Friday, January 8, 2021

Battlegrounds by Ruth Utnage

It feels like I value the things I've had to fight for the most. Like hormones. I had to battle to get them. It was an ugly battle that lasted for 18 months and involved many people, a story I will write when I am no longer incarcerated because it was so ugly. While almost every girl around me got theirs without a battle at all I kept being the "one off". While the reason for this is somewhat sinister and involves a very strange medical professional who no longer works here (thankfully), it doesn't change that I had to fight like hell.

That battle left an impression on me that I will never forget. I will never view another male mental health provider with immediate trust again in my life and I will never again allow myself to be the "one off" or "slip through the cracks". But it does leave me preparing battlegrounds in areas that perhaps I don't need to.

For instance, every 2 weeks I receive a shot of Estradial. Estradial I had to fight like hell for (in some fashion), for nearly 5 years. I get quarantined and see that I am going to need my shot right in the middle of this thing. Quarantined in prison means you ain't going anywhere. So the week leading up to my magic injection day I reminded the nurses taking my temp everyday of my upcoming injection, they got tired of me. Then lo and behold on the day nothing came. But I had already built a mental battleground, prepared to have to fight for my meds, just like before.

Here's the thing, I did have to fight for them. All day. At the end of the day a reluctant, tired, and overworked nurse came to the door with a syringe full of woman juice and asked apathetically "Where do you want it?". Crisis averted.

This got me thinking though, what if I never said anything? Would that same apathetic and overworked nurse still came to deliver my meds? I don't know but I have been trained to expect a battle for the things I value most. This seems especially counter-productive with highly valued things like relationships. I value them very much and place higher value on relationships I must "battle" for which leaves vulnerable to manipulative and critical people (the 'battle' here being someone who doesn't accept me and is critical as opposed to supportive). This particular problem has roots in my early childhood, battling for the love of someone who simply didn't want me, my own birth parents.

Now while these things are legitimate in that I feel them, it doesn't necessarily need to translate into creating battlegrounds where patience reigns king. I have to question "am I needing to fight for this or am I simply impatient or entitled?" Hard mirrors to look in, you know what I mean?

I think this is called growth.

With Love
Ruth Utnage



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