I can't be the only one
Greetings you who still have vestiges of a stiff upper lip:
Between having Covid and having teenagers, this last couple of weeks has been a rollercoaster of highs and lows with a rather massive amount of stress. Turns out I don’t stress about things that I can fix—I just set about fixing them. But when faced with things that I have no control over (like, say, a global pandemic) that affect people that are not me, but who I care about (like, say my kid who is supposed to go to Prague this Thursday and who wants to take just one short trip out of town first) I find I expend an extraordinary amount of energy in suppressing my own desire to freak out.
And lemme tellya, this has been a week of things beyond my control. I feel fragile.
Thinking about it, I believe what is happening when I get this randomly emotional is that I have a rational response that freaking out is going to help no one, and therefore I suppress everything except saying in words “I’m afraid of…” — which psychologists claim is enough. But honestly, it doesn’t feel like enough. For the most part, just uttering those words makes people worry about you, which only increases your stress levels.
Maybe my grandmother was right and when things get emotional you should throw yourself into activity. (I would come to her in tears and she would say “go outside and play or go play the piano or go paint something.” It was never “go read a book, go watch TV, go listen to music,” which was generally my teen response to everything; adult responses tend more towards, I need tea or I need wine or I need chocolate.) Throwing yourself into actual physical activity, whatever it is, will increase your circulation—and I figure increased circulation means all these unused hormones can get flushed out of your bloodstream faster….except I just went down this crazy internet rabbit hole starting at the center for endocrinology’s info page and I can’t find anything saying that hormones get destroyed once they are made. They DO get destroyed after they are used. “Once hormones have served their function on their target organs/tissues they are destroyed. They are either destroyed by the liver or the actual tissues of the target organs. They are then removed by the kidneys.” (italics mine)
So what happens if you do NOT use them? I mean, if external triggers release hormones into your bloodstream and then you neither fight nor flee…what happens to that adrenaline? These websites all described hormones as a “communication message” or “key” that is seeking the proper receptor (or “lock”) usually making some organ do something. Well what if that organ refuses to listen? Does not want to obey? Is prevented from it? The body must have some way of repurposing that hormone - some lock that accepts all unused keys and…does what? Makes you angry? makes you cry? (I am theoretically leaning towards crying…but maybe it just gives you nightmares? destroys your stomach lining with ulcers? just wondering aloud here—what happens to the hormones we do not use?)
Here’s the poetry version of this question.
The human body is poetry. There. I feel better.
Have I published anything this weird/awful week?
Surprisingly, yes. I have two new pieces up on Medium. One is “The Completely True and Very Accurate Story of My Covid Christmas.” and the other is musings and math about the pop up Covid testing in NYC… “While You Wait for Covid-19 Results Read This.”
Have some stories on submission. Am super grateful to those who reached out to blurb my novel (I love you more than you will ever know) and otherwise, just trying to keep my head up!
I think I’ll go have some chocolate.