Hormonal Rage

Just to recap: I’m from Los Angeles, but I’m currently in the UK, two years into a very fish-out-of-water experience. Being an expat is no joke. I’m not exaggerating when I say that almost everything is different in England than it is in California, where in my homesick memory, even in the traffic is more tolerable.

I’m in England because I’m working on a PhD about childbirth intervention. Somehow, I managed to convince an academic department to fund my project, and now I actually have to DO this massive thing.

Finally, I’ve just had my first baby.

So: 5,000 miles from family + PhD student + new mom. I have no local family support, I’m working on a doctorate, I haven’t slept more than 4 consecutive hours in 7.5 months, I carry/cradle/pick up/put down/walk/dance/bounce my son all day long, I am still exclusively breastfeeding, I am ten pounds lighter than I was when I got divorced and stopped eating for three months, and until two days ago, when I passed my UK driving test, I couldn’t drive here and was walking/taking the train/catching buses with a child strapped to my body whenever I had to go anywhere. So, I’m fucking exhausted and sometimes I can’t think straight or make decisions or get through a driving lesson without coming home and losing my shit because everything is just DEMANDS CONSTANTLY.

Thus, I find it really offensive and dismissive when people tell new moms that it’s okay to feel upset because our “hormones are still settling.” As if not loving every second of our insane new lives could only be because us ladies are forever at the mercy of our hormones. We accept that a person who hasn’t slept well overnight or has a cold might be negatively impacted, but we feel the need to excuse mothers who feel bad. Don’t worry, Mom. You’re just hormonal. I understand that some women really do suffer from hormonal imbalances post-pregnancy, and I don’t at all mean to disparage them. However, patting a new mom on the the head and telling her that all her fears and anxieties and complete exhaustion are just by-products of her hormones does two things:

  1. Ignores that having a baby explodes a woman’s life
  2. Dismisses the very real and very visceral physical and emotional trauma of that explosion

I feel crazy sometimes because I’m sleep deprived and physically drained and walking around with eighteen pounds of squirming, grabbing baby attached to my skeletal frame all day long. I snap at my husband because as much as he loves us, he doesn’t understand what this is like for me. I am uncomfortable with the way I look because I look really different. I get angry or weepy or temporarily mean because I am tasked with something damn near impossible and I am just one human being and I am tired.

Being overwhelmed by a new baby is normal, because a new baby is overwhelming, not because women just can’t hang. I pushed a person out of my body and am now responsible for taking care of him. I think I’m entitled to have some real feelings about it.

Starting Over.

Helllllllllo.

Oh, how I’ve missed this. I’ve had the most eventful, dramatic, blog-worthy two months of my entire life and yet have had no idea how to make the transition from “married person blogging about conception” to “divorced 27-year-old living with her parents for the first time in ten years,” and therefore could not share it in real time.

depressed-cat-meme

In fact, I’m still pretty damn sure I don’t know how to do it. However, in the last eight weeks, I’ve done literally every single other thing that has been terrifying me and making me anxious and haunting my dreams for the past several years of my life (read: ended a major relationship, finished my thesis, applied to graduate from my Master’s program, started leading a classroom, to name a few), so I have full faith in my abilities to talk about myself on the internet again.

Until I figure out exactly how to explain my new life, please enjoy some photos of me and the Fiece, who is basically in college now, and her younger sister, who is, sadly, almost always eclipsed by the never-ending tornado of crazy that is the Fiece. A gigantic, absolutely sincere thank you to Fertile Myrtle, for being the most supportive, kind, and generous friend during the worst/best time of my entire life, and for letting me snuggle her babies whenever I felt like spinning out. I love you, darlings.

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And finally, la piece de resistance, Fiece all fired up over a particularly gruesome moment in Katy Perry’s “Roar” video:

Hopefully, I’ll be back soon, with tales of travels and dramas and huge, epic, Eat-Pray-Love-y personal growth.

P.S. If you really missed me and want to thank someone for lighting this new posting fire, head over and say hi to Katy. She sent me the most thoughtful, wonderful email the other day, and made me realize that I need this back in my life. Thank you, Katy! Much love.

Ka-kaw.

There are many reasons why I love my husband, but at the moment, the reason I love him the most is that he puts up with me.  And sometimes, I’m a lot.  Case in point:

I’ve recently started yelling, “Ka-kaw!” at people when I throw things in their general area, which, believe it or not, is actually an action I do quite a lot.  I throw things at people at work, at my parents’ house, at my house.  So, there have been many opportunities of late for me to scream, “Ka-kaw!” at unsuspecting strangers/family members/coworkers the same way one might call out, “Incoming!” or “Catch!” – except my new catchphrase came from thin air and makes no sense to anyone but me.  I, however, find it hilarious and am secure enough in my personal insanity that I don’t care that I’m the only one laughing at the obnoxious thing I just did.  (I came to terms a long time ago with my bizarre sense of humor, when I tried in vain to explain to people why I find funny gloves so hysterical.  The Grinch’s fingers get me every time.)

How are you not in hysterics right now?

How are you not in hysterics right now?

Just now, I decided (a little late) to do my good deed for the day, hoping to offset whatever negativity might have sent that truck my way this morning.  I ventured out into the frosty living room and grabbed a blanket my husband really wanted.  And, because none of (the recipients of) my good deeds go unpunished, I threw the blanket at him as he lay in bed and yelled, “Ka-kaw!” at him like a nutcase.

He said, very politely, “Thank you,” despite the fact that I’d just woken him up by lobbing a folded blanket brick at his face.

To which I responded, “Oh, don’t thank me.  Thank the eagle spirit who just gave that to you.”

And he did.  He said, “Thank you, eagle spirit.”

And I will love him for the rest of my life.

So Hot Right Now.

Things it is too hot for: sleeping, being comfortable, cooking, wearing pants, blow drying my hair (I’m pretending to be restricted by the heat, but I totally would never do it anyway), walking the dog, wearing makeup.  As an adult, summer has most definitely slipped to second favorite season – as much as I love summer time barbecues at my grandparents’ house and my annual burn-tan, I cannot wait to wear all my new cozy H&M sweaters, drink pumpkin spice lattes and tool around pumpkin patches.  I’m already impatient to wear my Halloween costume.

This is entirely because Sally Albright from When Harry Met Sally is my spirit animal and too many things about summer annoy me.

If I hadn’t been only three years old when this movie was released (and therefore unable to order my own salads), I would fully believe this movie was written for me.

Like the heat, mostly.  I can’t stand being oppressively hot.  No matter how much I hydrate, I get migraines.  No matter how much sunscreen I wear, I fry.  No matter how many dresses I wear to prevent chaffing, I break out in rashes.  I’m just too delicate for weather extremes.  So tragic.  When I was a kid, every August my dad dragged us to every national park between Los Angeles and New Mexico and I fought him tooth and nail because traipsing around the desert in the hottest weeks of summer was absolutely torturous for me.  (Little did I know at the time that I’d eventually go to graduate school in Anthropology and want to live in all those places.)  Thus, the weather here is making me insane.

It’s also doing wonders for my skin, as this is the first really humid LA summer I can remember.  I currently have several drying patches of crushed-aspirin-and-water paste dotting my face, because I read somewhere (read: Glamour magazine) that aspirin can take the redness out of a pimple.  I’ve been doing this for days and I can attest that that is totally bullshit.  However, it’s not making things worse per se and it’s still nice to pretend that I’m doing something to combat the break outs, other than, you know, drinking vinegar like a total nutcase (which I didn’t actually even do today because it struck me yesterday that sloshing a bunch of acid in my mouth might break apart my teeth and now I refuse to continue drinking my tablespoon of ACV per pint of water until I buy some plastic straws and can sip it with as little contact with my teeth as possible.  I am insane).

Also also, no period today.  I did, however, get a massive statement in the mail from the lab that ran my genetic tests.  Apparently, when my insurance company said that the tests were covered in full, they actually meant covered in third, because I now owe around 27% of the astronomically high testing fee.  My first thought upon opening this bill?  It wasn’t, “Holy crap, that’s a lot of money and wasn’t this supposed to be cheaper with insurance?”  It was, “Holy crap, if it turns out I’m infertile, this is going to be a huge waste of money.”

See, sometimes being a raging hypochondriac works in my favor.  I’m so worked up about being unable to conceive that I’m not really bothered by how much money I’ll have paid in order to have someone tell me I’m completely normal and healthy.

(Reread that last sentence and tell me I’m not crazy.)