1/3 Life Crisis

11130237_577713329037261_202989222118470169_nI miss my hair.

It was pretty, thick and longer than I had ever grown it before.  In the past year, about half of it has fallen away from my scalp, into the wastebaskets, vacuum, bristles at the end of the broom.  Embedded in towels and insides of socks after a tumble in the dryer.

I’m not sure why it has fallen out, exactly.  At first I thought it was a hormone I was taking, but after I quit taking everything. It started to fall out again.  I have heard it can be caused by hormonal imbalances.

That’s me.

I was a late bloomer, symptoms of endometriosis that were un-ignorable didn’t hit until age 30, and the diagnosis came 3 years later.  I had the kids, I had my 20’s and a marriage and the regular life.  So many younger women get diagnosed before that all happens for them, and I feel so sad about that when I think of it.

I was lucky.  Luckier than many.  I had my 20’s, marred only by my own stupidity and bad decisions, and not the disease.

But I started my 30’s off divorced, and going back to college, so it felt like my 20’s.  Moving back into my parents’ and working toward a degree, seeing my kids on my visits with them, hoping and planning towards a future that fit me nicely.  Finding my career path, getting a place to live, falling in love again, better, and smarter than I had opted to in the past.  My thirties felt like my twenties and I was up for it.

But I was in pain, and feeling sick a lot, and sought the advice of varied medical professionals.  And they made me nag, getting that answer wasn’t an easy thing.  Finally, I convinced a gynecologist to slice me open and see what was inside of me, after all the scans has failed to definitively answer my questions.

I woke up from my operation to find I had in fact been diagnosed with endometriosis and he had removed it.  I was not sure if this meant I still had it or not.  I didn’t really know what it meant to have this anyway, a disease I had heard of but never really made any type of mental connection to.

About 2 months later, I realized that yes, I still had it, and the pain was still hanging around.  Cut to today, after a few different types of hormone attempts to manage my pain.  Too many side effects – I am an expert and having side effects, and I found most of them.

I became chubby and dark under my eyes.  The hair thinning… my hair is now limp and stringy when I used to roll my eyes at how heavy and unmanageable it was.  Little did I know how lucky I was.  I stopped trying to meet any man in any way other than as a friend… who would ever want to take on me and my bullshit?  When I did like someone, it ended up horribly.  I spent most of last year bleeding, including a fucked-up and horrifying episode during an attempt to “hook up” with a guy I’d been lusting after for a while.  I know I made a great impression.

It hit me that a woman in near-constant pain and often dealing with the mood swings, acne, fatigue, and loss of sexual desire brought on by the condition itself, as well as the hormone therapies, was not really a hot commodity.  Well, fuck me.  But not really.  That’d be weird.

I miss my hair.  I don’t care how petty that sounds. I fucking miss my mermaid hair, and being a wanton slut if I felt like it, without having to plan it ahead on the calendar, these hook-ups every 6 months that I enforce.  I try to do this so I don’t forget what it’s like to feel sexual and attractive and desirable. Gotta make sure it is on a week during my cycle when I don’t feel like shit, or have a PMS IBS flare-up.  That would hinder the attractive thing for sure.

I feel bad about having to “hook up”.  I really don’t respect the idea.  I believe the body is a precious commodity and it should not be squandered.  I just came to understand that if I waited for love, my hymen would definitely grow back.  Gotta do what you gotta do.  I am not ready for my sex life to end in my thirties.

I will have that next surgery, maybe I will agree and try the hormones again, and maybe it will keep me pain-free for a while, or maybe not.  It’s a roll of the dice.  I miss what it felt like to envision a future with a sense of options.  I am not sure how broad my choices are anymore.  There is a possibility the rest of my life is spent dealing with the drama of my stupid uterus, growing like a jerk all over my other insides.  I picture she means well, but just overshot her goal and totally lost sight of the other party’s needs (mine).  We all know someone like this in our lives.

I will keep on truckin’ and keep thanking God or the Universe or myself, perhaps, for all the good in my life, and all the good I believe I can do.  I will hang tightly on to this notion when I have the days where I struggle to find reasons to continue to live, when I am so afraid that all my life will be from here on out is pain.

Suffering.  Fear.  Surgeries.  Alone-ness.  Maybe it will be, maybe it won’t.  Maybe if it is, it is not the worst fate.  Definitely not.

I will get my degree and try to use my voice to illuminate some dark things with my writing, and I will cling to this idea when I wonder if I am getting a degree I will never be able to use.  All I can manage is right now, and I don’t have the excess energy to fret for days that have not come.

But, Jesus.  I do miss me.  I was pretty, skinny, silly, flirty.  My future was open, and there was a lot to look forward to.  I worried about stupid shit because I didn’t have an idea yet what it was like to have actual problems.

Maybe I don’t miss that last part… I was kind of a dumbass…  Here’s to personal growth.

-Etty

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