He doubled over completely as I attempted to explain what had happened: I had been searching my brain for an appropriate word since I don’t say things such as “heck” and somehow while I was searching “hell” came out.
I later asked Josh what was so excruciatingly funny about my swearing in that context, and he said it was that he had never heard me do so before. I told him that that was because I had not ever done so before. I use words such as “hell” in writing when I mean it, or when necessary to accurately quote. I have cursed a few times aloud since that first not-so-fateful August day in 2002, though I’m not sure anyone ever heard me.
. . .
I am exhausted and angry and happy and it is all quite amusing when my head is clear enough to reflect on reality.
In mid-August I flipped through pictures of the summer and realized that I did not remember the times they were taken, even though I was the one who took most of them. My sister seemed to think I should have expected as much: “of course memory is lost when one is beyond exhausted and stressed!”
. . .
Only recently did I realize that it is rather unusually morbid that I walked around knowing in my head what the “worst thing” was that I might experience in life. I suppose I shall blame it on a misunderstanding of my mother who was probably trying to instill some Carnegie resilience into those around her. In any case, I have often shushed myself by assessing a given situation and reminding myself that it would not even fall into the top ten worst things that might happen. This summer, I have been continually threatened with the second worst thing on my list. It is infinitely less terrible than the worst thing, but I had no idea that I’d ever approach one of the Top Five in my personal list. So, yes, stress. But the funny thing is that it is sort of like extreme pain: you can’t really feel it because you so quickly lose consciousness. So the worst things are the worst things, but they can’t actually be felt as the worst things because they are beyond the point of feeling.
. . .
I celebrated my birthday by going to the gynecologist. I told her that I did not want to have surgery again for another six months. She suggested Lupron. I told her that I was scared of Lupron and would like to try something milder first. She wrote me a prescription for a 90-day pill where even the “placebo” pills actually contain a small amount of estrogen. I paid $216 out of pocket for the generic version and decided that I was just going to have to be well in 90 days in order to avoid paying that again.
It took me a while to realize that my newly found anger was directly tied to when I started the pill. When I told my sister about it she laughed and declared that my anger is truly pathological in the primary meaning of the word. I told Josh about my sister’s joke. He told me that I was very good at hiding my anger and I almost burst with pride.
We once heard the queen of knowledge of fertility explain that anger and depression are the same thing in terms of hormonal disorders, it is simply a question of whether the emotion is directed out or in. Josh and I agree that this outward-turning thing is so much easier to deal with than the depression. But what do you call a stifled external expression of hormonal confusion? In any case, it seems that the start of the summer was merely some very mild foreshadowing of what was to come.
Or maybe it is all a mechanism of self-defense. I now see that everything is so much clearer with eyes clouded by anger, and that can feel safe compared to overwhelming uncertainty and self-doubt.
. . .
- Eating meat
- Finding a new religion with a god who gives health to all the faithful
Since the first is scientifically crazy and the last isn’t emotionally possible for me, I focused in on the second option. I estimated that there is less than a 5% chance that it could help, but I’d go barefoot for 90 days for a 2.7% chance at increased health. And I certainly don’t want to admit to suffering from the Naaman’s disease (you know, the deadly disease of being willing to do crazy things but balking when a simple solution is offered?) so I decided to try the thing normal people do and eat meat for 90 days after half a lifetime of skipping it.
. . .