I know angry.
In fact, way before my endometriosis diagnosis, I was a very angry girl. I don’t know what made me so cross — maybe it was being the second child that gave me an “I’m here to blow things up” attitude, or maybe I was simply too young and therefore unable to find the words to express my needs.
We all know a child like that, the one everyone talks about with raised eyebrows and a slight hint of fear in their voice. “Oh, Jess has some temper,” my mother would say, and my Spanish aunts would loudly flap their fans against their breasts, pursing their lips in agreement.
Sadly, anger in women — no matter how young — is never a good look. That’s not just my opinion, it’s actually a belief held worldwide for centuries, perpetuated in modern culture ad infinitum: emotional wreck, hysterical, “bunny-boiler.” Whenever a woman gets annoyed, it’s seen as an overdramatic, unhealthy way to be.
Yet anger is healthy and a powerful tool for change. I recently became furious at the news — just search for U.K. politics and you will understand why I need a soothing hug on a daily basis. Anger is what I experienced when a guy dangerously stuck to the fender of my car, even though I was driving the speed limit. I felt true anger toward the stranger who thought it was OK to get too close to my face and make some disgusting sound, as if I were a kitten, while I walked with my friends. Last week, I got angry at my doctor.
However, one thing I don’t get furious at are the flare-ups that come with my endometriosis.
Sometimes my flare-ups are painful; other times, they prevent me from opening my eyes or even thinking. Generally, they render me horizontal. But I don’t get frustrated anymore. I simply make like the shrugging emoji and accept my fate. All I can do is head to bed or lie on my vintage sofa — vintage meaning slightly uncomfortable and not long enough, not even for me.
I do whatever is “allowed.” This Sunday, it involved rediscovering Mika’s entire discography. It turns out it’s virtually impossible to feel sad while listening to any of his songs. It also made me smile, remembering the time I saw his gorgeous face at a Barcelona concert before my diagnosis when I was a lifestyle writer for a cool magazine.
Last week, my flare-up introduced me to the Tiny House phenomenon. Thanks to some videos and a documentary, I am shook, ready to move into a quirky little home with my two dogs and all of my leopard print coats, stored oh-so-cleverly.
With endometriosis, flare-ups are unavoidable, just like death, taxes, and great British TV (hello, “Fleabag“).
Fighting a flare-up can be a futile exercise. They’re temporary, meaning they always pass. Therefore, all one can do is become great at managing them while they last. Accepting that our body requires us to stop, or move slower than usual, is key.
It took me a long time to recognize this. The angry little child in me would throw the biggest of hissy fits, cry a little, and scare my dogs. It made me more tired and upset. Sometimes it even worsened the flare-up.
So this is the new me. Still a feminist, a true Leo (it’s my birthday month, everyone!), proud to be called feisty and a fighter. I probably will never stop finding things that annoy me and that I want to change, but my flare-ups are not one of them.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.