SWORDFERN
Rooted, I used to think.

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Tuesday, May. 24, 2016 @ 9:08 am
Estrogen/Gord/Chris



Blood work came back.

My estrogen level is non-detectable. It shows on the report as 'prepubertal'. This confirms hypothalamic amenorrhea.

I looked at myself in the mirror this morning when getting dressed. My sternum and ribs outlined perfectly in the grey morning light. My veins pulsing faintly, pale blue, down the length of my biceps and forearms. I turn my head to the side and notice that my cheeks have fallen in.

That's it, right? The proof in the bloodwork. I did it. I achieved perfection. Shrunk my body to nothing, to a non-female form, a lean plank of muscle and bone. I have proven my self control, my impulse control. I have won.

I stand there and realize my the irony. In winning, I have lost. In vanity, I discovered the connection between body fat and hormone function. I am learning about health, and how misconstrued my brain has become. How my diet of lean protein, green vegetables, and no sugar has, rather than leading to optimal health, has lead to imbalance and gland failure. To infertility.

I walk silently to the kitchen. I scramble two eggs and plate them with a dollop of pesto. I stare at the loaf of bread. I slice up a tomato instead.

Seeing my ribs, seeing my bloodwork, and I still can't do it. I can't bring myself to make one single piece of whole wheat toast.

I eat my eggs and turn on the CBC.

Gord Downie.

I put down my fork and sadness whelms up within me.

When I think of the Hip, I think of summer days driving to Squamish, Bobcaygeon turned up and the windows rolled down, with Gord. Gord who also died of terminal brain cancer.

Gord/Gord. Brain cancer/brain cancer.

On Sunday, I did that same drive with Chris. Parked in the same parking lot. I glanced at the rock face where Gord and I used to climb. Tied together, opposite ends of the rope. I recall his smell, his smile, the colour of his fleece jacket. The clank of carabiners.

Chris and I hiked out to a woodsy lake, through granite gullies and cedar cathedrals. The orchids, coral roots, quivering in the soft breeze. An owl swooping over my head, Chris placing his hand on my shoulder to stop me, to pull me back to see the ruffled bird high up in a hemlock.

At the lookout, we drink tea from the top of his thermos. His lips and mine on the same rim. He always lets me lead, and I strike a brisk pace through the misty woods.

The conversation never wavers. Tromping down a logging road, we start to talk about relationships. He mentions a friend whose most recent girlfriend kept him at an arms reach but always within contact, the fish at the end of a line, ready for her to reel in as she pleases. I wondered how much of that was talking about me.

He hands me chocolate and dried mangoes. A container of fresh blackberries. Urges me to eat more. When I first met him over a decade ago, I weighed 60 lbs more than I do now. I wonder if he's noticed.

He invites me to hike the Chilkoot trail later in the year, on a cycling trip to Saltspring, an overnighter on the Howe Sound Crest Trail.

I want to say yes to it all.


Roots | Shoots