When one morning I rolled over on my belly– which I have done my entire life–and felt strange stabbings in my boobies, I knew that something was wrong. My first reaction was WHA’? My second reaction was panic. But there was no clear origin to the pain and no localized lump, bump, or swelling. It was such an odd sensation that I didn’t have words for it. It happened to me several times before I could even describe it. It felt like miniature archers were precariously perched in the loofah fibers of my breasts. The whirrlygig arrows they shot at each other took spiral paths, like corkscrew confetti with barbs. I could tell that some of the little archers were a bit overweight because I could feel their fat little feet dig into me, like the feet of a cat who is leaning on one foot.
When I held a pillow to my chest or picked up my cat, 1. I knew the archers were there and 2. I discovered that I have the undisputed gift of instant rage.
This happened several times before I had the courage to describe it to anyone. “It sounds like hormone stew!” said my sister. Surprise!
Ever the ponderer, I picture my hormones in a big pot with vegetables. There are too many cooks in my kitchen and no chief. Somebody comes in and turns up the heat. Then somebody else comes in and moves the pot to a smaller burner. Then somebody else turns everything off. Then it’s back on again. Then some nut job comes in and adds cabbage and the whole house stinks. Yes, I have a very clear picture of what is happening in my retirement-age ovaries, which are as wrinkled and dry as lima beans.
When my sister says, “hormone stew,” it starts an argument in my head. I think, Why stew? Why not soup? Meanwhile, I have my hormone levels tested and sure enough, my FSH and LH have evaporated while everything simmered with the lid off. Progesterone did the same and so did my testosterone! I had such stabbings of rage every time the Little Archers did their business that I was convinced that my testosterone had topped the charts. But no. It evaporated into thin air through the exhaust fan.
Meanwhile I’ve decided that my sister is right. It IS stew. Soup is simply ingredients cooked in a liquid base, served hot. But “stew” means to “simmer or to slow boil.” It also means to “fret,” “worry,” or “fuss.” My favorite definition is “to feel uncomfortable due to a hot, humid, stuffy atmosphere; to swelter.” My next favorite is “a state of agitation, uneasiness, or worry.” The only definition I don’t agree with is “a brothel.”
I know for a fact that the meaning of “stew” in my particular case has nothing to do with any “House-of-Ill-Repute” because the testosterone leaching out of my system would make that virtually impossible. First of all, I got days that ain’t nobody touching me and if they did, I’m a mean, Mean Madame.
On the other hand, I have to admit that it seems possible that the word, “brothel” comes from the stew-related word, “broth.” Some very early historian must have made a typo. Or there was a misunderstanding. Something like that.