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Image / Self

This is an open letter to my hormones asking them to calm it

by Edaein OConnell
15th Sep 2020

Hormones can be confusing, upsetting and awe-inducing but after a recent prescription slip up, this IMAGE writer is asking hers to politely relax

Dear hormones,

How are you? I hope this letter finds you well and in good humour.

Have you returned from holiday?

Are you exhausted from the rager you held in my uterus? Because I am drained and I wasn’t even invited. Nor was I informed of the hedonistic hormone shindig.

Last weekend, I travelled to Doolin for a post-lockdown getaway. On the ferry home, I realised midway on the Shannon Estuary that I had left my pill at the accommodation. Cue a three-day break before I could get my hands on a new prescription and a new box.

While the word ‘pill’ generates scenes of a sexual nature, in actuality I use the pill to shut you (the hormones) up. Since the doctor prescribed the miniature tablet, you have spent your days at a sleepy seaside resort. You play bridge, go to bed at 6 pm and talk about the Cuban Missile Crisis. Before this, I would say you suffered from substance addiction. You wore tiny shorts and a crop top, drank Fat Frogs and went to Ibiza to work “the season”.

You were wholly dependent on my misery and frenzied moods until progesterone became the only stimulant you were allowed to take. In the three days I was without it, you came out of hiding with a 1 litre bottle of vodka, a bum bag and glitter on your face, searching frantically for a room in my body to let loose and roll back the years.

And you did. It was a celebration of epic proportions, the like of which hasn’t been seen since Italia 90.

However, for me, it was hell.

She’s hormonal

I lost it. The misogynistic default retort of choice to female anger is “she’s hormonal” and though it pains me to say it, I was just that. During that small window of time, you made me remember why I tried to quell you in the first place. Since I was 13 and couldn’t call my period by name, you made me question my sanity every month.

The mishmash of emotions was excruciating. It felt like speeding on the wrong side of the motorway, for me and for others. The latter watched in utter confusion and horror as I demolished every object in my path, while I tried and failed to put my foot on the break.

In 72 hours, it felt like Brian McFadden had left Westlife all over again. I cried, I got angry and I questioned the thought process behind it all. Then I cried some more, thinking of all he could have accomplished if he had just stayed.

This breakdown of emotions took place in my family home in front of the frightened eyes of my brother, father, and mother. The men didn’t understand it. My father called me childish and my brother called me mental. My mother understood but warned me against performing the hormone lecture I had planned for the males.

She said, “try telling that to your father, you have to learn to rein it in”. As a woman of a generation who was often condemned to silence, she thought it better the men in the house didn’t know about the often ugly goings-on of the female body.

I, on the other hand, was a volatile mix of too much estrogen and not enough progesterone. I was an atomic bomb waiting to be dropped. On landing, I exploded and explained to Dad that I took a little pill every day to stop me from getting sick once a month and keep the pitch I play on level.

Unfortunately, I had misplaced the box and my wires were in the wrong sockets. Like the good Kerryman he is, he remained stubborn and unbending, concluding once again that my reactions were coming from residual childish tendencies.

Hate it

Do you see what I mean, hormones? I can’t win with you. Some still don’t get it and I doubt they ever will. It’s times like these I hate being a woman. I hate paying €9 for a box of tablets that stop the course of my bodily nature. I hate that before the box, I despised the very course. I hate the blood, the pain, the tears, the itch. I hate explaining the effects of you, but knowing the other person believes it to be nonsense. I hate feeling like I have no control over my body or emotions. I hate when you make me sweat or grit my teeth.

And I hate that I hate you.

Yet then you give me a week where I feel like Superwoman. I’ll catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, or I’ll share a joke with a friend, or I’ll multitask with ease.

In those moments, I love it and you.

But you need to calm it. You really do. Ibiza is fun and all, but the comedown isn’t. The sleepy seaside resort comes without a hangover for both of us.

Wipe the glitter off your face and rest.

We both need a break.

Yours sincerely,

Edaein x

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