Chaos or Chemistry
I am riding a moment, right now, which I don’t usually catch this consciously. Usually it’s a moment I catch in a rearview mirror, realizing what I have just gone through as it is almost passed, and sometimes I realize it and don’t look back at all, too busy cleaning up the havoc it wreaked to bother bidding it good-bye. I tend to notice it and feel uncomfortable, often physically, though even the worst of that is nothing to the discomfort of feeling as if I had just been hijacked, and really not liking that.
What I’m talking about here are my hormones. Mine are shifting, again, apparently this time mildly. I’m heading into the "dip" right before my body makes the executive decision, once again, that there is no fertilized egg attached to the lining of the uterine wall, and this work it’s been doing all month needs to be sent down the chute because it’s not going to be used, and once that is over, they’ll reset the system and start again.
It’s such a mundane event on the surface, at least in the fact that it’s something that happens all the time and keeps happening and should keep happening for some time to come, and is pretty normal and biological and happens to roughly half the population for a third of their lives, if they live anywhere close to full expectancy. It’s actually a good thing for me, because I am currently not wishing to become pregnant, and for several years there this cycle of mine was in Full Fucked Mode, happening too often and with the wrong hormones on. But it’s because of that period of time I am now so sensitive to my hormonal changes that I can practically taste them. It’s why I can catch them coming on at all, because I know the things that change, and how they change. I’m catching it a lot earlier in the dip this time, which is helpful on one hand, and scary in another.
Why is it scary? Well, let’s skip the tripe now about women and their crazy emotional cycles and out-of-control PMS. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m so drugged right now it isn’t funny–I’m as in tune with the subtle shifts of my muscles as I am my hormones. Right now a good portion of my day is noticing my body, which actually, I think is karmically very important, because I work so hard to ignore it. I think it’s staged a revolt and is forcing me to listen. So now you get to listen to me consciously notice my chemicals, because my body has trained me so well do to so, and because I haven’t blogged in awhile and wanted to blog something, and this floated up.
See, here’s the thing: roughly every twenty-some days I am reminded that I am renting a room, and this room is a bag of water with a bunch of weird chemicals floating all over. The chemicals and the water and the room affect me, and how. The chemicals turn themselves on, and off. When they shift one way, I can see into alternate universes in technicolor, and when the room is content to let me sit for long, long hours on end, I can write that stuff down. But then sometimes the chemical soup shifts, and that window closes, either partially or entirely. It’s not that I’m tired, or hurting. It’s like every day you go to a wall to look out a window, or you go to a door to get to a part of the house, and for a week of the month it is not there. And then sometimes the not-there bit moves. Sometimes it’s this door, and others it’s that one. Sometimes it isn’t that the door is gone, it’s that suddenly it’s a different color, and instead of fairies inside, there are monsters. Sometimes the music is different. Sometimes everyone is speaking in French. And you just never know. And you can’t change it, or complain about it, and one day, you know that the windows and doors will change permanently. And you don’t know what will go or stay, and you can’t prep.
THIS is what makes me cranky. The hormones rewrite the world. They don’t make me cranky. It’s the changed world that freaks me the fuck out.
What bothers me most about the fact that so many subtle but important to me things change once a month is that it reminds me that none of this is really real, or that it’s only as real as the chemicals make it. I never know what to do with that idea. I don’t care of you say God put us here to learn a lesson or to help mankind, or if it’s Ra in his spaceship and the great battle with the Whosis, or if it’s all just completely random and the fact that since there have been people they have insisted on making it more and yet there is nothing at all behind the curtain but the backside of the curtain–whatever, you can’t shake the fact that we’re all walking around in skin suits with a lot of water and our own drug factory. For either a really good reason or none, you’re doing it. Everybody is. And it’s weird, and every now and again you notice.
It’s during this week that sometimes, when I realize it is happening, I think, what am I, actually? Am I what this body does, what these chemicals do to me, or am I the me inside that the chemicals are doing things to? Both? But then, what if my brain melts down? What if I develop a tumor and it isn’t just chemicals altering my reality, but a mass? Is that me, too? Am I more than my skin suit and my drug farm, or is that the very point? That whatever I am or have been or ever will be–perhaps this is my own personal Stardust, and I am a fallen star who lost her memory–maybe that was me, but now I am this. Whatever this is.
This is the week that sort of thing really gets me.
Because this is the week where everything is shadow and suspect. I can still see into places you shouldn’t see, and I still can lift corners of my map and see worlds most people literally can’t imagine, but now I look at them and wonder, why are they not real, but this is? Is it all because of chemicals? Those worlds are shades in my mind–either they really are somewhere, or they are only in my head, but I’m pretty sure none of them are flesh and blood, not like this–is that what makes me real, and they pretend? Is it pain and pleasure that make life? Or is it not even as romantic as that? Is it just chemicals?
You could go mad thinking about it, and I suspect many have. But then the chemicals, for most of us kick in, just when it starts to get itchy, just when your heart rate gets too high and you feel the edge of the tent flapping, ready to fly off and leave you in the madness–that’s when you have an itchy nose, or your ass is sore, or you could really, really go for a cup of cocoa. Or your tooth hurts, and the chemicals fuel to the brain and you think, damn, I should go to the dentist. And suddenly you don’t care about the chaos, because what are you going to do about that? But the tooth–well, let that go too long, and it will hurt. You forget that nonsense about whether or not you’re really here, and you go call the dentist.
And yet, this week, especially now that I have caught it, is a week when another chemical turns on, and I am a Shadow Woman, a woman on different chemicals, a woman who can See. And this, for a woman who can always see pretty damn far anyway–well. It’s quite a trip. Because it’s this week that I can see that is not just chemistry, and it’s not just chaos, and it isn’t even just the tooth. It’s all of it, all at once. And to top it all off, this week, I can see behind the curtain.
But it doesn’t last. Next week, the chemicals shift, and I’ll forget. Even reading this entry, I’ll think, God, I was nuts to write that. I sound insane. Until the next twenty-some days pass, and then, if I find this entry, I will smile, in shadow, and lift the edge again, and think, as I am now: