Sunday, March 13, 2005

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Yesterday I had an adolescent day, more of the John Hughes variety than the Hillary Duff. I was hormonal and emotional and terrible. What the hell? When can I safely leave these days behind? I have been praying for menopause since I was 14, but praying can kiss my big fat ass, because it's not working. What good is prayer if you don't get what you ask for? Maybe I should send this request to Santa instead of God, because with an 82% return rate on my Christmas list and only 2% success rate on my praying, seems like Santa is just a teensy bit more reliable. Anyway, my point being, I'm still riding the crimson wave twice a year, and it still sucks. I accept that this is "part of life", but I don't like it. Plus, all the cramps and all the mood swings are compounded into just 2 episodes a year, so it's intense.

When you're young, the women in your life try to make it sound like a good thing. My mother said I would BECOME A WOMAN. Well, Mom, fuck that. She knew damn well it was a crampy curse all along, but she tried to trick me into thinking it was something that I should look forward to. Nice. Why do parents lie to their children?

"If you go out without a scarf, you'll catch your death."

"Eating your crusts makes you grow boobs."

"You're not weird, you're just different."

Yeah, thanks Mom. That helps. My grandmother talked about the "monthlies". I imagined it was like a magazine subscription. I had no idea that getting my monthlies and becoming a woman were one and the same thing. And then it happened. At camp. Oh.

And then it continues for the next 35 years. Nice. Sure, there were some months I prayed for it to come, and I sweated every second that it was late, but those months are far behind me now. I have no use for these episodes, and if there was a box that I could tick off to stop them, I would give it a big fat check mark and live happily ever after. But I have to keep going through it regardless of the futility, and the only solace I have is making Jason miserable right along with me.

When the storm is coming, Jason boards up the windows and takes his position down in the cellar. But, this time he had no choice: we needed to venture out into the world, he had to take me out of the padded cell and risk being within punching distance. He knew it wouldn't be pretty, but he had to try. He gave me full reign of the bathroom to get ready, and in fact, exited the house completely to give me space. He stood outside in sub zero temperatures where he knew he would be safer. Inside, I raged and ranted, but only broke one mirror, one lamp, and 4 plates, so it was a success on my part aswell.

"You look beautiful today, princess."

"Shut the fuck up!"

And we were off. We did our banking (well, Jason did the banking, I sat in the car with my arms folded, seething until he got back), picked up a few groceries (I snarled and bared my teeth at any man who dared look in my direction, and when I almost lost it trying to free the pennies from my wallet, Jason assessed the situation as possibly lethal to the cashier, and sent me out to the car with a bar of chocolate), and then went to the video store. In my state, and with the weather acting up again, we decided to spend the next 3 days curled up on the couch watching movies. Jason wisely left the movie picking up to me, and we came away with a strange mix, but there were no hissy fits or balls-kicking, so we were both happy.

One last stop at my grandmother's, and we were home free. Nanny is not normally one to mince words. I know this, my mother knows this, my sisters know this, but Jason listens to our stories and gives Nanny the benefit of the doubt. But today she was in fine form, and before I was all the way through the door, she greets me with "Wow, that's a huge zit on your forehead!"

Jason has a panicked look in his eyes. "Zit? I never noticed a zit. Well, we can't stay long! Just came to say hello, so hello. We should probably get going now!" He steered me back out the door, buckled me up in the car while I inspected my HUGE ZIT in the rearview mirror, and sped off into the direction of salvation.

Jason knows there is only one recourse here. He must buy the magic elixir if he is to live through the night. He buys me chips and dip, the only thing in the world that will put a smile on my lips on such a day, and we return home safely. He instructs me to put on my pjs and lie down on the couch where he can rub my feet and pull my hair the way I like. I try to do as he says, I really do, but it doesn't go as smoothly as either of us would like.

"Jamie, do you want to watch Babe or Reservoir Dogs first? Jamie? Where are you?"

I'm in the bedroom, half dressed, crying. The waterworks have been switched on, and we both know they'll pour now for 4 days straight.

"Princess, what's wrong?"

"Fuck you. Leave me alone." I have discovered a great tragedy. Well, not discovered really, so much as remembered. My pj pants have holes in them. These holes have been ripping and widening for a month now, and never seemed overly tragic until this day. Now I am crying uncontrollably for the loss of some comfy pants. I should throw them out. I know I should, or else tear them up into rags. But I don't want to throw them out. It's just a holy crotch, they're still functional as pants. The only one who sees me in them is Jason, and he doesn't mind glimpses of my crotch. So why am I crying? I do have other pjs. My life is not irreparably damaged. I should bounce back from this, but I can't. I just cry and cry, and I'm paralyzed on the bed, unable to finish dressing, to get up, to go on. Jason rubs my back. "Don't touch me!"

Of course I know I'm being too harsh. I know I'm not even mad at him, but it makes me feel better to yell at something or someone, and Jason is an easy target. He kisses the top of my head, and goes to get me some tissues. This reminds me of the red pencil incident. One day, back in high school, where this kind of thing still happened to be monthly, I discovered that the red pencil from my pack was missing. Probably, it was on the bottom of my locker, buried under clutter. Probably my red pencil would not have held so much power over me on a regular day. But 'probably' was not occurring to me as I sat in the girl's washroom, locked inside a stall and sobbing through the whole of art period. Objectively, I knew it was silly to cry over a pencil, like I knew then on the bed that pjs were not worth crying over. But objectivity is overrated when your hormones are raging. I took some deep breaths, and slowly, I recovered some composure.

Jason pops Babe into the VCR. Before the opening credits are over, I ask him to shut it off. "My neck is sore again", I tell him. He asks if he can get me a muscle relaxant, and I say no. He asks if I want a neck rub, and I say no. He asks if there's anything he can do, and I respond "Just turn the damn movie back on!"

Three singing mice and a sweet little piglet come on the screen. "Am I going to barf from cuteness?" asks Jason, and shoots me that sexy as hell smile of his. But we don't barf from cuteness, because before long, I'm on another crying jag: the sheep dies, the farmer misunderstands, a dog is anesthetized, puppies are sold away from their mother, Babe learns his parents have been rendered into pork. I cry like it's the saddest thing on earth, and to me it is. Jason worries that I'll flood the basement with my tears, and that 7 boxes of tissues will not be enough. We have to stop the movie twice; it takes us 4 hours to watch Babe, and I cry so much I give myself the dry heaves. But we do make it through, and Jason thinks to himself that we are now 4 hours closer to the relative safety of sleep.

Before we make it to bed, I cry twice more: once because I can't decide what I want for supper, and the second time because I gave myself rope burn on my eyelid with the string from my hoodie. Knowing that we will laugh about this later does little to help at the moment. In bed, I cry just one more time, silently, because Jason is holding me in his arms, even after a day like we've just had. Every time I have a day like this, it feels like high school, but the crappy kind of high school where I still have to pay bills and make dinner and go through the motions of life. The only improvement over high school is having my own punching bag, er, husband, I mean. Yes, having a husband on days like this makes life just a tiny bit more livable.

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