kill pill: part five – born free
My worst fear has come true.
I’m free. Coming off the pill has cut this puppet’s strings. But instead of running around gaily, skipping and twirling, I’m lying on the ground, writhing in frustration, trying to figure out how to get up and walk. I’m faced with how uncoordinated I am, and how much I’ve been controlled by strings and hands I couldn’t see but am now lost without.
Every interaction, every breath, every thought, every emotion, every action and everything I see, touch, taste and smell is different. Where am I? Who am I? Ariel has washed up on the beach and she’s scared. Say or do anything and I may laugh, withdraw, cry, smile, yell, speak, stab you, or stab myself.
I felt things while I was on the pill, but it had a different quality. My feelings were never clear, yet they lingered. Ask me how I felt and I wouldn’t know.
It turns out that through altering or “evening-out” our hormonal state the pill can create a more one-note experience of life. We are excused from the physiological and psychological nuances that go with ovulating and menstruating, so we can’t experience the full scale of our emotions and we can’t let go of them entirely, either. By “leveling us out” the pill facilitates an experience of life more like a constant drone than the ebb and flow of a symphony.
I now know when I need to cry. That might sound silly, but in the past my tears crept up on me suddenly and the shock of them became a part of my distress. People at acting school often observed that I seemed surprised by my tears. It was amusing and certainly made for good dramatic irony – the audience was more aware of them coming than I was. But now I sense the tears brewing. There’s a bubbling before the spilling out. Awareness of this has slowed things down and enabled me to choose when they’re released, without being cruel to myself in the process. The internal dialogue is ‘I feel them coming, I must find a moment to let them out’, as distinct from ‘holy shit, I’m crying again, I can’t stop, where did that come from?’
I’m more aware of what has made me upset, too. This is good and bad. Part of me doesn’t want to know the true source of my distress with all its rough, cutting edges and cakey mould. I don’t want to see the hurt clearly, because it hurts. But I can no longer convince myself I’m not angry or wounded when I am. I can’t convincingly say things don’t matter or that they didn’t affect me, because they did. I fully experience everything that produces a difficult moment between us. Be it abandonment, judgment, rejection, isolation, inadequacy, jealousy… Then, like the period of music after a blood-boiling crescendo, I let it go and move on to the next track. My fear is that you won’t hear the next track because you left the auditorium during the crescendo and the sound was so unbearable.
It used to take weeks to realise that someone had hurt me. I’d have to backtrack, relive the feelings, attempt to articulate myself after the fact and fight with letting it go. Now I can almost immediately see every facet of what just happened and why it shook me. It’s kaleidoscopic. I’m living inside a Shakespearian aside whilst hearing the voice of my father, yelling at my mother and launching at the figure tumbling from the wardrobe.
Fears have been emerging from the coffin they were buried alive in, too. They’re clawing their way through the wood and the soil and disturbing this old puppet’s earthly existence. I dreamed of being pregnant. I dreamed of being asked to take my year 12 exams again. I dreamed my boyfriend said he’d rather make love to women who wear 1980s swimsuits because, I mean, where are your frills and polka dots?
When I meditate, I sense colours so viscerally they make me weep. Each one seems to have a different purpose. Yellow is to wake-up. Blue washes things away. Purple offers a view from above. Orange stirs the belly’s every ache. Red fires things up. Brown shoots deep down into the earth. Black is silent and calming. Green is a field.
What the fuck, man?
The only thing I feel like I have to hold onto is the understanding that this is a natural part of the process. Having armed myself with books I can say this with confidence. For the record, the books are: Sweetening the Pill by Holly Grigg-Spall, Moon Time by Lucy H. Pearce, The Optimized Woman by Miranda Gray, Casting the Circle: A Women’s Book of Ritual by Diane Stein and The Book of She by Sara Avant-Stover. Knowledge is an incredible power to have when everything else has burst into rainbows and zombies. From reading Gray’s book I’ve been getting to know each phase of a woman’s cycle (pre-ovulation, ovulation, pre-menstruation, menstruation) and what’s to be expected spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. I think I’m between pre-menstruation and menstruation right now. According to Pearce in Moon Time this often occurs leading up to the dark moon, which is upon as at the time of writing. It’s also a super moon eclipse in Pisces so look out, world. Sensitivity and earth-awareness here we come.
Which is timely because today marks the first time nature has actively comforted me. It was like receiving a hug. I wanted to have a cry so I went outside and sat under a tree, on a rock. There was a warm breeze and the sound of the trees swaying. A bird flapped its wings and, somehow, the inner storm passed.
Despite the wobble, this muppet may be taking her first steps.
Disclaimer: Consult your local sexual and reproductive health clinic or GP before going hormonal contraceptive free. The views espoused in this article are that of the author and not Lip Magazine.