October 4th, 2003

Aliens have taken over my body.

My body is changing in so many dramatic and yet subtle ways to most outside observers. This is such an altogether strange experience. I did not realize how much hormones must affect feeling womanly. I will never be a girly-girl. I didn't spend enough time around 13 years of age studying cosmetics and hair products and diet nonsense for that. But somehow for the first time in my life I feel like nothing but a woman. "Woman" no longer makes me vaguely uncomfortable as a label. It no longer leaves me feeling the need to append some qualifier like tomboy or masculine in order to feel like I'm not trying to fool anyone.

I talked the other day about being blown away that a fertilized egg in my uterus had gotten me access to a club I had only ever watched from the outside. I realized this morning that it wasn't just the club as other people understand it. In my own mind my body has suddenly shoved me firmly into "woman" as an acceptable pigeonhole. There is no longer dissonance internally. I am completely unfamiliar with this passing comfort with some gender category to describe me. It's sort of novel that other people seem to have let me into the exclusive club in their minds as well, but it makes me wonder how much of it is social programming, how much of it is hormonal sensing of other people and how much of it is that I was always welcome if I felt that I was. It's a fascinating question. I've known for some time that sexy was as much about believing you're sexy than anything else. Maybe this is another area of the same and it took my hormone levels doing an about face for me to realize it.

There are other changes too. For many years before the happy purple pills I would sink into pits of despair relatively easily. I would cry very easily, but always because of an overwhelming dramatic emotional abyss. The wellbutrin stabilized me. I didn't cry much at all in the six months or so since I went on it. Once in a while in frustration at a misunderstanding or something like that, but overall the tear ducts just didn't kick in, the abyss closed up shop and moved to a more profitable host body somewhere else. But in the last week of my life I have cried far more often than I ever have in a single week before. All sorts of things set me off. Joel was tired and made us dinner last night and I couldn't deal with the Dijon flavoring after one bite. I was suddenly in tears, but just as suddenly a few moments later, they were gone. There wasn't the emotional gaping maw to resist. It was just tears because tears came and went. Just a few moments and a hug and they faded away and I was fine, no resentment, no lingering despair. There is no unstoppable force behind these tears. They just come, seemingly at random and go when they've had a moment on stage. This is among the things that are so novel to me that I am dumbfounded by my body now. I cannot ever remember crying just because my eyes started leaking for a minute and then stopping because the tears dried up, no clear explanation otherwise. It makes me wonder if other women experience this at any point normally. I know that I have had brain chemistry issues all my life, so maybe this is more like what some people experience and I would never know. I mean, I'm sure that it is because of the pregnancy hormones that it is happening as often as it is, but I haven't ever experienced anything like it in my life and I wonder now if that is unusual.

Most of my life, literal changes in my body have frightened me and made me uncomfortable with myself more often than anything else. I tend to try not to study my body, think about it much, look in mirrors, etc. Just let it be. If I think about it I will just obsess about what it isn't and what I don't like. Feel, but don't look. Looking causes judgment. But these changes are just the opposite. I am terrified of many things and yet still I am fascinated by what a chemical change in my system can produce. Fascinated by what suddenly feels soothing that would have made me very uncomfortable two weeks ago.

I couldn't resist showing my massage therapist that my areolas changing colors. It used to be that unless they were flushed from arousal you could not tell at all where the transition was between breast, areola and nipple. It is faint now, but you can tell that there is a distinct and large areola circle around my nipples. My stretch marks on my breasts are growing and it’s a novel thing that they are purple and changing. The skin on my breasts is changing almost like peeling after a sunburn because the surface skin is no longer alive and able to stretch with the dramatic changes in what lies underneath. This morning, after having sex with J, I was overwhelmed with wanting to put his hand over my uterus. I am not a thin woman. Usually this area is a part of my body that I am very uncomfortable with any sort of acknowledgement about. But it was soothing and made me feel extraordinarily close to J to put his hand there and just lay there like that for a bit this morning. There was no judgment running through my mind or fear that he might not like my tummy or anything. There was just peace and closeness.

This is all so completely new and strange to me. I never would have imagined that I would care about these things so much or even notice them so strongly. I’m used to being the stoic who just doesn’t even realize I’ve broken my hand for 24 hours after doing so. And now color changes and emotions are the loudest thing in my whole world and yet, not in any way a negative or dramatic thing. I have so often been amazed at what children can do for adults in terms of healing, but I never could have predicted this being among them. Peace. That is all. Peace.