Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

November 27, 2007

Hormones and Expectations

I am a hateful person. At least this week.

I normally try to avoid throwing out the PMS excuse. But in this specific case, there can be no doubt. Sometime between 4:30 and 6:00pm yesterday I hit the PMS wall so hard that I still haven't stopped whip-lashing. Poor Wine Guy was, and continues to be, an innocent victim.

I arrived at his house yesterday afternoon in a pretty good mood, eager to go downtown with him and stroll around. After five minutes in the car we were in our separate corners. I refused to speak to him for at least 45 minutes and it was over an hour before I uncrossed my arms.

I can't go into much detail about the actual argument because they are somewhat shrouded in a hormonal haze and I can't remember exactly what happened. But I know what it centered around - my birthday.

This is where part 2 of the meltdown comes in and why I can't entirely blame the fight on hormones. With birthdays (and Valentines Day, anniversaries, New Years Eve, etc.) come what I am beginning to understand are my archenemies - Expectations.

They usually aren't my expectations that get me in trouble. I actually think I have very low expectations. Probably too low - more of the self-pitying "nobody would ever go out of their way to do something special for me" variety. So instead of my own expectations, I substitute what I think everybody else's would be for me.

This is problematic for two reasons:
1. Who am I to guess (mind read) what other people are thinking and/or expecting?
2. Who am I to think people are walking around with expectations about my life?

These are two very important points that are easy to consider now, in hindsight, sitting alone in my apartment encased in my unsexiest flannel pajamas and favorite hoody sweatshirt and slippers. Unfortunately, they are a lot more difficult to see when I'm all alone out in the wild (or in Wine Guy's car) and the subject of my birthday comes up.

OK, here is the quick rundown. In the course of the brief car ride conversation, he remembered my birthday was approaching the following week. This is what came out of his mouth in an offhanded way, "Oh shit! What am I going to do for your birthday?!"

This is what I heard, "I am so uninspired by your impending birthday that I can't and won't take the time to think of something you might like. Instead I'll put it off to the last minute and then be totally inconvenienced and annoyed when I have to come up with something in a hurry."

In my pathetic defense, my interpretation of his comment comes after a few other passing remarks he doesn't even remember making over the last week or two. Like when he asked me (yet again) , "What do you want for your birthday?" and I tell him that I had already given him a few ideas the week before he states, "You need to write them down."

Do I? I don't think my friends with dream husbands/boyfriends ever had to do that. Is this a bad sign? It must be!

See, this is exactly the point where those pesky expectations come into play. I don't really care what he actually gets me. Or that he might need me to write it down for him. But I keep thinking about what is supposed to happen according to...well, I'm not sure who it's according to. My friends, movies I've seen, what my mom would want (this last one is a biggie I suspect). The important part is that I am assuming that what is actually happening to me is, well, wrong.

As I'm writing this (and I'm thinking as I write so it's all kind of spilling out here), the patterns are becoming laughably apparent to me. If you've been reading my blog from the beginning of this relationship (early April), you can probably trace the patterns all the way through. When Wine Guy and I are supposed to kiss, have "the talk," meet the mom, say I love you. I'm constantly battling between my reality and my bullshit expectations.

Realization of the problem is one thing. And it's a good thing at that. But doing something about it is another. Any suggestions? Short of locating and suturing the nerve in my brain responsible for over thinking , I am lacking in solutions right now.

I refused to see Wine Guy tonight because I have placed my hormonal, expectation-laden self in isolation for the evening. Just me and my TV and a glass of wine. Hopefully by tomorrow I will be clearer of mind and he will still love me. After the way I've been acting lately, it feels doubtful.



Kelly said...

OMG reading this post was better than any kind of therapy for me. It's like you're reenacting the thoughts in my head from a month ago, when my birthday--and a full-blown episode of PMS--tragically coincided. I felt like such a horrible nasty person and every time someone wished me a happy birthday all I could think of were all the people who hadn't yet wished me a happy birthday who SHOULD have. Oh, and it didn't help that my birthday was on a Monday. And that my boyfriend was in Europe. I knew that I was twisting things but I was in such a black mood that I was powerless to stop the freight train of doom. It's best to simply embrace the rage without guilt, acknowledging that, like that bad shrimp cocktail you ate in Tijuana, this, too, shall pass. I felt MUCH better when my friend took me out for a steak dinner that Friday, and afterwards we had a couple of extremely hot & spicy Bloody Mary's at the town biker bar. Just keep on being spicy! Wine Guys sounds like he's up for the challenge.

Cecile Weekly said...

I thought these kind of thoughts were normal? I mean, I would have been pissed if I got the impression my boyfriend wasn't enjoying the preparations for my birthday, with or without PMS.

However, I do think PMS does help to make you hear the most negative interpretation possible when your boyfriend says something. I tend to do so anyway (this week is Period Week, so I'm reminded of my bad habits constantly). Still, I usually just tell boyfriend Matt that I'm sorry for bitching and that it has to do with "The Period" (think dramatic background music). He tends to be more forgiving and careful then.

Xweing said...

Oh so this is normal.

Well, my bf gave me a plug-in mp3 set for my car. Do you think I'll still remember what he gave me 10 yrs later?

Haha.. but I'll always remember the birthday balloon he hung in my cube at work for everybody to see... :)

The City Gal said...

I hear you! I feel exactly the same way.

I would like a nice (very small) surprise on my Birthday. I don't think birthdays are for expensive gifts, but really, for surprising someone with love.

I would get mad, too.

Does he want you to write down: "a nice romantic dinner at a nice restaurant would be great. Please hold hands during dinner and kiss. Afterwards, you can give me my present and we can go home for the rest of the romantic program."

Men just don't want to bother!

Mendoza Line said...

I repeat my idea for you to get HIM a present for your birthday: an eraseable white board with the top titled: "Things I Need To Write Down for (Wine Guy)".

I have plenty of Expo dry-erase pens...

Mendoza Line

Loverville said...

Is there any chance he's planning a great surprise, but is feigning ignorance to throw you off?

sexagenarian and the city said...

i think a certain member of my family is on the same cycle you are...there went thanksgiving dinner!

good of you to be so honest about it all. it took me years to realize the way my cycles were driving my moods.