Violation = Prey

After your first real life shattering violation, you begin to live in a continuum of violence against you and your body.  That first fatal wound is a symbol to every predator, that you are easy prey.  The sins committed against you are your body is your shame to bear, and you wear it no matter how hard you scrub, peel, starve, or pick at your own flesh — there is an invisible spider’s web connecting you to their sin.
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PMS: DIE DIE DIE

pms

It’s true. I get so cranky I piss myself off–about myself.

Two weeks out of the month. Six months out of the year–I suffer from PMDD/PMS symptoms, thanks to Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome.

I use to wake up exactly the week before my period and be catastrophically depressed and suicidal. Eventually, (we’re talking six years of this) I began to see the pattern and was able to rationalize my emotions as being hormone induced. After a while, I stopped obsessing about killing myself.

Sure, at times I still have fleeting death wishes, but it’s immediately ushered out by the realization of the pain it would inflict on those I love, the opportunities I would give up, and of course, what the hell would my dog do? SHE WOULD BE CRUSHED, she might even blame herself. And my mom—my mom would be pretty upset too.

But there is a trade-off–instead of the morose desperate thoughts about killing myself, I am bombarded with vile, cruel thoughts about those around me. I seethe quietly in my classes, silently daring someone to cross me, at my job, even at the park. Internally belligerent that any other human being would dare exist near me. My sense of smell and hearing becomes amplified; but instead of some kind of crime solving super hero. I cringe at crunching sound my friend makes as he enjoys his meal, disgusted by his use of salt and pepper. Once I became irate at the way my mom drank her water and imagined slapping her glass out of her hand. The way my neighbor slams his door each morning, or the way an old man lazily walks down the grocery store isle. GET OUT OF MY WAY—lazy ASSHOLE, I think.

Sometimes, it makes me sad that my hormones can illicit such malevolence within me. That the tenor of someone’s voice might send me through the roof, as I tremble in disgust at them, and sometimes, I laugh (then cry, of course) at myself, and the level of hatred I feel in my heart for all the poor unsuspecting saps around me; just because I am having my period.

I wish that there was a way that life would hold off on dumping its banalities upon me until it’s over—because  God knows, if my freaking co-workers’ Facebook messenger ping’s one more time I might unload…my thoughts. All eight-five irrationally pissed and annoyed thoughts.  But I won’t because I’ve been socialized to hold in my emotions, although I gotta tell you, PMDD has done a lot to even the playing field—for me at least.

So if you see me, and you sense that dismally dark cloud of hormonal dysphoria—if you see the annoyance in my eyes, save yourself, and walk the other fucking way.

 

 

 

The Other[ed] Woman

Today I sweated through my blush-pink blouse over the course of thirty-five minutes. Six of those minutes were spent in a doctor’s office waiting room where I tried to smile at the nurses every time they walked by. It was a desperate smile, maybe even a grimace. The kind that says: PLEASE LIKE ME, which is code for: please help me. The next twenty-nine minutes I sat on a low plastic table, my lower back throbbing like twisted red coils as the nurse took my hard-to-find-pulse, blood pressure,  family history, surgical history, and lists my hospitalizations—too many to fit on the line.

 

This is the part of the new doctor visit where I start getting morose; to offset my embarrassment at my physical ailments I weave self-deprecating jokes throughout my dismal health montage. The nurse, a kind, dark haired woman struggles to keep the pace as I tick off surgery dates and diagnoses.

 

“I’m sorry, can you repeat that?”  she asks.

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I am perfect. LY NoRMaL. ReAlly. fOR REal.

 

“It’s OK, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with all this shit either, um yeah it’s—it’s called I D I O P A T H I C   D I S M O T I L I T Y.”  I worry that I might have implied she is too slow.

 

I mock my body, its glaring imperfections, its offenses, and its flagrant disregard for my own well-being—my inability to trust it. As if to say, hey, I know, this piece of shit is super annoying. Sorry you have to deal with it—sorry you have to see it—sorry I make awkward jokes, sorry I really just want to crawl into a hole—the stakes are high. If they can’t, or are unwilling to take on my challenges then I’ll be left to carry the burden of symptoms, with no rhyme or reason, and then they might conclude I am “making it up,” “overly sensitive,” or “feel too much.” And they won’t think there is something wrong with me, but that something is wrong with me. Sometimes the nurse’s laugh, other times they glaze over as they type in my diagnostic measurements; little numbers that tell everyone how seriously they should take me.

 

I am sure to bring up that I work in a dispatch office in a police station, that I will begin a graduate Teaching Assistantship in the fall—all of these things might give me the credibility I am desperate for. Being believable is everything in the doctor’s office, because it will make my painful revelations of ovarian pain and gastric distress worthy of medical attention, worthy of my doctor’s eye contact, worthy of their time and help.

 

By the time my new doctor comes to see me, the top of my pants are wet with sweat. Gee thanks for bein’ gross, body. Little half-moons of dampness have formed under my breasts. When my doctor lifts my shift to palpitate my areas of pain—I wonder if she notices. I wonder if this when I find out if my new woman doctor will ally with me and my struggles, or shirk off my symptoms with a laugh like so many of their male counterparts have.

 

I suppress the overwhelming urge to tell her everything. To tell her about my last doctor leaving me without medical care—in his absence, a new doctor brandished his power and authority over me, which led to a lawsuit where my suffering is being put on trial. I want to tell her I was betrayed by those who saw me in one of the most desperate times in my life—I was fighting to stay alive, against the obstacles my body put in front of me, and that I needed a doctor to see me as a sister, a friend, an equal. In the past I would try to break down the barrier between my nurses and doctors because I was dying for a while, and I needed to be able to trust that they cared just as much as I did, about staying alive.

 

I don’t expect my doctors to have all the answers; in fact, I find it refreshing when they admit they don’t. All I am asking is that they be a partner with me, that we share my goal, of becoming healthier, in less pain, and an overall better human. Instead I have been deemed: “critical, pushy, demanding, and vocal.” All the things you should be, when your quality of life is at stake, but they don’t see it like that. To them, I was, I am, a number. Another body from which to fill the coffers of their bank accounts.

 

This time I luck out. My doctor is a young woman, I chose her because of her gender and age; maybe one of the few times that will work in her favor in the patriarchal institution she navigates. We don’t end our time together with a hug, or an invite to her son’s 1st birthday party; but she looks me in the eye when I speak, she displays empathy to my struggles, and takes my concerns seriously and is sure to ask me what I think about her plan. She is a human being, and treats me like one too.

Fat A$$: Life With PCOS

In 1993 my mom took me shopping for stirrup pants at the local K-mart. I picked out teal and black. The smooth spandex material was soft and forgiving, and more importantly—it didn’t rub against the incision the doctors had cut rough the middle of my belly button to remove my first ovarian cyst. I was twelve. I remember soaking in the bathtub later that day, staring down at my smooth white skin. My incisions looked like little disappointed red mouths, torn and open as I slowly picked out the white threads of dissolving stitches, much too soon.

They didn’t tell me much when I was twelve about what having Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome meant; except that severe cramps, sporadic and sometimes heavy menstrual bleeding, and cyst removal surgeries were now part of my lexicon. From what I could tell at twelve—the worst part was the severe, sometimes debilitating cramps and intense bouts of depression. At that age, I didn’t realize that my excessive crying jags, compulsions to commit suicide, and massive appetite were all part of it—or what is commonly called, Pre- Menstrual Dysphoria. Soon, I became aware of one of the most common symptoms, weight gain, despite my eating disorder.

Syndrome X is one of the most common side effects of PCOS, it basically means my body produces insulin but my cells are resistant to absorbing it.  Instead of processing  food for energy—most of it goes straight to my ass, or in my case, my “glug” as I have named it—otherwise known as lower abdomen fat. One way of addressing PCOS obesity is through taking Metformin, which is typically prescribed for those suffering from Type 2 Diabetes—the problem? It makes you have diarrhea, something I already battle every day, sometimes twenty to twenty-five times a day. Other side effects of PCOS can include female pattern baldness, cystic acne, and excessive (male pattern) hair growth, and infertility.

As I understand it, instead of my body releasing my unfertilized eggs each month they collect around on ovaries. Sometimes they dissolve and other times these tiny little eggs feel like spiked balls, languishing in my insides. The presence of one of these eggs can cause weight gain due to the release of hormones, along with bloating, intense bouts of depression and rage, cramps and general abdominal discomfort. Sometimes I think my body will always be spiraling out of control, and me spinning along with it. Bones aching, premenstrual insomnia, joint pain, weight gain, extreme grouchiness, and waves of rage–and that damn puff of fat that is nestled against, me. Clinging to me, begging me to give it the one thing I deny it; understanding.