Dear Younger Self,
I know you and your friends think that fainting is very romantic. It’s one of your dearest dreams to experience this staple of all your imaginary heroines. (Who are these heroines, anyway? I can’t remember any. But this explanation is the only once that makes sense to my current self.) Let me clue you in, honey: fainting ain’t fun. You don’t believe me? Let me assure you, you do have this experience several times in the near future. And it’s not all as romantic as you envisioned.
All right, the first time you come close to fainting will be a little romantic. It even involves a guy.
You’ll be visiting family and your boyfriend will come along. You will randomly contract some stomach malady that renders you unable to eat. Then you will awaken that night with a fever so high your whole body will shake uncontrollably. At this point you will be laughing, teeth chattering, because you will recognize that this is something you would have thought romantic a few years back.
It gets better. Your distraught family will drag you to the ER, boyfriend in tow. You may slide in and out of consciousness in the car, but that’s not really the romantic part. At the ER, the doctors and nurses will be unable to find anything wrong with you. They do, however, mistake your boyfriend for your father (also not so romantic).
The romantic part happens on the way home. There’s little wrong with you now, but your boyfriend puts his arm tightly around you in the car and, far from fainting, you are now decidedly awake. You even toy with the idea of feigning another episode so that he has to carry you as he walks you back to your room. But no, he’s too good for that.
Besides, don’t worry! He gets to help you through a few more fainting spells. Although, they are slightly less and less like the fainting fantasies of your childhood.
A few years later, your boyfriend is now your husband. You are about to receive a progesterone injection to prevent preterm delivery of your second child. In goes the needle, out goes your consciousness. Thankfully the nurse has the presence of mind to whip out the needle and catch your pregnant self before you hit the ground.
Yet again, this loss of consciousness isn’t too bad; you even have Anberlin playing as your soundtrack while you are out of it, and will remember seeing some unusual colors before waking up. No harm done.
Dear younger self, I’m sorry if this letter is getting long. Hang in there. The next episodes will leave you ruing the day your curiosity of fainting ever existed.
I’ll spare you some details of the last few episodes. Suffice it to say, due to a sudden dramatic occurrence, you will experience extreme nausea and sweating before passing out. Waking up will feel like trying to crawl out of a black hole; nausea and sweatiness persist. Here’s where you curse the day you ever wished to pass out. You will be dramatically rushed by ambulance to the ER, where your husband will meet you; by then you will be feeling much better and will appreciate the oddity of the situation.
Hours later, your husband will be driving you home, his arm around you. Oh, you actually get to pass out with him around this time! Once again you will feel the dreaded nausea and sweatiness descend. You will warn your husband of the impending doom.
He will think you are joking. He will crack a joke about reviving you with a kiss. At this point you sort of get him back with your glassy-eyed, vacant stare and your ghostly white face.
Ah, here’s the part you have waited years for: he carries you inside your home. Never mind that you are demanding him to slow down because your insides are about to be out, or that your fatigue and nausea are the only things keeping you from yelling at him; you’ve finally had the romantic fainting experience of your dreams! Dear younger self, aren’t you happy?
Well, you should be. You will come to learn through this experience, and many others, that real life is often quite different then your imagination or the stories you have read. Life is grittier, more painful, full of unexpected surprises. And yet, in many ways, stories sort of foreshadow much in your life. I mean, fainting turns out to be quite the unexpected adventure after all, doesn’t it? A story in and of itself that you’ll enjoy retelling one day.
And don’t forget this, younger self: your man turns out to be quite the knight in shining armor after all… even if his jokes are sometimes poorly timed. 🙂
Your older, wiser self.