Monday, August 3, 2009


Let me preface this by saying I am already cringing, trying not to be a feminist complaining about PMS. Please leave all stereotypes about performers in The Vagina Monologues behind. Ugh, I even cringe writing that.

But I really am complaining. Between the ages of 14 and 21, my behaviour was justified: I was a growing woman, tempers flared, a divorce was happening, my hormones were "raging" as the literature likes to say. Any outbursts, tears, murderous screaming, crankiness or apathy could be blamed on a once-monthly surge of hormones known medically as PMS. Also, I was a teenager, I was a young adult, I was finding my place in the world. Drama was a tag along whether I was hormonal or not. Indeed, the lines blurred between everyday immaturity of this young woman and a hormonal flux. Such was the norm, and life carried on. I lived a bit, I learned a lot, and I did big girl things. I spent big girl money. I went big girl places and learned to confidently stand by my big girl decisions.
Somewhere, I became an adult. I was cool, calm and collected. I fretted, from time to time, true, but once in a moon in particular, I was a lone wolf howling in the night sky all around me. I was tormented by pulls and pushes I could not see but that coursed through my nubile veins and into the logic section of my brain.
I was granted a nine-month reprieve from such symptoms at 28-day cycles, although tempers and outbursts occurred erratically, as my husband will attest to. And after Abby was born there were a few weeks of up and down, as to be expected. Then I had another lovely few months of hormonal freedom. I liken it to being emotionally even-keeled, stable, neutral. I could feel happy and I could feel sad when prompted by appropriate cues. I was logical, and easily assessed and understood by my husband.
Now, I am back to feeling betrayed by my body every four weeks or so. For no inexplicable reason, a lost camera wire drove me to tears, a few breadcrumbs left on the cutting board ignited a marital spat. I was not myself. And I am revolting. Why is this necessary? I know it can't be changed or decidedly left behind. Hormones are with me to stay. But I am writing down that for the record, I recognize how inconvenient, how impossible, how chaotic and rotten PMS is. I feel like a cast member in invaders of the body snatchers: I am watching myself be tossed around a small ship on stormy seas. I loathe that I am like this. I wish I could make sense of myself, but I cannot, for a few days anyways. I am subject to fits, outbursts, tears and crankiness, taking it out on those around me because that's all I can do. I hope that you know enough to bite your tongue, give me space and let this pass.
But it needed to be said: I don't like PMS any more than you do, and if you find a cure, alert me.

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