Monday, September 27, 2004

Yonder There Be Dragons

There's another reason why it took us so long to discover the world was not flat. The dragons. I have heard (though have not confirmed) that when early mapmakers drew out the edges of the world as they knew it, they would write "Yonder there be dragons," for anything beyond their own scope of knowledge. Did they mean real dragons? People weren't sure, but regardless it was enough of a warning: Beyond this point, scary bad things are out there. Best not to go looking. Perhaps the mapmakers were simply unconsciously protecting a dearly-held view of the world, but perhaps there was more to it. Perhaps they were right. Yonder there be dragons. What are dragons?

For the last week and a little more, I've been much more moody, listless, and depressed than I've been for quite awhile. Not constantly so. I've had some easy times, some contentment, some in-lovedness, etc. But some kind of storm hangs over me -- the barometric pressure weighs heavily on my chest. It is constricting, uncomfortable. I am ill-at-ease and restless.

D. and I are at a strange impasse. I read a poem once that included a line to the effect that marriage is a series of impasses and I suppose this is one of them. Last week was a very bad sugar-binging week for me. D. and I talk about these things. I am confounded by the binging at times, aware that I should be able to resist and yet finding myself unfit to the task of it. D. worries about my longevity, and my apparent pre-diabetic condition. He believes that if I could just control my sugar addiction, I'd be able to prevent actual onset. He spends a lot of time reading about how addiction works, physiologically, and the best means to beat it. I feel like in the process of trying to "help" me do that, he makes his respect and admiration for me conditional. If I am "beating" my sugar addiction, he's proud of me. If I am not, he's disappointed in me, and feels somehow betrayed by me, though even he acknowledges the irrationality of it. I don't want it to be his business and think it is unfair of him to hinge feelings of approval for me on something I do not fully control, didn't seek, and don't want. He feels very strongly that my health is his business and notes that his feelings are irrational and he doesn't fully control them either. We are both right and we are both wrong and it's hard to imagine how we will find our way through this without compromising our honesty with each other.

Then there's work. Today we have a staff meeting to talk about all of the work we currently have (enough that all of us are budgeted for over 50-60 hour weeks through November) and all that is coming up (enough to sink the boats) --- all of which makes me feel leaden and empty at the prospect of having to dedicate any of the hours of my life to it. If I did fall down the rabbit hole at all week before last, it was in the fantasy I allowed myself for the first time of just quitting this job. Of walking into my bosses' offices and saying, "Look, I love you guys, I do. But this isn't the right job for me and I need to leave in order to find one that is." It was so amazing to allow myself the prospect of such freedom. It ignited my imagination. But, unlike, deciding to take a trip around the world, the effect was not a sensation of walking through a plate of glass but into one. And ouch. I can't do that. I mean, I can, but I can't. The wall still feels solid. It probably isn't, but it feels like it.

D. said that he would support me at a part-time job that would enable me to write more if I would demonstrate my commitment by writing an article and seeking publication. That should be all it takes. I'm disgusted with myself to find that, instead, I have nothing to write about. Certainly nothing that I can imagine trying to get published.

In the meantime, we need my job for the health insurance (D.'s open enrollment period has ended), because, let us not forget that I am caught in limbo between wanting a baby and the expensive problem of having trouble conceiving one, while all around me friends have babies or are pregnant --- most notably, my best friend, who is, of course, ambivalent about being pregnant. Every group function is peppered with her funny, sardonic comments about pregnancy while others hover about her, tending, indulging, enjoying this event with her. Meanwhile, I sit on the sidelines watching the game, wondering if I'll ever get called in from the bench.

I feel so out of rhythm with my surroundings right now that it hurts. I feel like Meg Murray in A Wrinkle in Time, standing before IT, trying to manage her own breathing and heart rate, while IT pulsates an overpowering rhythm all the while promising that if she'll just relax into ITs rhythm, everything will be easy. And she resists because she knows that then she would be less Meg, all her distinctions and uniqueness evened out to be in lock-step with everyone else. And that's the wrong image because in the book "IT" is evil, and in this case, I'm not sure that's true. But that's how it feels.

What are real dragons? Are they dinosaur-sized lizards with wings that breathe fire? Perhaps they are the fears and voices inside a person that define the map of known lands -- the allowed world, the area that is "easy," where one's heart beats to a set rhythm and is comfortable. Perhaps we only meet them when we try to step off the map. Maybe sometimes they serve us well, protecting us with their fearsome displays that warn of the discomfort and danger of wandering too far afield, turning us back to the safety of shore, of charted lands.

Maybe sometimes, though, they are only the figments of our imagination -- born of our willingness and need not to wander out beyond the known lands, not to lose sight of the shore. What happens when we keep venturing, even past their fearsome displays? What happens when we lose our willingness and need to cling to shore?

I don't know that's what's happening. But I wonder.

I'm probably just experiencing the hormonal chaos of Clomid.

But I wonder.