October 2011

Better Living Through Chemistry…?

So I’ve noticed something…odd. Ish.

Possibly it’s nothing at all, possibly it is coincidence or good self-esteem or…something or other along those lines, but it has recurred often enough that I am starting to wonder.

About five weeks ago, I had an IUD put in, and went off the pill. I have been on the pill since I was…Fifteen? Sixteen? Somewhere in there. Over half my life, anyhow. Which means that for over half my life, my body has a vague feeling that I’m pregnant, and now it means that my uterus has a vague feeling that I’m pregnant, and the rest of me not so much. I’m on the one with a progesterone thingy in it—didn’t really want to go cold turkey—but even so, I’m getting a much lower dose than I would with a daily pill.

If I needed any proof of this whatsoever, it’s that I immediately started getting acne again. Goddamnit. There ought to be a law—once gravity starts seriously affecting the boob-line, you ought to be done with acne. Seriously.

(It’s not nearly as bad as when I was a young nerd of pockmarked mien, but I notice it.)

I was anticipating brutal mood-swings and so forth, and I did get a twelve-day period out of the deal (o joy, o rapture) but no real problems there.

What I have noticed, however, is that I…err…this sounds corny, but I pass the mirror now and half the time I go “Awww, yeah.” I mean, it helps if I’m wearing clothes, but even so, I feel better about how I look.

I have changed nothing. I have lost less than a pound, well within the slings and arrows of outrageous weight fluctuation. I have been doing a fair amount of manual labor in the garden, but before anyone gets excited about increase in muscle mass, my pants fit EXACTLY the same. I am exactly the same exaggerated hourglass I have been for years. I got big hips, big boobs, and while my waist is substantially narrower, my stomach is about as toned as a goosedown pillow, so there’s some pooch goin’ on.

By standard BMI measurements, I am obese. (Mind you, according to those, I ought to weigh 140, and the only time I got within spitting distance of that, my friends were ambushing me with cheesecakes and words like “drowned rat” were being uttered. I looked badly unhealthy. 165 is more realistically my optimal weight, and I tell you now, it’d be a whole lot of celery sticks before I got down there again.) I’ll give you that I am somewhat overweight and quite definitely out of shape, though, and that certainly hasn’t changed.

And I still see myself in a long tank top and underwear and grin like an idiot. I have to be wearing a decently fitted bra, mind you, but them’s the breaks on this side of DD.

So now I’m wondering if there is some way in which whatever pill I was on was feeding a bit into a negative body image. It’s entirely possible that I’m nuts—it could be nothing more than a long run of good hair days, good boob days, and well-engineered undergarments. It’s not like I NEVER felt that way in the previous two decades, it was just less common. It could be the fact that I am starting to run out of give-a-shit on the body image front—sure, I’m chunky, but I’m a lot of fun and my career is kickin’ ass, and I think that’s probably a lot more fun to grow old with. It could be that I am finally over my ex-husband, who left me for being fat and boring (his words*) and that does tend to screw with you a bit, but hell, the best revenge is living well, or something like that.

But it seems odd that all that would hit in five weeks. One’s emotional growth tends to be a long-term struggle. And my experience with anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs are that some very weird internal things that seem like they should be entirely in your head are easily tweaked with chemicals. (Who knew that they made a drug that made you stop having one-sided arguments with other people in your head? And if it hadn’t caused intense nausea, I’d still be on it! That was the quietest things have been in here in twenty years!)

So. Lower progesterone apparently makes me feel better about my body. Who knew?


*In retrospect, our wildly different understandings of “boring” may have been a source of contention. If things were any more exciting, Otter would refuse to go anywhere with me, for fear of a rain of bulls and fishes.

World Traveler Training Wheels

O Internets! We need your advice!

So Kevin and I have this goal in life. We want to travel! We want to not be insular Americans! We want to have our minds broadened in terrifying new ways!

We have never done this before. (Ok, I was a world traveler before I was three, but my only memory of the whole escapade is a few fragments from what was apparently Barcelona.) I have been to Canada and Tijuana. Kevin has been to Tijuana, at the age of fifteen. He reports this as an eye-opening experience.

Next year, we want to get our feet wet. We were thinking of doing something in the British Isles for a week, since, y’know, baby steps, no new language required, but that’s just an initial thought.

Does anybody have any advice? Not necessarily specific places to go, (although if there’s a place you can recommend for World Traveler Training Wheels, I’d love to hear it!) but…err…do we use a travel agent? Do we book it all on Travelocity, show up, and hope not to die? Good resources for suggestions on where to go? We’re more interested in wandering around and eating (we do love the eating) than in getting on tour buses, but we’d also hate to miss the amazing landmarks, and we find so much delightful in even American cities that we could probably kill a week just about anywhere…

Advice greatly appreciated!

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