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Author Topic: Periods and pheromones?
Zorro
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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4K, I've never been pregnant, and I am not sure what this "breast reaction" is that you guys are talking about. My niece is 20 months old now, and I've held her plenty of times during the last 20 months, and even when she kept turning her head towards my breast and tried to burrow in there (is that what you guys mean by "root"?), I thought it was cute, but I don't think I felt any physical reaction to it.

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GooglyEyes
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Danny the Street:
[QB] Sorry for the three-in-a-row posts, but after I posted that last one, I remembered reading about a study that showed that male sweat improved women's moods. (Another phenomenon that this female has experienced herself. [Wink] )

Well, I know my mood improves after one certain sweaty activity that my SO participates in with me.

To the OP, I've definitely experienced synched periods. As soon as I got my period it synched up with my mom's. (here is the coincidence, I always want to attribute the synch up as to why I never had irregular periods the first few years).

When I moved to the second floor and stopped using her bathroom and washed my clothes separately the synch faded away...

Then I went on the pill 100% of the time (ie no periods ever) at the same time my mother entered menopause and I notice that every few months I get a few days of spotting when my mom gets her period.

I imagine when I move out this weekend, that'll go away too. (But by then maybe the menopausal hormone swings will have ended along with her period and it wont matter anyway)

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Four Kitties
Layaway in a Manger


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quote:
Originally posted by Zorro:
4K, I've never been pregnant, and I am not sure what this "breast reaction" is that you guys are talking about. My niece is 20 months old now, and I've held her plenty of times during the last 20 months, and even when she kept turning her head towards my breast and tried to burrow in there (is that what you guys mean by "root"?), I thought it was cute, but I don't think I felt any physical reaction to it.

Yes, the burrowing into your chest thing is called "rooting."

The breast reactions that Slainey and I were discussing vary, and it's hard for me to describe it to someone who has never had a child (breastfed or not, because it happens to almost all new moms), and Slainey's reaction could be different from mine, but here goes: There's something called the "letdown" reflex when you're nursing, where the breast relaxes so that milk will flow more freely (if it did that all the time, you'd be leaking constantly). Letdown in nursing mothers is usually triggered by things such as hearing a baby cry, being rooted at, smelling that "newborn" smell, etc., anything that signals to the nursing mother than there's a kid around who might need to be fed.

Julia Kitten weaned herself almost exactly three years ago. But when I hold my nephew (5 months old), and I can smell him or he cries or he's rooting around, I can feel my breasts trying to "let down" to feed him, even though I dried up long ago. When I was still nursing the Kitten, I would let down and start to leak whenever I heard a baby cry, even if it wasn't mine.

There is a distinct sensation to letdown (although it varies from person to person, and some feel it more strongly than others). As an analogy, think of how it feels when you've been racing to get to the ladies room in time, and you then sit down and relax and go -- it's kind of like that, only with boobs. [lol] Plus, in many women the chest muscles tighten up a bit (I presume to make the breast more prominent and easier for the kid to get to).

Four Kitties

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If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you explain whales?

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Slainey
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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It depends on where I am in the cycle and can range from a brief twinge to aching all the next day. Once after holding a particularly hungery baby for way too long I told my husband that my breast had become prehensil and he's better look out.
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ranran yousei
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Well, as for the OP, I can say, that spotting while on the pill is not unheard of. It's actually common (at least according to the PDR sheet that came with the prescription I had when I was 18). Could be only once, on one day, can be a regular thing. Everyone is different and there doesn't need to be a "trigger".

Menstration synching: I used to be under the impression it was a myth, or a psychological event. I even posted about my feelings towards it in some other thread a while ago. Now, I am not so sure. Yes, I have heard the stories, yes I know other women will attest to it - hence the "psychological event", since about 90% of the women I know always talk about when they are menstruating. I never mention it, and my cycle has never synched with anyones, and no one has synched with mine. Until now.

My eldest has begun menses. She is two days after I begin. She doesn't know when mine is, since I am the stealth ninja of periods and leave no trace behind. So far, this is a regular event (man, I wish I had been so regular in the beginning, but I was all over the place.)

Talking with my brother, who has three daughters, all three plus his wife are two days apart. So he has about two weeks of hell in his home. [lol]

"Let down" effect: Nope, I don't get that reaction. I did when I was nursing, and when I was weaning, but never since. I've held babies that were rooting, I hear babies cry all the time, etc etc. I do not get that sensation. Now, I do know other women that do. One lady I work with, who's youngest child is 29 years old, still gets it, and needs to leave the vicinity of the child who is crying to make it stop. She also tends to be a lot more sensitive to her surroundings, and can't listen to stories of injuries or other medical problems, since they tend to make her "live them". So, maybe it's psychological in her instance.

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foxyleah3
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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thank you all for such interesting posts after my initial question! in answer to some of your questions:
i do not know if i am ovulating, since i am on seasonale and i only get my periods every three months.
i am almost positive i am not pregnant.
i have had spotting before, when i first started the pill, but it had been a long time since it happened again.
i guess all the hormone stuff could be wrong, but it did seem really wacky to me that i would spot while visiting the hospital. like my body was saying "get me outta here, im not pregnant!"

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On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.

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cynicgal
The Red and the Green Stamps


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foxyleah3 - Did you just recently start the Seaonale? I've heard that in the beginning with this certain pill, some light spotting at odd times is normal. Could be wrong here, though.

"get me outta here, I'm not pregnant!" [lol]

cynicgal

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Bonnie
The Red and the Green Stamps


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There's a lot in thread I'd like to comment on, but I'm only going to remark on this,

quote:
Originally posted by cynicgal:
quote:
Originally posted by Crono:
Given the latest evidence (and the remedial knowledge that I have about pheromones), I'm inclined to believe that menstrual synchrony is just a misperception.

Dude, if you had a uterus, I may be inclined to give credence to your idea that menstrual synchrony is "just a misperception".
and, later,

quote:
I don't understand why men with only "remedial knowledge" feel it neccessary to share opinions about female reproductive system issues.
I find this attitude sexist and reject it, particularly since Crono has made an attempt to look at what the scientific literature has to say about the purported phenomenon of pheromonally induced menstrual synchrony. Favoring research into an issue, even to the exclusion of personal anecdote, is a frequent and not invalid approach on this message board.

To dispense with the opinion of another poster here, particularly in a forum such as this, simply because he or she is of a different gender is an unfortunate, unfair, and I think harmful approach.

quote:
cynicgal also notes:
It's not purely physical - it's how a woman's mind and body work together reacting to outside influences. That's as technical as I should probably get since I'm not any kind of scientist or anything.

A review of the literature would show that while many sociologists, endocrinologists, behavioralists and the like are convinced that human pheromones induce behaviors (including physiological responses) in other humans, it's just as clear that many researchers in the field reject the notion of a global phenomenon involving pheromonally induced menstrual synchrony.

I appreciate Crono's linking to the Straight Dope columns and welcome his input in this thread.

-- Bonnie

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Se non č vero, č ben trovato.

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cynicgal
The Red and the Green Stamps


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And now it seems only certain parts of my posts have been quoted and used out of context by two members of these forums.

It was not just the fact that Crono is male, although I understand that my "uterus" comment made me look incredibly closed-minded. Let me elaborate. . .

In my relatively short life (I'm 24) I've come into contact with quite a few men, some doctors, who have made at least one of the following comments:

1. PMS is a myth.
2. Cramps don't really exsist.
3. Synched cycles are a myth and can't possibly happen.
4. If so many women do it, childbirth can't be THAT painful.
5. (Usually in conjuction with #3) There's no reason women should need pain relief/medication during childbirth.

. . .and many variations and combinations thereof. Consequently, I have a difficult time listening to a man's commentary on feminine issues, especially an issue that is a "up in the air" as synched cycles are. Citing articles and studies is one thing, but personal opinion is another completely (just ask Cervus). I know, I know. . .I shouldn't take out anger from past experiences on someone else. I acknowledge that. I've fought long and hard with males I know about the validity of these things that affect women. It's difficult to not be in that frame of mind.

cynicgal

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Four Kitties
Layaway in a Manger


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cynicgal, how about turning it around and telling these guys that getting kicked in the crotch really isn't so bad -- after all, when it happens to our hero in the movies, he just grimaces and walks away! Or start saying that circumcision, like any other body mod, should wait until the guy is 18. How about: If so many men do it, passing a kidney stone through a narrow urethra can't be too bad. [Wink]

Four Kitties

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If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you explain whales?

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cynicgal
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Four Kitties - First, [lol] .

I've used the idea about getting kicked in the crotch not being so bad...I'll have to remember the one about circumcision, though.

cynic"I've got to learn to lighten up"gal

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Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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..still waiting to hear from women who've never synchronized with other women...

I know I can't be the only one.

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"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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nerdymcnerd
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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I don't think I ever did Cervus - and I lived in a Virgin Vault, ah, I mean, an all girls dorm for 2 years in college.

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Skunks hate the sound of industry.

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Rhiandmoi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I don't think I have ever synched up with anyone, but I also have never really lived with other women. When I lived in the dorms, I hardly ever spent any time with the other girls, and since then I have always lived with guys. When I worked with other women I was on birth control.
I do feel my uterus getting activated when I am around a lot of babies, though. Even when I am just thinking happy baby thoughts for a fellow snopester I feel my uterus getting heavy. This is even being on Depo Provera and having not had a menstrual cycle for over 5 years.
So my point, I think synching is possible, but it probably depends on other factors. I am guessing their is a genetic componenent for sociablilty and tribal interaction that affects your synching or not synching with other women. And since Cervus, you are not a tribal sort of person you might also be a non syncher.

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I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

What is .02 worth?

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ranran yousei
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Cervus:
..still waiting to hear from women who've never synchronized with other women...

I know I can't be the only one.

Cervus, I started menstruating at age 13, I am now 32. That's 19 years (oh my lord 19? [Eek!] I never did the math before...) of not synching with anyone.

I did post:
quote:
(snip)... my cycle has never synched with anyones, and no one has synched with mine. Until now.
Nineteen years of non-synching. Granted that ended when my daughter started her menses just this year. Still, it's a long time of being on the "outside" of synchronicity. More than half my life time so far. This is the main reason I always assumed it was a myth/coincidence/psychological.

So far, other than her, no one has synched with me, and she and I are two days apart, not an exact synch.

I have no way of knowing if mom and I would have been in synch. She had a partial hysterechtomy when I was a child, leaving her with one ovary and no uterus to speak of. I probably wouldn't have known even if she still had the plumbing by then. All female shtuff was hush hush in my home while growing up. Coming to her when I had a yeast infection at 14 was torture and embarassing.

Despite my ninja like stealth in the bathroom (my own hang up held over from growing up), we're more open and encouraging with our daughter. This way she'll be more likely to come to us when there's a problem. Nothing like having your body betray you, and feeling like a bad daughter for something beyond your control. [Roll Eyes]

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Crono
Deck the Malls


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cynicgal, I didn't take your response that seriously, so no offense was taken. I am certainly not an expert on the issue, and I never claimed to be, but the links I provided did show some reliable evidence to put doubt on menstrual synchrony. I honestly did believe in menstrual synchrony until I saw these comments. McClintock's research was very good, which is why it is so widely accepted. However, even good research can be wrong, and the methodological issues mentioned in the third Straight Dope article still have not been addressed.

I'm okay with anecdotal evidence if it's the only thing available, but I put a lot more credence into scientific research. Even though the anecdotal examples I've been hearing from others sound good, but I know that it is very easy for people--anyone, whether male or female--to see what they want to see or what they think they should see. That's why I find it more reliable to depend on objective observers who look at multiple cases, which is the case in scientific research.

Menstrual synchrony may very well be a real thing. Like I said, McClintock's research was good, and it is widely accepted. However, there have been some criticisms of it, and those criticisms do put some doubt on it. For example, many of the cases of menstrual synchrony mentioned only last for a few months. This is not a very unlikely coincidence. Not every person's menstrual cycle is the same amount of time. If one woman's cycle is 30 days and another woman's is 29 days, they will begin their cycles on the same day eventually. This could easily be misperceived as synchrony because they don't normally have their periods on the same day. Also, people perceive time differently. If one person begins her cycle only a day apart from another person's, they might still perceive that at synchrony. Given this, it is very possible for two people to have their cycles go for several months and appear to begin at the same time. This was only one criticism mentioned in the Straight Dope article.

Also, given what I know about pheromones, the physical possibility of synchrony being caused by pheromones seems unlikely, but I won't go into that right now unless you want me to.

All I'm saying is that there are some good reasons to doubt that menstrual synchrony exists. Maybe those criticisms are not correct, but there is a basis for them and they're not being pulled out of nowhere. I would be interested in hearing some responses to the crticisms stated in the Straight Dope article.

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Disclaimer: I might know something about everything, but I don't know much about anything.

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Slainey
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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It just occured to me that when I lived with women (mom, sisters, roommates, dormmates) my cycles were much more regular. The fewer women I lived with the bigger the gaps have been. Since I've lived with a man for the last 8 years they've been even worse - until last fall when a female friend lived with us for a month.

Hmmmmmmm. Just thinking outloud.

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cynicgal
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Crono - I'm glad you didn't take that personally. Offending someone is rarely, if ever, my objective in a discussion.

As far as menstrual synchrony goes, I have no clue what it's cause may be. It may be pheromones or simply psychological or a woman's ratio of nose hairs to navel lint for all I know. [Razz]

Personal experience (by no means scientific): My cycles used to be anywhere - and I mean anywhere - from 28 to 42 days. Once I synched with my sister, who can set a watch by her cycle, my cycle was 29 days exactly. Until recently, our cycles were very close. (They're not really anymore, but it's pretty convuluded.) Examples: If I started my period the day before she did, I finished it the day before she did. Or if she started 3 days before me, she finished 3 days before me.

Side bar to everyone: My mother-in-law has been staying with us since last Saturday. She flies back home today, but things have still been a little bit tense. It doesn't excuse it, but if I've been unnecessarily snarky, I humbly beg your pardon.

cynic"still trying to lighten up"gal

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Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Pear Trees:
So my point, I think synching is possible, but it probably depends on other factors. I am guessing their is a genetic componenent for sociablilty and tribal interaction that affects your synching or not synching with other women. And since Cervus, you are not a tribal sort of person you might also be a non syncher.

I think that's why I believe that synchronization and women's physiological responses toward babies is more of a psychosomatic reaction than one based in pheremones or biology. When I am confronted with a baby, my instant reaction is to get it as far away from me as possible. I find most babies repulsive (as the definition of "causing aversion or loathing") and will remove myself from any place with a baby ASAP. Hearing a baby scream or cry actually makes me feel violent. If I were another form of primate, I'd be the kind to neglect or kill her own offspring. This obviously goes against biology, and I have a fully functioning reproductive system, so I do believe that women's reactions to babies are based more in their minds than in their bodies. But again, I am comparing my experiences to that of other women, which is probably not a good idea because by most social or psychological standards I would not be considered "normal".

As it stands, I obviously am never going to have children, nor will I voluntarily spend any time in the same room with one. The few nurturing instincts I have are attuned to animals, mainly dogs. So hearing all these stories of women who experience tingling in their breasts or uterus when around babies would make me scream BS if I wasn't so aware that my own feelings towards pregnancy, childbirth, and babies are the extreme polar opposite of 99% of the female population. I will never be able understand the desire to want to hold a baby, much less give birth to one. And it's because I will never understand this desire that I'm more willing to accept that other women feel these sensations around babies. I don't know if that makes sense...it's like they already feel something that I'm incapable of, so even though it doesn't make sense to me from a biological standpoint, I can see how a "normal" woman could have a psychosomatic reaction to a baby that would lead to a tingling or tugging sensation in her reproductive organs. I'm not saying I understand it, but I guess I could accept it, because the way the maternal brain is wired will always be foreign to me.

However, I called BS on the menstrual synchronization because this is another thing that I've never experienced. The stories I have heard about it make it out to be widespread and basically happens to all women who live together. Women who I've heard this from are the same kinds of women who have maternal instincts, love children, and don't understand my mindset any more than I do theirs. I am by nature a solitary person and do not have this "social" or "tribal" gene that Pear Trees suggested. The longest time I ever spent with another woman was my mother. I lived with her until I was 20, and began my period at age 12. For 8 years we both menstruated (she only recently began menopause) and never once were we synchronized - usually we were two or three weeks apart. My cycles also didn't become regular until I started living on my own and didn't have much social contact with anyone, male or female.

I guess I'm pretty much the polar opposite of a "normal" female. [Razz]

I would, however, like to see lots of different long-term studies (several years of data from different ages and living situations) before I can accept that this is more common than I thought. The problem I have with studies of human subjects is that we're so diverse there's really no way to account for all possible variations in the human experience. As I stated earlier, the research that was cited only studied 135 women. How many millions are menstruating just in America alone? The other problem I have with studies of human behaviors and medical occurances is that the sample sizes are usually too small to represent a significant portion of the population. They are also usually done for a relatively short amount of time. I know it is impossible to reasonably sample millions of people, but even a few hundred doesn't make a significant amount in my eyes.

I don't know if it's a good or bad thing that I not only want cited evidence, but I have particular criteria that evidence must fit in order for me to find it reasonable.

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"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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Slainey
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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There are so few studies about this because there's no way to sell a drug related to it. I wonder if there is any data in the nun or nurse studies that might corrorate synching on a larger scale.

Since my periods have been so odd and because I took one drug that caused vaginal bleeding I'm very careful to search for studies on this. There are only two case studies about the drug I took and virually nothing about how a certain extremely popular statin affects menestration.


Cervus, you often try rewrite normal to include yourself but then insist that you are different than everyone else. Which is it? I am a fan of there being a really big "normal" but that means I can't call BS on everyone else in it just because my experience is different than theirs. This isn't of the bad. As much as there seems to be a genetic predisposition for community there also seems to be a place for the loner - the mysic, priestess, saint, artist, medicine man etc who is outside of the community yet essential to it. They get to call a spade a spade. In bad times they're tied to a stake but in good times they get Google's shoutout. These are good times Cervus. Don't pretend to be normal just because your mother said you weren't.

I probably could have said this better. Maybe I'll edit it tomorrow but there's a storm acoming and I need to turn off my computer.

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Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Slainey:
Cervus, you often try rewrite normal to include yourself but then insist that you are different than everyone else. Which is it?

Let's put it this way: my view of the world is normal for *me*. So when I consider whether something is normal or not, my first instinct is to view it from my point of view. I can't help it that I think differently than everyone else, and I've never purposely tried to. I guess I just want some validation that my feelings and beliefs aren't solely mine. It's always been hard for me to accept that other people don't think like I do. Society's definition of "normal" would not include me, but I don't say that proudly. I'm not purposely trying to be different or similar to anyone else. But my whole life I have felt like an outcast and an outsider who will never understand how and why other people think the way they do about things. I often post my views in the hopes that someone will say "I feel the same way." I am not looking for hugs or sympathy but it always makes me feel better to learn that I'm not the only person who has had certain experiences or beliefs. When I look at myself, I don't see anything wrong with me. But when I compare myself to other people, I am a minority that I can't do anything about. Judged by society's standards, I am different and usually "wrong" in my beliefs. By my standards, I'm the only person in the world who really has it all together. This obviously led to a lot of anger and frustration when I was growing up, but now I accept it with silent resentment. However, I have always been conflicted between wanting to be accepted by society and wanting to isolate myself from it. I don't like many people, but I want everyone to like me. I am a loner, but at the same time, I want to be respected and accepted, so that way I can decide for myself whether I want to join society or not. Being rejected really doesn't give me much choice in the matter. If more people's beliefs were similar to mine, I might not be such a solitary person. Or maybe that's my basic nature anyway. Yes, I see the absurd logic in it, and it does sometimes lead to conflicting statements on my part (On psychological tests I wrote that I both wanted attention and wanted to be included in a group, and that I also preferred to be isolated and did not seek social interaction. I didn't purposely write this to be conflicting; I was being honest. That aspect of my personality changes with my mood).

OK, enough about me. Please return to your normal thread. [Embarrassed]

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"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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Fuchsia
Xboxing Day


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Maybe the synchrony theory explains the baby boom that regularly occurs at my workplace, the "something in the water" phenomenon. If so, I must be immune to it because we've been trying for more than a year with no luck.

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Nothing makes sense, so let's have no more nothing and stop making sense.

Posts: 1353 | From: Pennsylvania | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Arrow-Tech IV
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< Possible hijack>Fuchsia -- Are you sure that you're ovulating? The reason that I ask is that I recently went to an OB-GYN because my husband and I had tried to conceive for 2 1/2 years without any luck.

I guess that, as far as my body goes, my experience was similar to Cervus's (primarily in that my cycle didn't seem to obey any rules anyone else's did). I always knew that there was a 28 day "normal" out there somewhere, but I certainly didn't fit it. Anyway, I finally found a great doctor and it turns out that I have a hormone imbalance. The entire time we were trying -- and the three years we were dating before that -- I wasn't ovulating.

Anyway, you might have a regular hormone stream and my comment won't help, but after discovering that my problem is easy to fix, I'm absurdly eager to share. [Smile] < End hijack>

Arrow "Defective Typewriter" Tech IV

Note: Edited in parts because I'm tired and can't write properly.

Posts: 955 | From: Dallas, TX | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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