Stop the Ride, I Want to Get Off!

Roy LichtensteinIf I reach back into my memory, back before the kids and the husband, stretch past the boyfriends and the general debauchery that defined my twenties, strain past that first bittersweet taste of adulthood, I can just about remember what life was like as a teenage girl, how weighted with importance everything seemed. Back then, before your personality had time to gel and set, it didn’t take much to make you feel like the world was ending. The mere hint of a cold shoulder was enough to send you running to the girls room. Tripping and God forbid falling in front of cute Stevie Jones was evidence that your life was ruined. Heather not talking to you or Tracy not giving you the time of day because she was too busy making out with Kevin by the lockers was enough to get you excused from gym. The thrill of the hummingbird wings of your heart racing when the boy you had a crush on sat next to you at lunch. The agony of I-can’t-even-remember-his-name calling you ugly in front of a gaggle of (short, pimply) boys, making you want to melt into a puddle on the floor like the Wicked Witch of the West until there was nothing left but a pair of pumps and ankle socks.

LIfe as a teenage girl is little short of bionic.  Every emotion is amplified, every feeling exaggerated. From the heights of cloud 9 to the pit of despair, all in the space of a seven period high school day. Somehow most of us survive. Things level out and life becomes a little less like a roller coaster at Great Adventure and more like a nice, gentle ferris wheel at the fair. Sure, there are still ups and downs, the cart rocks a bit in the wind, and there’s always the niggling fear that a screw is loose, but the daily highs and lows don’t seem so steep, so graded, so stomach churning.

Then one day you find yourself crying over a long distance telephone commercial. UpWorthy videos suddenly become a form of torture, emotional bamboo shoots dipped in estrogen and shoved into your cerebral cortex. Ads in other languages, ads that you can’t even understand make you weep. For the most part, you are able to wipe your eyes on your sleeve, sniff loudly and get on with your day. Until an hour or so later when the spaghetti sticks together and you have to repress an urge to throw the whole grain tangled mess, pot and all, on the floor and angrily declare your intention to NEVER COOK AGAIN.

All of a sudden you’re tripping down those high school corridors of bionic emotion all over again. Heather is mad at you and Tracy is debating whether or not to have sex behind the bleachers and what’s-his-name thinks you’re ugly and it’s like all those years have been compressed and you are once again trying to remember the combination to make it all work.

RL scream

What fresh hell is this?  I have to do this again?  Screw you, Mother Nature, are you for real??

Yesterday morning my husband was forced to listen to me rant, possibly even rave, about how much our health insurance sucks. The thing is, my husband knows our health insurance sucks. He agreed with me at the very beginning of the ‘conversation’. But that wasn’t enough. I needed him to know in great detail how much it sucked and what they could do to improve it and who could I write to and WHY WASN’T HE FIXING IT AND AGREEING WITH ME???  Fast forward to the afternoon when my Facebook feed was peppered with photos of friends sending their daughters off to school for a Father/Daughter dance and just like that…sobbing over the asparagus. Not teary eyed with a tinge of emotion, mind you. Great, heaving sobs. I won’t even go into the convoluted train of thought that derailed in my head, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the amplified, exaggerated reactions. Again.  Like a sixteen year old, but with crow’s-feet and gray hair.

There’s very little neutral ground here on the fairway of your forties. I believe I recently used the word ‘fascist’ to describe someone who wanted to do away with teacher appreciation day.  And I meant it, for those few seconds anyway. A friend sent me en email including a slide show documenting the birth of their second child and I couldn’t tell my husband what it was because I was crying too hard.  Don’t even get me started on fuck-wittery that is The Hobby Lobby mess. Rant, sob, rant, sob. It’s amazing that my husband still ventures into the kitchen these days, unsure if he will find me cooking dinner in a puddle of tears or threatening to brain someone with a frying pan.

Oh the descent into this fresh hell is dizzying for sure.

mood-swingYou can change sheets that have been soaked though with night sweats. Chin hairs can be plucked. Gray hairs can be dyed. You can fake it till you make it in-between the sodden sheets. But oh the hormone roller coaster! You’re well and truly stuck. You can’t just leap off mid hill. You can scream all you want but no one is going to stop the ride so you can get off.

I’ve started running to help balance out the rage against the machine, which helps. So far I haven’t had to run blinded by tears and breathing great, hiccuping gulps of air because, gee, that’d be really fun. I’m exhausted. The physical running tires my body. The book writing is emotionally draining, soul sucking at times, and very, very lonely.  Add the ups and downs of my current hormonal state of affairs and it’s any wonder I can keep my red rimmed eyes open long enough to threaten to hurl dinner off the balcony.  To go from high to low and back again takes a lot out of you. It’s like running an emotional 10K every day.  At least at sixteen you had the energy to bounce back. And perkier boobs.

So for now I’ll just keep going to bed a mere hour after my kids so that I have enough energy to make it up…and down…the next set of hills.  But if you hear someone screaming in between the tears, it’s probably me.

 

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26 thoughts on “Stop the Ride, I Want to Get Off!

  1. NotAPunkRocker April 6, 2014 / 5:40 pm

    Alright, now I have to start singing Duran Duran because of your comment lead-in…

    Anyway, what I was going to say is I am right there with you on all of this. Except I go to bed the same time as my kid…not that I sleep, but I am able to collapse at least.

    Like

    • dhonour April 6, 2014 / 6:10 pm

      You can alter the title of the piece slightly and sing another Duran Duran song….I’m sure it’s not long before the kids will be going to bed after me. Hopefully by then the worst will be over. One has to hang on to some hope!

      Like

  2. Kathi Tesone April 6, 2014 / 5:56 pm

    I hear you. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who cries myself to sleep at night over the hell that has become my life. Welcome sister to the club. Hopefully things will get better. 🙂

    Like

    • dhonour April 6, 2014 / 6:11 pm

      The worst part is that my life is great. Seriously, I’m in a good place. It’s just looking at my kids asleep and seeing how big they are all of a sudden,,,and I’m off. Or someone says the wrong thing and….it’s ranting time. Sometimes I feel bad for my family. Other times I think it’s all their fault. ;-).

      Like

  3. El Guapo April 6, 2014 / 6:58 pm

    Wheeeee!!!!
    Hope you find a comfortable seat on the ride, and it settles down soon…

    Like

    • dhonour April 6, 2014 / 8:13 pm

      I think I’ve got a way to go. Hopefully we’ll hit some long range plateaus in there….

      Like

  4. momocular April 7, 2014 / 4:17 am

    I hear you, on all counts! I’ve always hated all manner of roller coasters–lately, especially the one of which you write. I’m there screaming with you!

    Like

    • dhonour April 7, 2014 / 5:23 pm

      I love roller coasters. Normally. But you know, as a treat, once in a while on a nice summer day wind in your hair kind of way. Not an everyday dinner kind of way. But it helps to know you’re not alone….I think. I told a friend if we could harness all this ranting and lunatic raving, we’d rule the world.

      Like

  5. Sally April 7, 2014 / 11:38 am

    God, I’m not even there yet and I’m with you every step. It sucks. Am just a phone call away xx

    Like

    • dhonour April 7, 2014 / 1:44 pm

      Pace yourself! YOu’ve got a long way to go!

      Like

  6. Rup April 7, 2014 / 2:21 pm

    Keep up the running. If you ever need some extra running buddies. Just shout – probably can’t help with the female perspective, but we’re good at banter.

    Like

    • dhonour April 7, 2014 / 5:21 pm

      Oh, I need to work on m speed before I run with you guys. But as slow as I am, it’s still does the trick of making me work so hard to breathe that I don’t think about anything else!

      Like

  7. Yvette Yasui April 7, 2014 / 4:12 pm

    Perimenopausal and breastfeeding is my new state. Why aren’t there classes on this stuff? A one day workshop with yoga, dark chocolate and hormone replacement therapy…

    Like

    • dhonour April 7, 2014 / 5:20 pm

      Alternatively kick boxing, wine and drumming. You know yours was the slideshow that set me off yesterday morning–and now that you’ve brought up breastfeeding, I was thinking about the one time in my life I actually have cried over spilled milk, which was when I spilled a full bag of pumped breast milk all over the kitchen counter. Couldn’t work that story into the blog piece, but damn if I didn’t get it into the comments! Congrats again, but no more slide shows!!

      Like

  8. Jostein Sand Nilsen April 7, 2014 / 10:54 pm

    Yes, I think running helps 🙂 Great post.

    Like

    • dhonour April 29, 2014 / 9:07 pm

      Hey! I ran a full 5K today. Very, very slowly, but I ‘ran’ the whole way! It does help.

      Like

      • Jostein Sand Nilsen April 30, 2014 / 11:20 am

        Congratulations! (Do not run too fast, that’s the most important thing; it’s the easiest way to get sick of running altogether. It’s hard to believe when you see all the joggers around here, but running should be, can be, *is* fun. If you run at your own speed, walk, stop to climb a tree, jump over a (tiny) dog, etc.)

        Like

  9. doublewhirler April 8, 2014 / 6:06 pm

    This post arrived in the nick of time just when I thought I was losing my mind (my first EVER storm-out-of-the-house-go-for-a-walk-to-cool-down fight…over ice cream! What?), then feeling even worse crazy and guilty because life (in the bigger scope of things) is just fine. The next day, your post appeared and it was a lightbulb moment; it’s not just me, it’s ok, it’s what happens. It has long been a rant of mine that this is the real elephant in the room. Adolescence, pregnancy— those hormone fests are celebrated and documented as great passages to new life territories. This not so much, although I think our generation has a lot less shame? embarrassment? and a lot more freedom to speak menopause’s name and hold it up to the light.

    Thanks for the primer— you may have saved a life and a relationship.
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • dhonour April 29, 2014 / 9:12 pm

      Ok, I had to come back to this, because you know the way my brain works. It is a HUGE change, at least as big as puberty, yet far less celebrated. And I think, that like puberty, once we get through this…rite of passage….we will emerge into a new and exciting time of life. Perhaps slightly more hirsute and flushed, but hey, you can’t have everything. But I find myself in dark corners talking with other women of my age, nodding heads and exchanging information. Husband, who has worked with more pre/post menopausal woman than you can shake a stick at in his years of service actually has more experience with the whole shebang than me, I think. But I for one, will not go down without a fight. I will rant on through to the other side.

      Like

  10. Elyse April 9, 2014 / 1:44 pm

    HIlarious Dina, but only because I know it passes — it did for me. Now when I rant, when I’m a serious bitch, I must accept full responsibility because menopause is dead and gone.

    Perhaps you should channel your anger and angst against the ills of society. Perhaps we should get all the women going through menopause into a movement. No one would get in the way!

    Like

    • dhonour April 29, 2014 / 9:14 pm

      I mentioned that to someone recently, imagining if you could harness the ranting power of an entire generation of women who are feeling the same things. Astonishing. I’m glad to know there’s a whole world on the other side to look forward to.

      Like

  11. anntogether.com April 12, 2014 / 2:30 am

    I was a moody teen, hit my twenties hard and think I remember having a good time, then rolled into 30 getting married & having kiddies, 40’s are a blur now 50 is on its way to being a blur because the eyesight is waning a bit, the wrinkles are getting hard to see through and the sweating is bs…. 🙂
    AnnMarie
    here’s to sweating, mood swings and circus clowns

    Like

    • dhonour April 29, 2014 / 9:15 pm

      My husband offered to wear sponge pajamas once to help soak up the night sweats. It’s only one of the reasons I love him.

      Like

      • anntogether.com April 29, 2014 / 10:32 pm

        Wow what a terrific hubbie you have. Here’s to getting through the night sweats, mood swings and occasional crying jag 🙂
        AnnMarie

        Like

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