There are about 1800 words beyond this point. It will take the average adult reader about six minutes to read. It also includes some pretty great conversation with some other womenfolk.
I’ve had a uterus for 31 years now. It was fine for the first thirteen years of my life. Then, the first week of my eighth grade year—while my mother was out of town—all hell broke loose. Since then, hell has broken loose approximately 197 times.
Dear beloved male readers of this blog, shit’s about to get real. Please stay. Just be awkward and uncomfortable with me (us) for a bit.
I’ve actually wanted to write this blog since before I started running Shitty Women—largely because I was fed up with feeling like shit for five days a month, but being socially required to suck it up, and get shit done. Even when it feels like satan is spawning within my lower abdomen and wrapping his python-like tendrils around the lumbar region of my spinal cord and squeezing while maniacally laughing and pterodactyl-screeching at me, “YOU SHOULD HAVE CONCEEEEEEEIVED!!” and taking napalm and a blowtorch to my hip adductors—I still have to get shit done.
In relative silence.
There is an expectation for women, that even when we’re in pain that makes us want to double over, with hormones that make us want to cry until we fall asleep, we keep going. We have to. We’d lose our jobs if we took five days a month off. And god forbid that when we fail to save face and it becomes apparent that we don’t feel well, and someone inquires regarding our current state, we just said, “Cramps.” and move on without it getting awkward or someone saying, “TMI”. Naw, dude. That’s not too much information—anything else is probably actually too little information. I, personally, think it would be extraordinarily helpful if I could say things like, “I don’t want to hike up the side of a mountain because intense cramps are going down my thighs to my knees—let’s do something that doesn’t involve a half mile of switchbacks.” or “Hey, I’m hormonal right now. While most of the time I’d laugh at these jokes you’re making at my expense, if you keep making them right now, I’m going to get grumpy and probably going to cry later because of them.” Honestly, I’d just like to be able to be… honest.
I want to be able to be honest when I need to find a bathroom pronto because shit’s about to get ugly.
I want to be able to be honest about the fact that I am in possession of feminine products, and/or using them and/or needing to use them. Here’s a list of places I’ve stashed a tampon to smuggle it to the bathroom: my sleeve, my sock, my boot, the bottom of my legging, my bra, my armpit. Like—do people really fucking care—is it that awkward—that I have a tampon in my hand on my way from my desk to the bathroom? Is it that terrifying that someone might know that a completely natural process—that happens every fucking month—is happening?
I was never quite sure how to write this blog. I didn’t want it to be only about my uterus, or a diatribe of my personal period feelings—so I chatted with some womenfolk about it, and it occurred to me that I need to include other women’s words in this. So I started a chat thread with a handful of womenfolk with a variety of uterine experiences who I love dearly and I knew would be willing to have a candid and honest conversation. It’s nearly always humorous talking to other women about their “lady problems”—but this chat was particularly eye-opening for me. It contains things that I, a single woman who’s never been in any sort of a sexual relationship, has never thought about—and contains things I’ve spent a lot of times thinking about—and resonates with some of my own fears.
I sent a message to this group inviting the womenfolk to share their thoughts that they’d like to have an open discussion about. The working title of the blog at the time was “Fuck U-terus”. I’m just going to share (most of) the message thread with you (with identifiers redacted)—and yes, it gets pretty graphic—so hold onto your butts.
For the sake of transparency, and since I’m calling for more honesty in this arena… I’m gonna leave the “me” parts as “me”. Which—actually feels really uncomfortable—but I’m pretty sure it only feels that way because I’ve been taught I shouldn’t talk about this shit.
Without further adieu…
A: My first thought is “damn you eve!”
B: Does it have to be cramps? I’d like to discuss how disgusting being on your period is.
Me: All things period are open season.
C: I think for this particular post release you should temporarily change the name to the UK translation: bloody women. Also, it’s punny.
B: [C] FTW
Me: Maybe that’ll just be the blog title…
C: The BLOG, not the blog post.
Me: Maaaaan. That shit fucks with indexing, [C]!
C: Ok, but for real, I often say, “my ovaries are crying.” and also often ask my lady parts, “What’s wrong with you? This is only supposed to happen to people who can actually make a baby.”
A: I like to say it feels like my womb is stuck in a meat grinder, but today (clearly this wants a very timely discussion) I yelled “happy not pregnant day!” I also feel like I am being sabotaged by my own body. I know it’s not a quote but these are my feelings.
D: I’m just seeing this!!! sorry! oooohhh I’ve got some thoughts. Most of the time I think of how cruel it is that PMS and pregnancy symptoms are the same. Everyones getting pregnant and I’m just over here growing ovarian cysts and a mustache. Or how lame it is when you think your period is over, put on your “nice” underwear and then your body says, “Fuck it, lets ruin those underwear” THIS IS WHY WE CANT HAVE NICE THINGS. Awwww cute, I woke up in a pool of my own blood!
E: I think my paranoia around my period in general comes to my mind more than the actual symptoms. My mom had really bad endometriosis, but also none of the usual signs for it. Since I’m not at a point in my life where I can figure out if I actually CAN get pregnant, I’m just stuck being worried about any slight change in the norm. Everything else in your body tells you when something is wrong, but the frickin uterus just waits until it’s already tortured you for years and THEN lets you know if it’s been worth it. Also, yes to the surprise period encore.
B: I use the Diva cup yes because it saves money, yes because it’s not toxic for your body like tampons can be, but mostly because the prostaglandins give me diarrhea during my period and when I wore tampons I had to take my tampon out before I pooped. There is nothing grosser to me than a tampon string with shit on it. The Diva makes it so your poop and period don’t do a disgusting dance together. Also, when I’m on my period I feel like everyone can smell it. When someone’s dog approaches me I’m always horrified when they go right for my crotch.
D: HAHAHAHA!! [B]! Get me a diva cup for Christmas please!!
F: Haha oh man, I’m loving this thread. A lot of what I feel has already been said, which rules! When [friend] and I lived together and our cycles matched up we felt such a badass lady bond. A poem I read said, “Women have vaginas that can speak to each other and by this I mean, when we’re with our friends, our sisters, our mothers, our menstrual cycles will actually sync the fuck up. My own cervix is mad influential, everybody I love knows how to bleed with me.” So at least we have that! I need to think about it more, but the normal response is “Wait, I just did this.” Or “I didn’t like those underwear anyway.” Or, “Get your shit together, you’ve been doing this for 15 years and just bled through another pair of jeans.” Or I cry when people hug me either because my emotions are heightened or it feels like Edward Scissorhands is grabbing my boobs. And I love the diva cup unless I didn’t put in right and then I’m like “HEY [HUSBAND] CAN YOU COME GET ME”
A: I lived in a sorority with 100 women at one point. It was like a blood bath. Pun intended.
D: HAHAHAHAHAHA I’m dying.
Me: I do love you guys so much. So much yes to all of this. I’m on the Diva Cup train for similar reasons, [B]. Also, it helps my vagina feel like it’s not the Sahara. I, too, fear that because of all my countless health issues, all of these years of destroying underpants and wanting to curl up in a ball and curse the universe for four days each month, will be useless… and continue to be useless!
C: This is thread is an enjoyable read. Agree with everything. +1 to the diva cup. I shall never return to tampons. +1 to the poop string. The only thing worse than the string is when it’s a fresh tampon and you have to pull it out dry… Also +1 to the dirty panties. I can’t count the number of times that I thought “I can get away with keeping these. It’s not that big of a spot. No one sees my underwear anyway.” Only to shortly thereafter be asked by my husband, “What’s that brown spot…?” Also can we talk about the surprise flow you discover started when you were having intercourse. OMG the horror on the man’s face.
Me: That… has… never… happened… to… me.
E: I feel like I’m learning so much.
B: Before [Husband] and I moved in together I explained to him that he would see a lot of brown stains in my underwear and it isn’t poop.
A: Bahahaha! I have a hot water bottle I use for comfort in my time of great affliction. I make [Husband] fill it for me. He calls it my “Menzies bag”
For the record, this is pretty standard lady-talk in regards to uteruses and their activities. And with that, I’ll walk away from this blog—and invite you to continue the conversation in your personal lives, in the comments on this blog, on Facebook, and feel free to tweet with me about it.