Be forewarned, this little post is a red post (see here). (Oh, and it turned out not to be so little. Sorry.)
Well. I know I've mentioned the distinct shift in pain sensation I've experienced since my period rejoined me several months ago. Since that first instance, the emotional sensations have also grown more and more acute. So that last weekend, a very good weekend, I sat at my sewing machine, doing what I love, and looked out to see my amazing husband and daughter of bliss exploring the creek, everything happiness and love, everything okay, and felt the grip of depression in my chest. I'm not one to use the word lightly. Sure, I've used it a lot in my time, and meant, as most of us do, that my spirits were depressed. But I've also wandered unwittingly into the dark and experienced the Depression from which some do not return. For a moment, that was what I felt. Panic. Emptiness. Pain and numbness. A sort of inner writhing, and a prescience of something very, very bad indeed on the horizon, or perhaps at our very feet. No, I don't mean to say I predicted the earthquake in Haiti. The pricking in my thumbs was PMS. Genuine, bona fide PMS. I tell you, it was amazing. It slammed in, and drifted out like a heavy rain. Then my week--oh, what a week, it was like TWO weeks! We were so busy in every respect and I felt myself spinning slowly off of center. And then, on Wednesday night, I looked down and thought how awful pregnancy had made my tummy. That it looked even puffier and flabbier than usual.
Ah. Hold that thought. It must be that time.
How old am I? How many of these have I had? And yet it still takes me by surprise. But not so much this time. I was ready for those pangs with my hot water bottle. (You NEED one. Fill it hot hot hot, and put it right up between your legs.)
One of the reasons I saw it coming is because my body image has been very clear lately. I think this is one of the gifts that motherhood can bring. And nursing. Yes--there is deep trauma, physically and emotionally, and it will take months, years to recover. And you won't ever be your old self again. But you'll be a life giving goddess, so big whoop. And once you've weighed as much or more as the NFL player you tutored in college, let me tell you. A bit of belly flab can't hurt. What an amazing thing, this woman's body! What infinite variation.
And then you're here:
And then you're here:
And there's really no telling what might happen next. The short of it is that despite all the shock and variation, most of which has not been so pretty, I've never loved my body before Jane. And now I do. Just as it is. I think now I could always have loved it. It's a pretty good one. But I didn't. The units of measure have changed.
Anyway, the same goes for the old emotions. Maybe they've always been severe during my period, only as an adolescent I didn't notice because I was lethargic or unhinged every week of the month. And then I spent most of my adult life thus far on the pill (shudder). Or maybe there has been a change. In either case, I managed pretty well all week until this morning. A very dear man I know of Haitian heritage posted a link to some pictures of the aftermath. I had just barely heard about the quake, and I hadn't pursued any more information. I don't know if I've ever talked about how I only spontaneously read the news or follow politics. The reason is because I get so worked up about things. I know it's cowardly. I swing back and forth, gorging on information, and then avoiding it. It's pretty easy to do when your office is a laundry room and your favorite non-fiction writers talk a lot about naps and knitting. I told myself not to be such a coward and went to look at the pictures. I bawled and bawled. It's hard to feel that what you see in photographs is real. You can't smell it. You can't touch it. It disturbs your senses visually, conceptually, but you do not experience it. Film, a little closer. But today the images cut me to the quick. And once the water works were on, I couldn't stop. I cried intermittently throughout the day. Thinking about Haiti. Struggling with Jane on a couple of occasions. Washing the dishes. In the shower. Heartily, and from my stomach.
I think I'm all cried out. I think it was, I hate to say this, the hormones. Partially. But I know I needed it. It's a luxury, you know--to feel and to express, in perfect privacy, in the daylight hours. I am thankful.
Oddly enough, that's not at all what I was going to talk about. I don't know if it made any sense, but I think I needed to blab this post out as much as I needed the crying. My heart has been full of more than this today. I have been considering loss and prayer. Tempting to talk about, but I know the answer for me right now is to go crawl in bed. I promise more coherence with the new week. I hope I get around to talking about prayer, and about:
- Writing...I've been thinking a lot about this, as usual. For homework, read this.
- Coffee addiction
- Daily rhythm and child rearing
- My blog loves
- My silly crafts