December 5, 2018
San Diego, California
My partner grumbled that of course I had to wake up early to work the one day he is unexpectedly off midweek. His office was closed to mourn the death of George H.W. Bush a few days before—on World AIDS Day.
I finished my work and lay back down for a minute, scanning my body. How did I feel? Not super hopeless or notably bad, but not great, either. I’d been struggling with hormonal changes, and recent diagnoses of PMDD and Vitamin D deficiency had left me feeling out of control.
By 8:00, I’d managed to coax him out of bed and on a short walk to start the day. We live right by the park, and there’s a beautiful cactus garden I wanted to walk through. I needed to feel the sun on my face, to see living things around me, to remind myself that I will be okay.
As we walked, he waxed on about politics and the latest This American Life episode about Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh and how frustrating and scary things are right now. I nodded, although at points I was barely listening.
We talked about how we’ve been fighting too much lately and the neighbors have likely heard, and that’s probably why they never thanked us for the gift we brought them from our recent trip to Mexico City. I started to wonder if my health issues were the root cause of most of our problems.
We made it to the cactus garden, and he took a few pictures as I angled my face toward the sun. We held hands on our way home. I canceled a work call due to fatigue but pushed myself to work on other things through the afternoon.
My best friend asked if I could talk and I told her today was not a great day. Maybe tomorrow.
While I worked in the kitchen, my partner watched TV and relaxed in the bedroom. Mid-day, he sent me an e-mail with a video attachment and the message, “I love you.” I opened the video. It was about love and relationships, and how the consistency of the small actions adds up over time to mean so much. He walked into the kitchen as I was watching it and asked, “Do you like it?”
“It’s sad,” I said.
But it wasn’t sad. It’s just that feeling anything lately makes me feel sad. I cried a little and tried to feel grateful instead of overwhelmed.
He left the house to go rock climbing and I did a short cardio dance class online, fulfilling my exercise requirements for the day. The sleekly outfitted, coiffed women instructed me to “channel my inner Beyoncé!”
I watched coding tutorials to prepare for my intro programming class that evening. I had to leave the last class early because I was feeling dizzy. I’m worried I’ll have to drop out.
I made dinner, snacks, and a smoothie to take with me and headed to class. But on the way there, I made a wrong turn. And then another. I started feeling super dizzy. I considered turning around completely, but told myself to just try. I showed up to class, felt completely outside of my body for almost six minutes, and then drove home in a haze.
I went to the store to pick up a higher dose of Vitamin D, took it in the parking lot, came home, and made myself breathe through a yoga video. I told myself out loud, “I love you and I’m going to take care of you,” and I started to cry.
The yoga video ended. I took some CBD oil. I felt better. The Apple TV automatically started playing another yoga video, and I started to follow along with it as my partner walked through the door. He was surprised to see me at home. “I would’ve come home if I knew you didn’t go to class,” he said.
“I’m okay,” I said quietly.
We ate dinner together and talked about life and my hormones and his job. He was gentle. I felt lucky and hopeful. Afterward, we lay on the couch together. He was warm, and I was cold. He put his socks on my feet, and we watched The Good Place until we both fell asleep.
Popula is 100% ad-free, reader-supported journalism accountable only to you. Every dollar of your subscription goes straight to our work. Thank you for supporting Popula.