Thursday, July 04, 2013
A Note to the NC Legislature Regarding MY MENSTRUAL CYCLE
Dear NC House,
I am certain it is my fault, this recent flurry of women's-reproductive-rights-deflating activity. Because I am a woman, and, as you well know, since the Fall of Man, pretty much everything has been my fault.
The lack of jobs? My fault. Had I only had the sense to hand in my riveter and overalls after the boys came home from the war, and returned to vacuuming, which once had given me so much joy, we would not have the job crisis we have today.
The S & L crisis (not SNL, as a friend had to point out to me last week)? I'm sure it's my fault, too, since it seems only women such as Martha Stewart seem to do any time for any questionable Wall Street activity, just as racism is probably my fault, too, since it seems only women such as Paula Deen (not that I defend her but I've seen worse from Donald Trump) seem to suffer any consequences for their ideas while of course men are forgiven because they are, after all, only men.
So, it must be my fault as well that you know so little about my body.
And this I understand. See?
Ever since I got my first period at the age of 12--I'm sorry I haven't told you that before. Yes, 12, while my family was traveling in Europe, also the summer of my first kiss, see how it all goes together? Anyway--ever since I got my first period, I have been very careful to hide it from you.
In accordance with standard grocery store scripture I have gone to the "baby" aisle to buy my "women's" products which are safely hidden from men's view. I have secretly -- oh so secretly -- stood in conversation with people in public, men and women, while my body felt as though a stegasaurus was being pushed through a fallopian tube then coached to claw my uterine lining from its place during monthly cramp time. I have bled in your presence, and you've not known a thing.
Even knowing that women in the Netherlands get three days off work, paid, to accommodate their monthly "visitor," "Aunt Spot," "Visit from Mother Nature," their "MENSES," I have taken perhaps one day off in my entire working career even if I had a hot water bottle curled up in my lap under my blazer and skirt and had to wrap a cardigan around my waist to move around the office because it was one of those, ahem, heavy flow days.
I have used entire tree's worth of toilet paper to wrap and wrap and wrap and wrap . . . and wrap my blood-tinged feminine products to prevent another human being from having to witness the fact that I am a woman, and I bleed, when visiting at friends' or using a public restroom to preserve the illusion that I am not human at all.
My baby was born entirely from an ideological perspective that has nothing to do with my body.
So, I understand exactly why it can seem so permissible to you to draw lines across it, to discuss"it" in strange detail as an "it," and not an "I" or "She," because I have kept you in the dark all these years, preserving all this "feminine mystery" in hopes that at last, if I am obedient enough, if I never speak of my body, you will forget I have one and I will be free to live inside it as myself.
But this contract seems not to be working.
I think this idealogical division between "women's health" and actual "women," is the very result of my acquiescence. As your teacher in grade-through-high school I should not have hidden the fact that I was ovulating from you. I should have laid down the chalk/dry-erase marker/laser pointer, and have placed both hands over my ovaries and applied gentle pressure as the millions of little follicles worked to emit a singular teensy tiny egg.
I should have kept a cot in all the offices where I worked so when I felt thunder in my uterus, I could have simply told you I am having my period today and it fucking hurts when you talk to me.
I should have not pretended to be enjoying dinner on dates with you when I had a 103 degree adhesive heating element stuck to the belly of my granny panties just so I could bear being upright.
I should have worn pads at the beach. Better, I should have let it run down my legs as I emerged all beautiful and bikini'd from the raw ocean which soothed me.
Because you wanted to admire me as a woman, I should have told you the whole truth of being one.
Then all of this wouldn't be such a mystery.
I wouldn't have deprived you of this opportunity to develop empathy for me, your sister-in-species.
You would perhaps then understand that for one week of 12 months a year for 32 years, I have gone through more pain than all your semi-finals-reaching high school football team player buddies combined, each month, and that all this qualifies me quite well to decide what I do and do not want passing through my cervix, whether it be you, blood, or a baby.
So, I hope you will accept my apologies.
I think you needed this body narrative all along. So here it is.
I am having terrible cramps today, and because it is 4th of July I am thankful to have a day of rest, to feel each one of them pound through my pelvis, a sort of reminder that I am a woman keeping time, I am the earth's pulse, and I have the power of giving birth if I choose to do so, and also that I am attuned to the phases of the moon and have the gift of intuition and a lot of other stuff that freaks you out because I also don't talk about all that stuff nearly enough.
As you can see in the photo above, I have purchased, from the secret girl section of the grocery store my "Always" Ultra Thin pads and a great big bottle of Pamprin. The pads soak up the blood, in case you didn't know. The pills help quiet the cramps and lessen bloat. You know about bloat, don't you? It's when you puff up like a balloon and feel you might, at any moment, burst. But don't worry. You only feel like you've gained 20 pounds. Everyone else seems to think I look fine. But thanks for asking.
I will send another report in 28 days.