For the past month or so I’ve been without hormonal birth control for the first time in over ten years. And at first, it was magical. Like fasting except for your uterus. I saw God. It was amazeballs. I dropped six pounds in one week. My skin and hair seemed to glow. I didn’t feel like an overly stuffed water balloon when I walked around. My clothes fit better. My mood was better. And then, about twenty 28 days in, I pivoted with a bounce in my step and saw a giant wall of water.
Sorry, I forgot my sketchbook so all I’ve got is this coffee stained legal pad. Is there a bag big enough to hold all of my hobbies at all times?
But it was like this. I felt amazing until I didn’t anymore. And then it was like I was Noah except my body was the boat and I needed two of every emotion and each emotion was having sex with their paired emotion and I was having stress babies like WHOAH.
You never realize a normal mood. A normal mood you’re just normal. You’re just doodling about doing normal things like living and being. It’s only when you experience extreme joy that you think “hey, why don’t I feel like this all the time?” or extreme sadness that you think “holy shit how do I operate the handle to the faucet?” Flail. Flop. Sit on floor. Give up on life.
So my body was reproducing these emotions like ANGER SADNESS FEAR CRIPPLING ANXIETY EVERYTHING IN MY ENTIRE LIFE IS HORRIBLE AND WRONG AND WE ARE ON THE EDGE OF SOMETHING REAL BAD. LIKE THE APOCALYPSE. AND I JUST GOTTA TELL SOME PEOPLE ABOUT IT AND WARN THEM. It’s entirely possible that preppers – those preparing for the end of the world – are just having a really bad hormonal swing that never stops. Whatever juice they drink, I was hitting it hard.
And then just 8 short hours later the tide receded and my feet dried and I looked around and realized I was drinking a pina colada and actually I’m on a tropical island and that was just high tide and people are shouting “ARE YOU OKAY? DO YOU NEED A REFILL? ITS TIME FOR YOUR MASSAGE” and I feel, well, kinda stupid. Just as the emotional storm came in and made me lose control of everything I thought I knew about myself, it rolled away and I looked around and saw not one piece of devastation.
In fact, I probably didn’t act that different than I usually do in this brief moment of intense panic. Though I felt like I was wearing a giant neon blinking shirt that said “THIS GIRL IS ABOUT TO INTERNALLY COMBUST STAY AWAY” it’s highly unlikely that anyone noticed anything different about me, at all.
I’m seeing a new therapist and she asked me how my self care was and I said AMAZING. That’s pretty true. I semi-frequently buy myself olives, french cheese, baguettes, books, art supplies. I go on long walks. I go running. I go to the gym. I go through the ritual of grinding and soaking beautiful coffee beans. I have an arsenal of television shows and movies that make me feel better. But sometimes I think it’s important to remember that it’s okay to feel the things you feel, intensely and uncomfortably, while you feel them. Even if they don’t make sense or even if they make you feel like you’re drowning. Because there’s probably some truth to some of those things you feel, even if you’re not feeling them exactly the way you wanted to, exactly when you wanted to. Don’t apologize for feeling like shit. I mean, don’t use your emotions to justify being a piece of shit to people. Don’t make any rash decisions in the heat of the storm. Do something if you feel awful all the time… but also find a balance that works for you and your emotional state.
The next night where you just want to cry and scream and call yourself an idiot, go for it. This isn’t something any valid therapist I know would recommend. They always stop and say “no, don’t call yourself an idiot!” I’m over here saying it’s okay to feel like an idiot sometimes. Because we don’t get to choose our emotions. They’re just there. And sometimes your emotion is idiot. So be idiot. Be full idiot. Be full scared, be full angry, be full frustrated, be full whatever you are. Because then one day you’ll figure out how to be full happy, full excited, full hopeful, and all things balance. Without the sadness, no happiness. Without the anger, no joy. Inspirational poster, etc.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take my next three packs of estrogen, grind them up, snort them, and rejoin society.