My PMS this weekend has made me realise a few things. First, if I had been more aware of how PMS affects my mood and the way I interact with family and family-like people, i.e. boyfriends, then perhaps, in the past, I would not have taken the times when I invariably got irritated by a boyfriend as a sign that the feelings were fading. I am not sure why I never seemed to have given serious credence to the role that hormones play, and the havoc that they are capable of wreaking, in my relationships. Could it not have been the case that what I'd taken to be a loss of feelings was really PMS?
Well, maybe not. In any event, the past is not always instructive for what goes on in the present (though sometimes it can be). In the present, this past weekend, I found myself feeling irritated towards Etienne for no reason whatsoever; or rather, no good reason whatsoever. Perhaps my PMSy state found it too much, our spending four consecutive nights together; but things rather got on my nerves. I can't pinpoint what they were except one: after tennis on Saturday morning, I suddenly noticed that he was coughing and sniffling a lot. I asked, Are you sick? He said that he had a sore throat yesterday and that morning.
We had kissed a couple of times during tennis. And so I couldn't help but think, and then express, Shit, am I going to be sick too? I can't afford to be sick now; I have to keep training for the marathon.
Thankfully, I have not caught his cold...yet. All the same, I was a bit annoyed that he didn't think to not kiss me, or to at least tell me that he had a bit of a cold, especially given he knows how seriously I am taking the half-marathon, and how I absolutely want to run it in no more than 2 hours and 15 minutes. And so every little thing annoyed me, including his constant nose-blowing.
But I am trying to be a better person; more concretely, given that I am quite aware of my self-centred character, I am consciously trying to reject the first self-centred instinct and choose to act in a more other-regarding manner. So for instance, when I was in Cambridge on Wednesday to celebrate with John after his viva (he passed without corrections--absolutely unsurprising!), Etienne texted me to say that he couldn't get a tennis court at the club before 8pm; was that okay with me? It meant, that is, that he'd be later than we'd agreed to pick me up. My first instinct was to say, 'That's gonna be a bit late...' and I knew that if I had said this, he would arrange his tennis for another day or evening.
Needless to say, I knew how selfish that was, and since part of the point of critical self-reflection is to be a better person, I pushed that aside and opted for the other-regarding response: 'It's okay, do what you have to! I'll wait for you in college.'
This weekend, I made him some tea with honey--twice. I have to say, though, the way he said yes he'd like some tea after we got back from Wise Children on Saturday evening grated on my PMSy nerves, but I just let it go. And I made him tea because I genuinely wanted him to be better, and it was what he would've done for me anyway. So I tried to care for someone's needs other than my own, and I tried not to let my irritation show, but being the open book that I am, I'm pretty sure that he felt the full brunt of my PMSy mood.
At least he was patient and good-natured. We talked about this a bit at the bus stop, about the way I get anxious and moody and irritable when my hormones are messing with me. He said that it makes him anxious because he doesn't know what to do.
'Just leave me alone,' I said. 'It's that simple. And it actually annoys me more when you're hovering around when I'm in this kind of mood.'
I hope he remembers that the next time I'm rather unbearable to be around.
The point is, the first realisation this weekend was that just because my feelings towards my boyfriend changes when my period is due...well, it means exactly that. No need to freak out. It's business as usual.
The second thing that I realised, from the small things that irritated me, was that I'm not very good at sharing my daily life with someone else. There is still a mental demarcation between Mine and Yours, and when Yours encroaches into Mine, depending on my mood, I may not like it very much. I don't even remember the details of what had irritated me; suffice it to say that it is hard to let someone else into my universe when it's always been me at its centre. (This, of course, ties in with my self-centred nature.)
A couple of nights ago, he told me that he loved me.
My first reaction was shock. Then I was kind of happy. And then, as if on clockwork, my mind started turning things over and inside out and upside down, and I started questioning it. I started thinking, How can he say that now when it's barely been two months? Does he know what he's saying? Has he thought this through?
I communicated some of this to him, but I'm not sure whether he understood, or if I communicated it effectively. What I did not say, though, was that I thought, How like NEB I am; how he and I are so alike, questioning something that ought not be questioned in the exact moment that it's been uttered.
The thing is, I don't doubt that he'd meant it, and I trust that he thinks he feels it. But I don't trust its potential ephemerality; I don't trust its vulnerability to the corrosive effects of my difficult character, my selfishness, my shortness of temper. So I am not convinced, not after barely two months of dating, that he'd still believe that he loves me after he's experienced me in all my facets, all my flaws, my shortcomings, my imperfections. He's now seeing me without his glasses on because it's more intimate that way, and so no, I don't really buy it, I don't really believe it, and no, I wasn't afraid of saying it back; I was afraid of not feeling it, or it being too early and eventually being swallowed up and devoured by my caprices. Of course, there had a been a couple of moments when I felt like I did, or wanted to say it, but it wouldn't have been the responsible thing to say something like that in the intensity of the moment, the one-flesh union sort, because I am capable of feeling deeply in such moments, but the test is whether I would still feel the urge to say it when he's sitting on my couch in the evening, playing his silly game on his phone.
Do I think too much? Yes, I do. I wish I didn't, but I am who I am. I just have to accept it, like he does, and hope that he does.
Wise Children was entertaining but I was quite surprised, though I shouldn't have been, by how much of the book had been taken out in the play. I was also surprised that Dora came across as a victim of sexual abuse by her Uncle Perry at the end, because it wasn't so clear in the book that her childhood had been ruined by what Perry did when she was 13. So I didn't really like this part; it was too obvious.
I prefer the subtleties of the book for sure, but I guess theatre has to be over-the-top and sentimental, for much has to be conveyed in a mere two hours. I enjoyed it and really liked the gender fluidity of the actors and characters but I definitely prefer the book. I love Angela Carter.
We also went to the orchestra on Sunday; the London Philharmonic played Weber (?), a famous Beethoven piano concerto and a Brahms symphony. I really didn't like the Brahms until the third movement but everything else was great.
I don't feel like writing anymore, so this is the last thing: after almost TWO YEARS since I first started writing it, this paper will finally be published.
FINALLY I HAVE A PUBLICATION ON MY CV. Fuck yeah! It won't come out until June next year, but still--finally!