What can a blogger say when there is nothing new to report? I keep waiting and what keeps coming is nothing. It was my understanding that the clinic would see the other recipient on Monday and what? help trigger her period? Start her on bcps without having a period? I haven't heard a thing since last Friday, and so I put a call in this morning. Nothing yet, of course. I started thinking that the other recipient is probably pregnant. Talk about having conflicting feelings if that were the case. I'd be eccstatic for her, and really effing pissed about the extra delay upon delay. But this is not fact, just mere flotsam from the hypothesis-generating machine. The facts are: I know nothing. We first picked our donor in mid-March and it's now mid-May, and we are no further than we were then.
This intro leads me to the hot topic in my current inner (and often outer) landscape. Girls, it's not pretty. Not ladylike. Not encouraged among the girls we were years ago, and the women we grew up to be.
It's a real achiles heal for me. I'm not alone in this, especially not among women. There are entire centuries of social scripts unwritten about how women are not to express their anger. Luckily, I was born at a time when women were fighting to break those scripts.
My mother's feminist penchant notwithstanding, she did not tolerate anger originating from her child, especially not if it was directed at her. She believed that women belonged in the workforce and were the intellectual equals of men. In that way, she was a great role model for me, and I attribute a lot of my own success to her modelling and instrumental support. When it came to emotions though, and still to this day, she was very impaired. She did well with joy, happiness, passivity and contentment. Anything else was outlawed.
We all have horror stories from our childhood, and I'm not going to rehash mine here. I pay a therapist good money to help me plumb the horrors of my past and integrate it. But it's important to know for the tale I'm telling that my experiences of expressing anger growing up were met with threats of annihilation and abandonment. I quickly understood that expressing anger was not a good survival strategy.
What the hell can one do with all kinds of anger one can't express?
The answer is: that depends. For me, it took on different forms, all relating to a lot of difficulty with emotion regulation, which has looked like anxiety and depression most often, and an eating disorder for a solid 4 years of my life, with many more years of disordered eating before and after (and mercifully, not really anymore).
Luckily, in my early twenties, I got a ton of help with this and tackled the anger issue head on. I was going to work on this if it was the last thing I did. As a young woman, I started expressing my anger; at first not very effectively, but over time, much more appropriately. People came to know me as someone who was self-aware and assertive. I liked that person I was.
In most recent years, I've been backsliding on that front. Recently at work, I was dealing with an issue with my supervisor and started crying. It's not a big deal to cry, but when I look back on it, I was just plain angry at him and couldn't hold firm on my position or tell him that he was pissing me off. So, I cried instead. Which was awkward, and really distracted from the fact that he was being a dink.
It's happening a lot in my marriage. It seems like this issue is sinking our battleship these days. Its' not by chance that we marry who we marry. Mr. A also comes from a family where anger is a big no-no. It's a bit ridiculous to see the lengths we'll each go to in order to avoid expressing anger. But the price of doing that is incredibly high. Numbing is a blunt instrument as far as the emotions are concerned. If you don't want to feel and express anger, you're not going to feel other feelings either. Like joy. Like desire. Like connectedness.
I read it in my early twenties, but I've picked it up again. The dance of anger, by Harriet Lerner, is a classic on the subject. Lerner is reminding me about the healthy strivings of my early twenties when I worked with my anger (and all my other feelings) like my life depended on it - because it did. She is reminding me of the need to use my anger to effectively express what I want and need, instead of sucking it back in and doing god knows what with it (revisiting bulimia? I think not).
I am not feeling particularly strong right now, or particularly able to tackle this anger issue, which seems mamoth from where I stand. But if I'm truly honest with myself, my life is starting to depend on it again. And you read my letter to myself from a few weeks ago: I've decided my life is apparently worth living.