About a dozen or more years ago, on Christmas Eve, I found myself in the emergency room with blinding pain in my abdomen. I put up with the pain for a few days, pretending I was okay for my little children’s sake, hoping it would go away. It didn’t. It got worse and worse, and finally I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to say something, and off to the ER we went.
It turned out to be a gall bladder the size of a grapefruit that had to be removed right away before it exploded, but before we figured that out, I was given intravenous morphine to help me deal with the pain. The nurse shot the medicine into my IV line. I could feel it working its way through my circulatory system, through my arm, my chest, down one leg and then back up and then the other leg, over my hip, around the other arm, spreading through my fingers, and so on, until it had traveled through my entire body. It only took a few seconds, but it was a horrible feeling, and I stiffened.
“Are you okay?” The nurse asked.
“I’m guessing most people like that feeling,” I said. “But I’m not one of them.”
The morphine did take the pain away, and I liked that. It was the traveling through my body feeling I didn’t like.
Now, in 2020, among the other things to deal with that this year has brought, I am in the final hormonal surge of menopause, and I may or may nor survive it. More to the point, the people around me may or may not survive it. I feel the hormones washing through my body in the same specific way I felt the morphine that night. It’s awful.
It feels like the worst of adolescent PMS come back to haunt me, only I don’t have the option of blaming my mother for all my problems, slamming my bedroom door, and pulling the covers over my head. I still have to go to work and be a grownup and soldier on like there isn’t a fire in my belly that makes me want to take a blowtorch to everyone that says something ridiculous. Which is more or less everyone, isn’t it?
I don’t think I’m being irrational. When the tidal wave of unbalanced estrogen and progesterone and whatever else it is crashes and recedes from shore and I look back on my thoughts and feelings, they only seem out of proportion, not wrong-headed. Instead of miffed, I get furious. Instead of annoyed, I get angry.
I have to wonder if that’s even a bad thing. I have spent so much of my life trying to be under control. I am often complimented on my patience, and I take pride in that. I’m so afraid of falling into the trap of being a stereotype of an ‘emotional female’ that I take everything in stride, maybe even things that should be strode upon.
Let me digress with a little relevant story. Once upon a time I was involved in a case. I was appointed to represent a little girl who was the subject of a custody battle between her mother and her grandmother. The mother and grandmother were represented by two volatile male attorneys. We were in the judge’s chambers, and the two volatile male attorneys were both screaming at each other about how emotionally unstable the other’s client was. I just sat there, knowing it was pointless to try to get a word in edgewise. The judge, also male, was getting irritated by all the screaming, and he raised his voice at the two lawyers, telling them that it was to be expected that the two women would be upset by the situation at hand, because, and I am quoting here, “You know how emotional women get.”
I was the only person in the room who was a woman, and the only person in the room not raising her voice.
So maybe it is okay that I’m losing my patience. Maybe it’s time to get angry and yell a little. Perhaps this is nature giving me a kick in the pants. To everything there is a season, and this is a time to yell.
Sometimes if you want to be heard, you have to make some noise.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was a number one Amazon Hot New Release in the Fall of 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.