We're getting closer to winter here and the days are getting that lovely golden, low sunlight and the mornings are dark and the night comes earlier each day. I'm fascinated by watching it all. It's not terribly cold but I'm seeing a proper autumn for the first time in a long time. Leaves are turning with foliage displays to challenge New England. Folks aren't as interested as the are in New England, though. The kids aren't making art with the leaves, aren't taking rubbings or paying any attention to the beauty. Hey! Can't you see how fabulous this is? This doesn't happen everywhere you know. Appreciate it!!
With this change comes the mild symptoms of depression. At least I know the signs now. I'm no longer frightened or ashamed of the crazy thoughts that pop into my head. I'm aware that my cave brain is sending out panic signals a little too often. The other night I swear I saw a face in the living room window. I saw it as clear as that "ghost kid" in the scene from Three Men and a Baby. Reality is; for someone to be on the other side of that window, they'd have to put up a 10 foot ladder to peek in. It was all cave brain seeing dangers and triggering fight or flight responses. Every wisp of hair across my neck is spider, every hiss from the heating firing up a snake. Is that a mole? did I always have mole there? Is it cancer? Is that my phone ringing? Is someone crying? Did you call my name - I just you heard you call my name. Is this meat off? Does it smell funny? I better throw it out just in case...now I have nothing to cook for dinner.
I was drying Sassy's hair last night, looking at her, and could hear her saying nasty things about me even though her mouth wasn't moving. I could hear sarcastic mumbling in my head. I stopped once and asked "Did you say something?" confused, she said she didn't. Of course she didn't!! You could see her face! She wasn't saying a thing you psycho!!
Chill out. Relax. Deep breaths. Rationalize. Better. I can laugh about the absurdity of it now. Reminded of the story of the woman who suddenly thought she had not paid the mortgage yet, looked at the bank balance and knew she didn't have enough money this month for the mortgage and began to see herself homeless and her children taken away from her, her husband leaves her because this was the last straw and her house is repossessed...reality is she'd paid the mortgage the week earlier*. This cave brain is a beast!
For a couple weeks now I've had this urge to shave my head. I have no clue why, but I've looked at my reflection and just thought "Why do I need hair? Just shave it off. I'd rather wear a hat." It's such flawed thinking, but it's recurring. I try and satisfy this urge by shaving my legs. Shaving my arms and underarms. Tweeze my eyebrows but it's not the same. I wonder what the sun would feel like on my scalp. I wonder what the breeze would feel like. I wonder if my ears would look enormous.
I have electric clippers. I could do it. It's only hair. It'll grow back. New beginning. Fresh start.
Step back. relax. consider the consequences. Rationalize. What the fuck are you thinking about?!
I wonder, if people like Mark David Chapman and John Hinkley Jr. and Britney Spears take a moment to think: What the fuck am I thinking?! Could I live with the consequences of those actions? Why am I having these thoughts? Perhaps if they did question themselves they wouldn't be where they are today.
I also have been thinking about femininity and how it seems so narrowly defined to childbearing age but really being feminine is about being a woman. A woman should be able to be bald and still be feminine. A woman should be feminine at every age, from birth to geriatrics. Elderly women are often denied their femininity because their reproductive parts aren't necessary, so does that render them useless? Is being useless the same as being unfeminine? Why do so many menopausal women take hormones? Do we have to? Does the reduction of hormones mean we aren't feminine? Do a few chin hairs mean we are no longer feminine? Is clinging to youth like Joan Collins the right way to go?
I think that's why I want to shave my head. To see for myself if I'm still feminine even if I'm bald and I have no clue why that particular thought came to me when I could just as easily wear a tuxedo every day and see if I'm still feminine but of course no matter what I do I am feminine because I am a woman. It's not rational thinking - I know this! I know completely that this is random brain babble. I have a wonderful internet friend who's bald and she's amazing and smart and sexy. I only have to think of her and the noise in my head stops. So why does it come back? Why does the issue of femininity keep resurfacing? Obviously there's some issue I'm not addressing. It could be biological clock stuff because perhaps if I had another baby I could still show the world I'm a viable person because I can create viable people. I'm feeling unfeminine and I can't explain why. Brain is making shit up to fill a void and making irrational thinking patterns. At least I know it'll pass. Eventually.
In the meantime I don't want to clean my house. I don't want to cook. I don't want to jog (extra exercise exacerbates the problem). I don't want to be responsible. (Resisting traditional feminine roles perhaps? Rebelling against what exactly? Clean clothes?) I want someone else to do it instead. I'm sure I'm not alone in that bit of irrational thinking. Time to seek out things to make me laugh. Best way to fight this is to make happy chemicals.
*That story was told me by my stress counselor. She was the one who had that particular afternoon breakdown. Highly educated doctor, financially secure and intelligent woman made miserable by this kind of out of control thinking. It's so common, so easily done, so shameful and yet once addressed and spoken it immediately shrinks and weakens. My stress counselor was an amazing help.