It is Sunday afternoon. It’s been 3.5 days since I took the last BCP. I have NO IDEA what my body is doing. I have no idea “where” in my cycle I am. I have no idea what will happen with this cycle, or if it can be called a cycle at all.

I am unmoored.

For the ENTIRETY of 2012 I knew “where” I was. Every single one of those 366 days I knew what cycle day it was, how long it was until or since ovulation, how long until or since my period. I always knew right where I was. The landmarks were within view. And I had chart upon chart of basel body temperatures mapping it all out. I knew my place. I knew my purpose. I had a goal. I had a plan.

Now I have none of that. I have no idea where I am. I have no idea when my period will come. No idea what ovulation will be like after it does. No idea how we will be trying when it’s possible again. I am completely lost. Between this renegade cycle and the wait on my partner’s prognosis, I am in a holding pattern. I have no goal. I have no purpose. I have no plan.

I am unmoored.

I can’t really explain how disorienting it is, to have no idea what my body is doing. And I can’t even be angry at it, as I was the one who stepped in and melted with it in the first place. That is almost more disorienting, that I can’t even be angry at my body for feeling this way. (Do I find so much comfort in self-flagellation? It seems I must, for not having that option feels so foreign.)

Being here, in this uncharted place, is my own doing. And I don’t regret it, it was the right thing to do. And yet here I sit. Drifting in the open sea under a blanket of clouds, with barely the rising and setting of the sun to guide me. And even if I wanted to move forward, I have no oars, no sail, no rutter. And I don’t know which direction “forward” should be.

This feeling… is profound. I could have never guessed that I’d feel this way until I was forced here. And I never could have seen clearly where I was, what I was doing, until I was made to stop.

For the past twelve months I’ve been rowing manically to an unknown destination. Some months the waters were smooth and my oars sliced the surface with efficiency and precision. Some months were tumultuous as I slammed my oars inexpertly into the white capped waves. Over time I got tired: my muscles ached, my lips cracked, my skin burned.

My fingers blistered. And broke open and wept and blistered again.

Some months the repetition of it–back and forth, back and forth, endlessly–seemed too crushing a burden to bear. Some days the monotony threatened to drive me to mad. After a while I stopped being cognizant of what I was doing, but I had been set on a course and damned if I wasn’t going to arrive at my destination. So I just kept rowing, day in and day out, as my lips cracked and bleed, as my skin burnt and peeled, as my blisters opened and drained. As my muscles knotted and stitched. By the end I was blind, madly thrashing against the current, salt water and sun burning my eyes, completely unaware of where I was or what I was doing, aware of only the monthly landmarks assuring me I was staying the proper course–or as it later became apparent–the only course, but not necessarily the right one.

And then, as we got Mi.Vida’s results back and I started taking BCPs, I was forced to stop. I pulled in one oar, and then the other. I stretched my legs and ran my tongue over my scorched lips. I flexed my hands and traced my fingers over the opens sores and callouses. As if awoken from a trance, I stopped what I was doing and took stock. And with abject horror I realized the damage I had been doing all those months, manically rowing to nowhere.

What do I with these hands now, if there are no oars to hold? How do I let my skin heal if I’m still stranded in the unforgiving sun?

And so now I sit, drifting on the open sea, unmoored. I don’t know when I’ll start rowing again, in fact I don’t know if this time I’ll be putting up the sail, ready and able to harness a modern power much more powerful than I could ever produced on my own. Who knows, maybe eventually I’ll be turning over a motor whose scientific advances can propel me farther than I could have ever achieved when it was me alone.

Right here, right now, I have no idea what our next steps will be. That, coupled with the constant uncertainty of where we’re actually going, has left me in a uniquely unsettling place. I am singularly unsure of myself, or my purpose.

I am unmoored.

There are some moments when I feel agitated, certain I would feel the ache of everything less if I were moving again. Sometimes I am giddy with the anticipation of it, doe eyed in my expectation of what the next steps might entail and where my little boat might carry me. Sometimes I’m struck by the beauty all around me and I marvel at how little I have appreciated in my mad rowing to get to this place, this desolate, beautiful place, where the only demarcation is that unknowable point where the boundlessness of the ocean meets the endlessness of the sky.

There, in the imperceptible distance, my fate is waiting for me. When and how I will arrive, and what I’ll encounter when I do so, I can no longer fathom. But as I wait, I think I’ll attempt acceptance in this place where I now find myself, because here–and everywhere–the truest beauty is in every breath.

Right here, right now, I will find peace in being unmoored.

8 responses

  1. such a powerful metaphor for giving up control. It is SO hard to stop rowing, and then, when you do, to know what to do next, while you wait. We are not used to drifting.

    The other amazing post I read this weekend (from surfacing) made me think, again, about this metaphor of the ocean … so vast, hard to feel like there’s anyone else out there. But even in our unmoored-ness, even as we drift upwards towards the light or out towards the horizon, there are others swimming, drifting with us … and perhaps there is some small comfort and peace in that, too.

  2. I think that’s the only thing one can do when they become unmoored. (Save for finding a different anchoring focus — which is impossibly difficult to do at times. The heart doesn’t like to get dragged off-course.) To find that peace while staying in the moment.

  3. This post really gives me a feel for how things have been for you this past year, as well as the shock of being untethered all of a sudden.

    I’m glad you’re choosing to be present and peaceful with it.

  4. you captured that feeling so perfectly. And I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way. It totally sucks not knowing what’s happening inside or out. I hope things get back on track so you feel better about everything. I hope after all this you get your second baby, soon!

  5. This does remind me too of Submerged.

    It’s hard to let go of control when you’re used to holding the oars, and rowing to a set destination. I remember exactly how this felt.

  6. I love your last sentence. Admitting we have no control, not knowing what the future holds, it is all so scary. Yet there is freedom in just surrendering, and being in the now, because that’s all we can do when we’re unmoored.

    Lovely post, and Happy new Year!

  7. E this is such an apt and moving metaphor. sometimes we need courage to keep rowing…sometimes we need courage to stop, and trust the waters will take us where we need to be…as someone who likes to be in control, and to map my exact path to my pre-determined destination, I feel you.

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