I should be bouncing madly, ready for the Von Bondies to take the stage shortly, but I bailed on my best friend for an evening at home, after a very emotional day.
Please comment, but don’t do the well-meaning “Oh, Steff, you poor thing” stuff, ‘cos that usually gets me worked up and thinking I should be feeling sorry for myself rather than succeeding being strong.
So, I know it’s a full moon night. I know I’m overtired anyhow. I know my week was daunting the fuck out of me to begin with. I know these things. I’m sure this is nothing. I know THAT, too.
Nonetheless, my mind went spinning a million directions. Tears were had. More than once. And in my open-space office, even.
But you don’t even know why, so now we’ll back it up a bit.
In April, I had a pretty horrifically painful menstrual cycle that went off-the-rails different from what it normally has been like. “Different” isn’t good, methinks. My friend at work asked me if it was bad like that EVERY month lately, or just every second month. That’s when I first realized it’d been every second month of late, but that I was able to dismiss it because of my back injury. Maybe it wasn’t, it could be something with just one of the ovaries, then, she suggested, and mentioned I should see the doctor. Good point, I thought.
Well, I finally got there last week, and casually mentioned it to him, and said I had some concerns, given my mother died of very rare and aggressive ovarian & uteran cancer.
He sort of shrugged it off and said, “Oh, there could be a lot of minor reasons for that, nothing to have big concerns about. But, hey, let’s get an ultrasound anyhow.”
Well, this is Canada. Land of Waiting. I don’t need to PAY for the ultrasound, not even a user fee, but we do usually wait a matter of several weeks.
So, I get the call this morning. “Okay, your ultrasound’s on Saturday, and it’s important–”
And then, suddenly, wham: Alarm bells.
Now, I’m smart enough to realize “Hey, it’s Saturday, the summer, weather’s great… someone’s probably cancelled and they squeezed me in to be on the safe side,” but the girl-who-lost-her-mother inside of me, well, she’s got a different take on things.
Her take’s a little more emotional paranoia. “This week? In a socialist system? THAT CAN’T BE GOOD. ”
That’s the way that cookie crumbles, though. When you’ve gone through these things, THAT is your frame of reference. “Mom went in for something minor; six months later she was dead.”
THAT is MY frame of reference. And try as I might, as an intelligent and strong and passionate woman, to fight that mentality with logic and probability and everything I know about psychology, well, it’s a rocky battle and one with no clear outcome.
Because the heart often overrules the mind. If we don’t know this already, we should. The heart inspires the worst of crimes, the greatest of tragedies, and the most enduring of stupidities. Trying to bitch-slap it with logic is pretty futile at the best of times, and I’m smart enough to grasp that in all its importance.
I have The Fear. I know The Fear. I’m well-acquainted with The Fear, but it’s been awhile since we spent a night together.
Shaking these things off and beating myself up about them is the wrong way to go. I have EVERY reason to be reacting as I am. Anyone would have any reason to do so.
It’s not like I’m over here quivering with terror, making a will, or anything moronic like that. No, my reaction was to: cancel a couple appointments later this week to take the pressure off my schedule, tell my friend I was bailing on him for my concert, go into work, tell them I need a personal day, work a good and productive day to clear both my slate and my conscience, go to the grocery store to stock up on healthy eats, and plan a 35km bike ride on my day off.
THAT’s how we “give in to The Fear” at Chez Steff.
Tonight is for me. Tomorrow too. And I’m not going to feel sorry for myself or get all wimpy in the face of being scared-and-waiting, instead I’m using it as a good time to reassess where I think I’ve been going wrong with my life of late. (Because as much as I’ve been doing right, there are many areas I feel I’m failing in. I mean, if I’m honest with myself. Because how often are we, really?)
But I’ve been thinking. I’m one of these people who’s often more content to “ride it out” when it comes to feeling like shit or thinking I’m off-kilter. My assumption usually is, “It’ll be fine.”
Well, I suspect that’s why my mother died at 57 instead of living long enough to see me become the woman she’d always wanted me to be more like. She didn’t worry much about herself, and never as often as she should have, either. She had Selfless-Mother Syndrome, like many women out there do, and she’s dead now because of it. [Which gives me an occasion to say this: Care more about yourselves, Moms, instead of always putting your kids first, because not caring about yourself might make you dead sooner than you should be, and that’s no fucking way to put your kid first.]
I’ve been trying to change that irrelevance-of-self nurture that was instilled in me. I mention more to my doctor now. I swallow more of my pride, even when it involved icky bodily functions none of us enjoy mentioning. I figure it’s time. It’s time I get invested in this live-as-long-as-I-can thing. It’s time I don’t just eat “all right” and get good exercise, but that I confront any physical worries I may have as soon as I’m able, and with a real-live professional, not some faceless authority on the internet.
Well before this morning I had already thought about the possible connection to my mother’s health — since the only cancer I’m at direct risk of, regardless of all the other cancer in my family, is what my mother died of, but even that isn’t known to have direct genetic links. Thank god. It’s still possible, though, I’ve been told, and something we’ll aggressively screen me for yearly, as of this year. Something about getting that call this morning, though, and my to-be-expected reaction of “That SOON? In socialist medicare?” and my dealing-with-it-ness went right off the hook.
But I handled my meltdown textbook. I’m still in a shitty mood, but I’ve handled it textbook. I’m owning it, experiencing it, challenging it, and using it as an opportunity to effect change, regardless of the outcome when I get that ultrasound.
Deep down inside, I expect this will all be just fine. Better yet, I think it’ll make me a better and more compassionate person. Most adversities tend to grow me a little. I suspect a week or so from now I’ll have a little more appreciation for my oh-so-ordinary life.
And I suspect that, at the end of this, this will all have been for the better.
But that still leaves tonight. And tomorrow. And all the curious hours of unknowing and waiting in between.
Yet? Que sera, sera.
[I may not know for a week or two what the results are. Don’t ask me or pester me. Thanks. You know what you need to when you need to know it.]