Since the day I discussed hormone targeting treatments with my OBGYN a few years ago my biggest fear has been being crazy. Maybe not actually being psychotic but being visibly, noticeably, legitimately crazy. I suppose before that day, right after my surgery, that I had been most worried about being infertile. Childless…and possibly spouse-less to match. But that afternoon it dawned one me that worse than suffering from something so personal and so capable of shaking me to my core, that the reality that I might live in a state so vulnerable that other people would be able to notice was a tragic awakening.
I suppose heartache is heartache and tragedy is tragedy, but for a girl who mastered the art of masks, being exposed threatened my reality more than anything. I was shaken. I suppose I still am.
“Spoiled”, he called me. “He”, as in him. My mother agreed. A harmless insult that is considerably true (I require lots of attention) drove me up the wall like never before. No really, I went there. Eye rolls. Shady remarks and the attitude to match. As if he had called me out of my name the remainder of our evening spun downhill from that moment on providing a startling contrast from the previous two evenings where we had laughed ourselves to sleep. So much in fact, that the man that I love looked into my eyes and asked me...a woman…an already emotionally frustrated woman…an already emotionally frustrated woman who is KNOWN to give you a piece of her mind…if I was having a mood swing. Pause.
How dare he! The implication alone was rude, slightly sexist and belittling and inappropriate and true. So true. So true in fact that I had completely bought into my unwarranted mood and missed all the flashing, flaming, screaming warning signs along the way. Lost appetite at lunch today. A series of hot flashes a few days before followed by instant fatigue and irritability. Somethings wrong. So wrong that he could see. If only my existence had melted away as fast as my confidence in that moment. Then tears. So many tears…mostly withheld because well…they wouldn’t help to disappear. I would say that I had never been so embarrassed but I’m sure that wouldn’t be true. I will say, that I was PRECISELY as embarrassed that I had feared I would be one day if my involuntary mood swings got the best of me. I’ve never felt so exposed…mainly to a conversation I had subconsciously sworn I’d never need to have.
It’s unfortunate, to be out of control…of anything really. Life. Words. Uncomfortable seasons. Certainly yourself. Definitely your heart, not to mention your emotions.
I tend to openly acknowledge that for some periods of my life I wore masks to hide the pain and shame of what was really going on, but I forget to mention that no one ever taught me to wear a mask. They taught me how to hold it together, they taught me how to be presentable and selective on the perceptions of myself that I allow my actions to fuel. Those teachings seemed damaging when I tried to recover from years of hiding and an understanding of transparency continually escaped me, but today they somehow seem vital when I’ve lost all control.
Endometriosis is outrageously painful. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can be dramatically exhausting. Trust me, I know in the worst ways. Still, vulnerability has haunted me most. The ideal of being visibly weak has scarred me more than anything the doctor has dared to diagnose.
I want to leave something encouraging here but I seem to be lacking the elegant end.
I will say this, it is blessed to be covered by God given grace. Not people excusing your behavior because it is minimal or unimportant but people who love you and choose you and decide to stare your issues right in the face and stand with you. The people whose words and resolve, in regard to your shame, wipe more tears than their hands ever could. Those people are a blessing and vulnerability in those places are so very blessed. At no point do I want my biggest burden to be center stage in the conversation but thank God for opening the most embarrassing wounds within the coverings he’s created. I suppose its natural to push back from embarrassment or shame regardless of how they encounter you, but I truly trust God. I trust him to be all I need. I trust him to expose me in ways that heal me instead of shame me. I trust that if he has clearly walked me, completely blind, into a moment of blatant revelation that it is good for me. No matter the weight I trust him. No matter the wait I trust him. Mainly to be completely in control whenever I am not. But also, to qualify me where I have clearly fallen short and justify me when I am wrong, afraid and embarrassingly, unwillingly broken.
Despite the tears I know he means well for me. The Lord draws near to the broken hearted. He rescues those who’s spirits are crushed. (Psalm 34:18)
At least I never have to be alone.
P.S. If you’re dealing with endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, infertility, or memories of miscarriage I am with you. I am for you and praying for your strength daily. I know that it seems like an afterthought until suddenly its not. I know how exhausting a day can be for no reason at all. I know how pain and emptiness seem to go hand in hand on those very same days. I’m sorry you’re hurting and so glad you’re still standing. Please don’t give up hope. You are worth the healing that you seek and the future your womb seems to long for. I love you.
….and when you feel a mess I pray you never feel alone. Hang in there.