As if I wasn’t already suffering enough, HAND-STAPLE-FOREHEAD, my still-young-enough-to-get-pregnant body chose the wee hours of this morning to inform me that I’ve squeaked through another month without reproducing. The first day of my menstrual period, when I’m too poor to take medication to keep it at bay, is invariably hell.
Feel Sorry For Me.
I’m currently experiencing the very real sensation of having a large, knotty tree branch up my butt. At the same time, my lower back is spazzing out like a squirrel on meth who just got tased. I am not having a good day, despite having had some genuinely nice fellowship with some more church ladies.
Yesterday afternoon one of the women who inadvertently saved my life last week popped in on me again. A group of hens have apparently been gathering for a crafting project involving passing out goodies and Gospel tracts, and they were offering me another dinner invite. Once again, I overcame the Abuser‘s pernicious whispers (“They just pity you, they don’t care, they probably don’t believe you’re really saved,” etc.) and accepted.
Cluckings and Peckings
We were a small group, a half dozen ladies, my age and older. A few remembered me from the Before Time, in the Long Long Ago, when I was “That girl with the beautiful long hair” who sang on the praise team over a decade past. A couple were new faces to me. One in particular talked a blue streak the entire night, relieving the rest of of us from carrying much of the conversation, and I mean that as a compliment.
It was nice, for the most part.
I made a concerted effort to put on my friendly and normal face. It’s a sad truth that the more time passes, the harder it is for me to convincingly make this performance, but I think I did a fairly decent job. I asked questions, made jokes, laughed at theirs, told a few anecdotes, and looked people in the face when they were speaking. It was good practice, but unfortunately it still felt like an act.
When you spend a lot of time alone, it’s dangerously easy to forget what interacting with other humans is like. Depression, at least in my case, tends to push me away from other people while also pushing other people away from me, convincing me that isolation is the only way to protect myself from further pain.
I’ve read a lot about the practice of solitary confinement in prisons. While many people consider it to be a form of cruel and unusual punishment on a par with torture due to the psychological effects it’s known to have on inmates, I’ve long suspected it wouldn’t be that big a deal for me. I imagine myself reading books over and over until they’re memorized, writing my own, and talking to myself loudly and unceasingly. Yes, I’d probably go even crazier than I already am, but I could probably entertain myself in my own head for the rest of my life.
At least I’d be safe from other people.
I’ve ranted previously, at great length, on my feelings about the way Christians talk when we’re amongst ourselves. The “us versus them” attitude towards the unsaved, or even towards other Christians whose behavior and politics we don’t agree with, and how toxic that atmosphere is. How miserable I was, trying “not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together” while biting my tongue surrounded by so much negativity. It was ultimately one of the things that drove me away from fellowship.
I heard a little more of it last night, while I grazed with these ladies from my church. Just a little, nothing I haven’t heard before. Some dismissive, derisive comments about addicts. An offhand remark or two in passing about some random Democrat or other. Nothing that rose to the level of “HOW DARE YOU CALL YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN” for me.
I listened silently. Didn’t join in. I let them rattle on. At one point, I gently interjected that “Addiction is brutal, it’s so brutal” to try and give the discussion a nudge towards compassion. They acknowledged me, and eventually ran out of steam and found other topics. I quietly reminded myself that I need to show as much grace as I’ve been shown.
This morning, in my menstrual misery (WAAAAAHHHHHH), I wandered back over to where these hens were continuing their little craft project. They’d invited me the night before to come over for lunch if I was free.
I asked for sympathy, explaining what was upon me. They cooed and awwwed and shared battletales of endometriosis and cramps of days gone by. I was given copious amounts of chocolate.
It was nice. I wish I could believe it’ll last. But knowing that I could share my pain with them, at least for now before they get sick of me, was nice.