I think it's safe to say I'm going through some type of midlife crisis at 32. I was a late bloomer with everything else, so I guess it's kinda nice that I'm finally getting a head start at something. Maybe it's just that right now, for reasons STILL unknown after a full year of doctor visits, scans, and blood work, I've got more testosterone pumping through my body than Mark McGwire when he broke the home run record. If you don't know this already, abnormally high testosterone levels in women can cause weight gain, acne, unwanted hair growth, intolerance to heat, and RAGE, AKA, negative mood swings among other symptoms. Any woman who has encountered hormonal imbalance in her lifetime will likely agree that it feels like the battle of good and evil is taking place within your skull.
If you can imagine this for a moment; I was once a sweet, compassionate, and selfless individual. I was just born that way. When I was six, I decided on my own to save up all my pennies in a grocery bag to give to "the homeless". I'll never forget the look on my Sunday school teacher's face when I handed her this droopy bag of pennies, asking her to give it to "the homeless". She may have been a Sunday school teacher, and she may have said something to the effect of, "That's very nice, Mandy," but her expression very clearly spoke, "What the hell am I supposed to do with this plastic bag of pennies?!"
When I was in the second or third grade, our art teacher was showing us the contrast in drawing things close up and far away. The assignment she gave was to draw a large group of people. All the kids drew ballgames and concerts...well, all the kids except little Mandy. I drew the Berlin Wall as it was being erected, with separated family members crying for each other on each side. I'd just watched a short documentary about it during the half time of a Harlem Globetrotters game on TV, and it was all I could think about. See, I worried about people. I wanted to help everybody!
Around the fourth or fifth grade, I became very impressed with Alan Thicke's character, Dr. Jason Seaver, psychologist, on the sitcom, "Growing Pains". I remember watching an episode wide eyed as Dr. Seaver tried to assist a client in redirecting their thoughts by using visual immagry. I couldn't wait to try it. The opportunity came almost immediately as my friend Cassie and I were roller skating the next day. Cassie took a pretty bad spill and bloodied up her knees. Tears welled up a little as she sat on the sidewalk, stunned. "Cassie!" I said, "Okay..okay. Cassie, think of the moon."
"No. Just try it. Think of the moon. Think of the stars and how beautiful they are at night!"
"WHAT... *sniff sniff*... ARE...*sniff* ...YOU ...*sniff sniff*.....TALKING ABOUT?!" she asked, quickly becoming agitated.
"Just don't think about your knees. Think about a rainbow. Yeah! Picture a rainbow."
"OH MY GAWWWE! Just go get your MOM!!!!"
"Oh! Ok!" and with that, I did as my friend asked, deciding I'd have to watch a few more episodes of "Growing Pains" before I could start practicing unsolicited counseling techniques on my peers. So on the days that I ask myself why I became a counselor, I blame Alan Thicke. Clearly, it's all his fault.
I'm trying to paint the picture of who I used to be; this formerly sweet little girl with the most tender heart, now infused with Mark McGwire-like quantities of testosterone. It's a daily struggle, fighting this Incredible Hulk-like plague. It's like half of me is Pollyanna, and the other half is Mr. T. I "pity the fool" that has to live with me in this state, 'cause you just never know what you're gonna get. I need a sign around my neck: "Next mood swing. Five minutes....or less if you talk." It often makes me think of that beautiful Native American proverb about the two wolves struggling within, and the one you feed is the one that wins, etc. etc. I'm trying to feed the Polly in me, but my messed up hormones are like Red Bull and crack for the Mr. T. Humm. Mr. T for testosterone. How appropriate.
So keep rooting for Pollyanna to win out. A few prayers would be nice. I hope to get some answers and effective options for treatment at my next big endocrinologist appointment on Monday. You know, it ain't easy being a woman. That's for sure. But I still prefer it to being a man, I'd like to have a baby or two sooner than later, and I have no interest in breaking any home run records now or ever! I guess it's a blessing that I've gotten thicker skin through this situation (both figuratively and literally, actually). That will be what I remember as the blessing in this yearlong struggle (Ooh! Pollyanna is in the lead today!). I've experimented a little in not taking crap from people, and that's pretty enjoyable. I've stopped being overly nice to people who don't deserve that from me. Don't get me wrong, I'm still nice, just not overly so. I've also finally arrived at a place where I don't care what someone thinks of me if I don't have any respect for them, and that's huge! Who knows, maybe I'll be able to retain those qualities as my testosterone reaches a more *ahem* feminine level. I'll be sure to let y'all know one way or the other! *Wink, wink* BEWARE! *Wink, wink.* I wonder what TV's Dr. Jason Seaver would have to say about this? "Think of a sandy beach somewhere......"
Thanks for reading! Please subscribe; that's "follow" in blog lingo, and be sure to refer Stories From My Attic to your friends if you get a giggle or smile reading these random snippets of pondering and story telling. -MJ