Periods and Uteri, and Ovaries, OH MY!
I have no energy today. I’ve been riding this wave of anxiety for four days and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. For some reason, when I’m awake my brain keeps replaying scary moments in my life and when I’m asleep (which is for maybe 4 hours a night) I’m dreaming about bad relationship decisions and regrets I have. It’s all very exhausting and lamentably genetic.
So the last thing I want to be doing right now is writing. Writing makes me THINK and I’m so thinkinged out it’s neurotic. Plus, I have this obsession with reading and rereading what I’ve wrote at least five times and fixing parts and moving things around and swapping out words. And so when I think about sitting down to write, it can become this huge, daunting time consuming thing. But then I read Vanessa’s post about Garbage Miles and it really made an impact on me. I think, on days like today, it’s okay to just write whatever I’m thinking about and not worry about perfecting it or tying everything back together at the end of it. Maybe writing just to write is okay.
So I’m going to try not to reread this when I’m done writing it. I’m just going to write it, and leave it and not change anything before I post it.
Okay, so now that I’m done precursing, the main thing I wanted to write about today was periods. Or the female anatomy. Or, more specifically, the parts of the female anatomy that we aren’t “supposed” to talk about.
I hadn’t really realized how ashamed I’d been conditioned to be about my period, until I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I wouldn’t talk about my period if there were guys around (or if I did it was a very hushed mention of “that time of the month”), not out of any kind of respect for them, but out of an ingrained belief that something about having my period was gross and made me unattractive.
I mean, at first thought, having the inner walls of your uterus slough off and bleed out of your vagina every month IS kind of gross. Blood is gross. But I mean, it’s a natural part of EVERY woman’s life. I don’t know why it’s been made into something so, well, gross.
I realized what a big deal it was when I was telling my guy friend about what endometriosis is. To do so, I had to keep repeating the world “uterus” and he flinched every time I said it. I was shocked. So I pointed it out, and he said he was grossed out by words like “uterus” and “ovaries” and I tried to argue that it’s not really different than me talking about my spleen or my liver, but it didn’t really make a difference.
Which got me thinking, and I realized that I always downplay the effects of my period with my boyfriend. I’ve never asked him to buy me tampons. Any time I’ve ever tried to explain WHAT exactly a period is to any guy I’ve dated, they’ve gotten extremely grossed out and made me stop talking.
Since I was diagnosed with endo (that’s the cool shorthand for endometriosis), I’ve had SO many conversations with doctors, surgeons, specialists about my uterus and my period, that I’ve sort of lost the embarrassment factor. I find myself talking about my anatomy like its *gasp* normal. And I notice a LOT of people (mostly men, but not always) getting squirmy or awkward about it.
Something that every woman experiences should not be taboo, yet it is. So I’m making it my mission to break down this “unmentionable” wall that lives around the conversation topic of female anatomy, because I refuse to be ashamed of a part of my body I have no control over.