Thoughts: Becoming Myself, Chapter 3, Part 1

estrogen molecule

Estrogen Molecule, wonderful and not-so-wonderful, depending on the day

The first half of Chapter 3 of Stasi Eldredge’s Becoming Myself, “The Landscape of our Lives,” has been my favorite section of the book so far. It talks about hormones. Thank God. Somebody, please talk openly and honestly about hormones!

I’ve heard other women say that PMS and other hormonal fluctuations resulting in erratic emotions are a myth. And my reaction to this has always been an adrenal rush of, ahem, hormones, and a sharp, “Excuse me?” I’m happy for those women who, by some miracle, managed to escape the monthly roller coaster. I am not one of them.

I married an even-tempered man who comes from a (mostly) even-tempered family. This has made about four days out of every month sheer hell for both of us. As the years progressed and his frustration increased, the arguments started out with, “You were fine a minute ago. What did I say?” but soon became “What’s wrong with you?” which became “You’re crazy. You need medication.”

So reading Stasi’s few pages about hormonal cycles was a breath of fresh air, to quote the cliché, but that’s exactly what it felt like. Reading these pages allowed me to take a deep breath of relief. I’d always understood that I had extreme hormonal swings, and this chapter backed me up, provided valuable arguments in my favor.

It’s not okay that I fly off the handle and say cruel things to my husband during these times. It’s not okay that I want to lose my temper at people in line at the grocery store. It’s not okay that I hate myself and repeat the lies that my Enemy wants me to believe about myself.

It is okay that I tell my loved ones, “I need to be alone today.” It is okay that I don’t feel like smiling and go to a friend’s house for dinner. And it’s okay that I take a nap instead of press on with the next chapter of my novel. I don’t have to feel guilty. I refuse to believe that I’m lazy or worthless, a mooch who contributes nothing to the finances because she can’t get a book deal, a good-for-nothing woman who can’t control her emotional outbursts and is fit only for a mental institution. How Victorian is that? What century do we live in anyway?

After reading this chapter, I told my husband, “You’re not allowed to call me crazy anymore. I’m not allowed to call myself crazy either. I’m not crazy, I’m just in my third week. Go find something to do that doesn’t involve me. I’m curling up with a cheesy romance movie and a cuppa coffee.”

Favorite Quotes from Chapter 3, part 1:

“There is an internal reality playing havoc with my world, but it is neither woundedness, nor sin, nor immaturity—not even a touch of insanity. There are powerful feminine tides washing to and fro inside each of us, and they are having an enormous influence on our lives—and on the way we perceive our lives.”

(Becoming Myself, 46)

But who wants to be a slave to these tides? Not I. From whence cometh my help? A pill? No thanks. This is the time to:

“…lean into God. Press in. The difficult days of each month can become a respite of hiding our hearts in our God, who always understands us and loves us endlessly. There is grace here. There is mercy here.”

(Becoming Myself, 52)

There had better be understanding, grace, and mercy! God created the female as his final act of creation, didn’t he? That means all the hormones included. Of course he understands, and he finds me utterly beautiful.