I was talking to a very good friend this morning who is going through it. I know going through it. The sadness, the sinking that comes from seemingly nowhere. I know that feeling so well. When we were young young ladies just starting our menstral cycles the world understood. As best as the world could understand. And by world I mean men. There was something tangible they could see and be grossed out or not by. There was blood. There was an explaination. Our periods were how we all got here. Right? When the big people in our lives felt that we were ready we graduated from stork stories to where babies really came from.
Then we grew up. Whatever crazy girlishness existed was often excused because however crazy or silly or whatever we were, we were also filling out. Breasts got rounder, butts got thicker and perfectly poked, thighs filled in, stomachs stayed tight and waistlines stayed in. Add to that we were still naive in so many ways to the world and to relationships and to the power of the ...well, P ower. So given all of this on our poor little plates to deal with, what's a little craziness?
Now fast forward twenty, thirty years and we are in our forties now. Still beautiful. Smarter, wiser to the world. More aware, in love with and protecting of ourselves. But suddenly we are starting new periods. Without blood. Periods that don't seem to forward the progression of the world. We are older, wider and by the "world's" standards not as attractive as a nineteen year old woman.
"We have become disposable." This is a phrase a dear sisterfriend used. It floored me. I denied it at first. But think about it. All the jokes on us, yo mama this, yo mama that. But what's also going on during this time is that our minds and bodies are changing in ways we are caught off guard by. We had our mothers and teachers to prepare us for the emotional and physical changes that would take place when we started our periods. But we are the mothers now and no one is around to explain the hormonal shifts. The cravings and often the lows that come out of the blue. Not only are we not prepared for it but no one wants to hear about it. Shut up already, old lady!
It hurt me to hear my friend crying. It hurt me to know that her situation, my situation is not rare. I'm not a doctor and don't know if it's depression or not. Whatever it's called it's real. It's real and we are treated like we are stupid for carrying it as if we choose it. We don't. And for record, dear preachers, they are not pity parties that we give to and take back from Jesus. If we had high blood pressure or a broken leg or cancer then no one would think we were crazy or test our faith for seeking help. If there was a boil on our knees of course we would take the medication or whatever healing methods to cure the boil. Somehow God is ok with that but not mental and hormonal changes within us that we cannot control? Sisters, your medication, your therapists, your healing is not against God.
I am an ocean away and could only listen to my friend on the phone spin in her swirl. I know that the swirl doesn't last always but I also know that it sure feels like it does. I am richly blessed and have everything to live for and still there have been nights I have thought too long about my death and just could not see my way through the fog. And nothing had happened to make me feel sad. I. Just. Was. For me it takes great prayer and meditation and serious relationship with God and self and love to keep the fog away. But if I'm ever at a place where I need medication best believe I'll be down there (with my insured or uninsured self).
So my friend was spinning and spinning and I could only listen and pray. I asked her not to go to work today and she told me that she had obligations at her job. I understand that but my commitment is to her and not her job that will be there if she is not. "But you are at 10 right now! How are you even going to function at work?" I asked. "But I have a meeting." Again, I really understand. I remember being in that space and ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING outside of me became more important than me. I remember bleeding and bleeding and bleeding and cramping and telling my friend about it. When she told me not to go to work but to go to the doctor. She was on the phone but I still know what she looked like when I told her that I had to take care ofClara (the woman I was caring for when I worked for the home health agency) and that she was a very difficult client and that they wouldn't be able to get a replacement if I called in. Of course if I dropped dead someone would be there within the hour. Thank God for the bleeding because I did go to the doctor and there are issues in my body that need my attention that I would not have dealt with had I not gone. I didn't make myself a priority. I didn't. I am now though. So there.
Here's the thing. If she was in an accident and broke her legs of course she would take off and go to the doctor. Well, her mental health is important too. Besides, if she snapped at work she will be fired anyway. This, as you have guess by now is not just about her. See yourselves in this story. See me, see your daughters, mothers, sisters in this. Let's take care of ourselves. I'm talking to me too. Dear God, I'm soooooooo talking to me! Our health issues may never be a priority to the world. But our health issues are important.
We are not disposable. We are valuable. We are necessary. Let's love ourselves like we are!