Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Adding Insult to Injury

We all know that women are sometimes very sensitive by nature. It's no secret, and no mystery when it comes to the fairer sex. We are just emotional creatures, but I have always felt this was a strength. My mother, in the midst of a huff with my dad, has often looked at me and said, "I'm so fucking glad that I'm a girl.", and I've pretty much always felt the same way. This is not to imply that there aren't a ton of very sensitive, thoughtful, nurturing men out there. I know a lot of them and I value each one in high regard. It's just that in this particular instance I'd like to stay on the topic of women, my pregnant self in particular, and how easy it is to let my emotions get the better of me.

In my case, I have always been labeled the family drama queen. This, of course, irritates me to no end but I at least have enough self control to not freak out and prove the theory true when the topic arises. I'm just one of those personality types that is going to tell you how I feel no matter what. I like to think of myself as a talented and creative communicator rather than a drama queen. Kim Kardashian is a drama queen. Taylor Swift is a drama queen. I am a productive talker, or so I tell myself. The drama queen theory has only gotten worse as my pregnancy progresses, and I'm honestly finding less reasons to argue it on a daily basis.

I don't know that this holds true for all pregnant women but movies, television and my own experience have told me over the years that pregnant women will cry at the drop of a hat. Even the smallest and most innocent of comments can set me into a whirlwind of what ifs, whys, and unrealistic fantasies of telling people off. This shit will stick with me for days, even weeks. I can even get myself worked up about insulting encounters that happened 10 years ago. I can take it back to junior high if I let myself keep going once I start. Most of the time these insulting encounters happen in a way that I've come to refer to as the "staircase affect" and is part of why I tend to hold onto things.

Let me explain: think of one of those times when a friend or stranger says something they see as innocent (or maybe they mean it to be hurtful) and it kind of takes you off guard so you don't react to it right away. This would be at the bottom of the metaphorical staircase. You then continue your journey up but halfway you stop and think, "That was a really shitty thing for them to say. Why would they say that?", but they aren't even on the stairs anymore. They've moved on. By the time you reach the top, you may be really sad and insulted, or really pissed, and already going through the amazingly witty list of responses you should have come back with. The amazing way that you should have defended yourself, but you're already at the top of the stairs and the moment has passed so you are now stuck with this head full of insult, injury and regret about not standing up for yourself. I think everyone can relate, pregnant or not. Male or female. If not, you are my hero. Teach me your Jedi ways.

This scenario has gotten huge for me as I get more and more emotional. I don't want to be that jerk pregnant lady that freaks out over every single thing that anyone says, because believe me, at this point I am feeling so unsexy, so uncomfortable, so unwanted that I could turn almost any comment into an insult. My poor, poor boyfriend knows this truth all too well. So, if the offender is lucky, I bottle it up and take it with me. If they are unlucky, they leave our encounter without a face. Not fair to either of us, really. Not fair at all to whomever catches the pointy end of my wrath later on when I finally lose my shit. The art of dealing with it is a little thing called balance. Become familiar with it. Utilize it. Win with it. You really have to be conscious about choosing your battles if you want to win the war. Hormones are the enemy and they want to take out your entire platoon in the bloodiest fashion imaginable.

Another, bigger issue for me is the dreaded horrible boyfriend dream. You know what I'm talking about. Those dreams where you catch him lying, cheating, abandoning or worse. I have had them on occasion during every major relationship of my life but now they are a weekly occurrence. They feel real when they are happening no matter how the scene is playing out. In dream land, it's just as normal to fly into the tree house and see him pounding your 3rd grade teacher as it to track him into a bedroom at a party and see him doing the unspeakable with some faceless blond that has the nicest body you could possibly think up. It could even be with a friend or coworker of yours which is all the more difficult to shake off. The worst part is that you never think to yourself that you must be dreaming when you are actually in it. It's real. It's happening. He is actually betraying you and you can't even land a good punch because hitting never works in my dreams. Even if you feel a wave of relief upon waking up, you still feel as angry and hurt as if he had actually done those things. Then the paranoia sets in. "If he could do that so easy in my dreams he could do it in reality". You may even be tempted to start acting like a detective. Looking through his pockets for numbers or condom wrappers. Checking in on his whereabouts when he isn't with you. Dropping by his work to make sure he's actually there. You may even go so far as to invade his privacy and look through his phone. In some sick way, you may even hope to catch him at something just so you don't feel crazy. Dangerous ground, my little darlings. A minefield of unlikely possibilities that will probably only hurt you in the long run. Ever heard that saying "holding onto resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die"? It's true. Especially when the resentment is over fictional offenses.

My approach with my fella in regards to my endless insecurity and horrible dreams is to talk to him about them. I try to make it very clear that I am referring to dream Jason, not real life Jason. I tell him all about jerkhole's offenses in detail so that he will understand why I'm suddenly genuinely upset with him when he hasn't really done anything wrong. It's difficult to do and difficult for him to hear, but it has to be done or it will only get worse as the day goes on. If I don't speak up, the next day will almost definitely be a stay in bed and cry and feel horrible about myself day. This is bad for me and bad for baby. If I communicate with him, he at least has the opportunity to vindicate himself by assuring me that I am beautiful, loved, wanted and that I can trust him in real life no matter how big a lying douche he is in my dreams. Just getting it out and having him comfort me is often the best remedy and we usually end up laughing about it. Communication is a huge part of the balancing act that I try to perform all day, every day. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it fails miserably. I just try to not be too hard on myself or anyone else and remember that even the bad stuff is all just a part of the journey that will end with meeting the love of my life, and that is a huge comfort.

So, if there is truth in my family referring to me as the drama queen, I'll never admit to it. If there is a situation in which I feel insulted, I will try to be calm in my reaction. If I miss my opportunity to stand up for myself, I'll take it as a learning experience for next time and try to let it go. If dream boyfriend continues to behave badly, I'll try to remember that he's not actually the man that sleeps next to me and greets me every single day by saying "good morning sunshine". If I feel like real life boyfriend is being a stupid jerk, I'll try to refrain from murdering him and remember that this journey isn't easy for him either and he probably isn't really being a stupid jerk. I will attempt to choose my battles wisely, avoid drinking the poison that is resentment, and remember that even when I feel crazy, it's no one's fault and it will pass. Hopefully. Be patient with yourself, with others and especially with your partner. Remain calm and find balance through communication.

In the not exactly accurate but still hilarious words of the late, great George Carlin, “Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.”

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