Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bus O Blood

I cannot stand to be told how to feel. It makes me irate. I dislike it so much I could almost say I hate it. But I won't. I don't like to hate things.

We all do it. I know I have. We 'should' each other.

"You shouldn't feel like that." "You should let it go."

In my family there are no shoulds. There are demands.

"Don't say that!" "Don't think that." "Don't feel that way." Comments typically made in regard to my self-deprecation.

It is enough to make a person want to swallow their feelings but, unfortunately, I am heart on the sleeve kind of gal.

Tonight, I went with a friend - who shall remain nameless as I have yet to determine his clever pseudonym - to donate blood for the Haitian relief effort.

Why I thought this was a good idea I am not so sure but I felt like there was no way to say no to those images, even though every time I get blood drawn it is a minor disaster. When I was in the hospital I swore I may have driven the nurse in training to give up her profession after her attempts to load my i.v. sent me screaming from the pain.

My veins don't take to kindly to being poked.

It didn't end up working. The veins said no. They didn't care about the wait or the good intention. One nurse said something I interpreted as having jello blood. Another said she probably went straight through the vein.

It was fine. I felt a little guilty but it was fine.

But then someone on the bus-o-blood said something and I just wanted to cry. It had nothing to do with donating or the tiny compartment, which even on my best day would give me an anxiety attack.

It was an innocent, meaningless directive and without time or reason I was immediately transported back to the fifth grade, having just been sent to Sister Jackie's office for using the word 'bitch'. I felt so worthless in my metaphoric plaid skirt.

If I told you the words or the whys you might just tell me I shouldn't have felt that way. But I did and all I wanted to do was get out of that damn bus.

Wanda Sikes does a pit about being gay and how basically you are a dumb-ass if you think it is a choice. I feel that way about feelings.

Sometimes you just feel the way you do - despite the shoulds. I think my therapist would agree with me, conditionally, except to say that the manifestation of those feelings is where we have to do the work.

It felt icky and sometimes, for reasons that would be far too difficult to explain to someone not living inside my head, I feel like that, like crap. We all must. Sometimes.

But I rebound quickly, when given enough air and space and room to breathe. And in a moment or few, I felt better. The lower lip of the incarcerated fifth grader inside of me was still quivering but it would recover. She'll come around in her own time.

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