Sometimes it’s not hormones

Maybe it’s hormonal…

I’ve been randomly bursting into tears for days now.

My life is on a cycle of two hours of productivity followed by 15 to 20 minutes of deep gut-wrenching sobs followed by a refractory period where I sit and do nothing until I feel better. Rinse and repeat.

For days, I’ve been telling myself it’s just where I am in my cycle.

It’s funny how we make excuses for what might otherwise be normal emotions.

When I was four years old, I had a record of the movie Bambi. I don’t remember much but I do remember Thumper’s famous words. 

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

Thumper may have been admonishing the audience to not speak ill of other people, but to my tiny heart, this maxim was absolute.

Over the years it would show up in the other maxims I internalized.

“Don’t burden other people with your problems.” “No one likes a sad sack.”

“It’s not okay to feel bad.”

Except sometimes people do feel bad. And when women feel bad, we often blame our hormones:

“I must be getting my period.” “It’s menopause.” “It’s a woman thing.” 

And because we still live in a world where science is God, this means that those of us who’ve been taught to put on the happy face in all situations can give ourselves a break. 

“It’s not okay to feel bad… unless it’s biochemical, or medical, or explained by science.”

So, it’s not surprising that I would blame hormones for my recent breakdown.

After all, I’m 51 years old. I may or may not be going through menopause. (I had a partial hysterectomy that removed my uterus but kept my ovaries 9 years ago. I don’t get periods but I still get the other symptoms so it’s hard to know).

So yes, maybe this is hormonal, except…

Anyone looking at my life right now would be like “What you talkin’ bout Willis?”   

Because my life is currently insane.

Two months ago, I moved from the city I’d lived in for the past 25 years, put my stuff in storage and moved temporarily to my sister’s place in a small town 200 miles away. 

Three weeks ago, I broke up with someone I deeply loved who now wants nothing do to with me. Last week, I signed a lease on a house in my dream place 900 miles from where I’m currently staying. This week, I decided that it’s not worth it to hire movers and I would go with only what fits in my car.

So now, I am now in the midst of sorting, selling and otherwise getting rid of 90% of everything I own.

I am sifting through 51 years of memories: some good, and some that are hitting me in the gut.

As I do this, I’m seeing patterns around people-pleasing and pretending to be someone I’m not to be loved for the first time in my life. I’m having flashbacks to a childhood trauma I’d never fully processed until now.

And in the midst of all of this, my deepest limiting belief – that I’m not good enough – has  just  extricated itself from my subconscious and is now sitting on the dining room table saying, “Hey! Look at me!”

And the old part of me is still thinking, “It must be that time of the month.”

WTF? This is not hormonal.

I am under incredible stress. I am grieving, and I’m in the midst of a massive metamorphosis.

And rebirth? It’s messy, it’s ugly, and it’s painful AF.

And this period of shedding is asking me to do things my little four-year old heart still feels unsafe with: “Bother people” and ask them for help; feel sadness, anger, fear, rage anything that comes up; and scariest of all, express those things.  

And so I’m starting here:

F*ck you Thumper!

And f*ck whatever system it was that decided negative emotions were somehow dysfunctional  (unless, of course, it’s that time of month.)

I’m done with being censored by a baby animated rabbit. I’m done with pushing my emotions aside to be “a good girl.” And I’m done with blaming it on hormones.

It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to rant, it’s okay to feel bad. It’s okay to wail!

In fact, it’s not only okay: it’s necessary! It’s how we move through things without them getting stuck in our bodies.

And maybe that’s the purpose of our hormones in the first place: to not only shed blood so we can create anew but to shed our feelings – to express them and let them out so we can come to a higher understanding of ourselves and create space for the new.

“Why am I feeling so bad?” we ask ourselves.

We need to explain and rationalize our negative feelings. We need to justify their existence. Surely, there must be a reason because if there is no reason, what does that make you?  A cry baby? A weakling? A loser?   

Whose definition is that?

Emotions don’t need to be explained so much as they need to be expressed.

When you deny their existence, they don’t disappear.

They hide out until they feel safe enough to make an appearance, often by catching a ride on the back of some other experience that wouldn’t normally result in such a profound reaction (the breakup that brought up the same feelings you had when you were sexually assaulted by two boys in the neighborhood at 10 years old but didn’t feel safe enough to tell anyone  [insert your own personal trauma here]).

That shit needs to come out!

So regardless of where you are in your hormonal life, sister, I say own that sorrow, accept that rage, lie on the bathroom floor in a fetal position wailing if you need to.

Let it go.

Let it move through you.

It’s okay to feel.

It’s human.

And you are too.

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