Just like I had done before, I skipped the sugar pills in the birth control pack to avoid having a period. I punished you; I shamed you. Instead of seeing my time of the month as sacred and beautiful, or, at the very least, completely normal, I just skipped it all together. I never allowed you to learn your cycles or find your rhythms. It was easier that way.
I am fertile with contradictions, beset by exhaustion, love, worry and joy in a mud pie that can taste terrible. I’m touching deeper grief and sadness than anything I’ve experienced before. Every relationship is changing—with my parents, my career, my body, my husband. Even my relationship with time and space is changing, fundamental understandings of the world around me that gave me a sense of ease.
Fighting is eating in the middle of night. It’s crying as my hair continues to fall out, despite the nourishment I’m finally giving myself. It’s living in a gassy, bloated, and constipated body as my digestive system repairs itself. It is forcing myself out the door to have coffee with a friend, when all I want to do is hide under my comforter. It’s facing the fact that I have to grow up, that I can’t stay a child forever. It’s smiling when the doctor congratulates me on my weight gain, only to leave his office in tears, mentally formulating my relapse.
I used to ask my mom if she wished I looked like her. I wondered if there was a certain connection she’d hoped to have—the sensation of seeing her own eyes reflected back at her in a younger version of herself. Was there a different kind of bond formed by teaching your daughter how to become a woman in a body that resembled the one you, yourself, had grown into?
To me, thick was an exception in my internal dialogue. It was the linking for in “you’re pretty for a fat girl.” The if in “you’d be pretty if you had smaller thighs.” The when in “you’ll look beautiful when your stomach shrinks.”
It was the link between everything wrong about me and the potential for everything good.
I know what I really want to ask her, but I know she doesn’t have the answer. I want to say: I don’t think I’m supposed to be here. I’ve lived a healthy life. I’ve followed all the rules. Why am I being tested for Multiple Sclerosis?
My body tightened. I was exhausted. We’d wasted all his sperm over the past week. Why didn’t I wait for the stick to say I was ovulating? My mucus told me I was fertile four days ago. My body doesn’t work.
“Babe, we need to have sex,” I called from the bathroom.
Hunched over the toilet, I rock back and forth in excruciating pain. I use the contraction timer I have at births. My contractions are two minutes apart, hard and fast, and they last around one minute each. I am sweaty and naked in the pitch black, silently crying between breaths.
I was so far removed from blackness that I couldn’t recognize it on myself and when I saw it on others, I really didn’t know what to make of it. My peers told me I wasn’t really black; I “didn’t count.” And the more they told me I didn’t “count” as black, the more I began to believe them.
“Am I the reason you doubt yourself and your beauty?” my mom asked.
It was a heavy question, but I knew the answer without hesitation. Yes.
Tapping into our cycles can mean a competitive advantage in our careers, productivity, decision-making, and time management skills.
Looking at you, all of you, makes me want to hide.
My distain for you has grown with each passing year, and I’m tired.
I’m tired of feeling less than because of something as simple as texture.
I have never before in my life been as critical of my body as I have been in the last few months. I have become consumed with the way my clothes no longer feel comfortable or fit. Consumed with plans to work out that always seem to fall through.
I was 11 years old the first time I noticed my thighs. I fixated on their size, the way they squished together when I walked. I loathed them.
The moon and the woman’s cycle reflect one another, a powerful reminder than feminine energy is cyclical rather than linear…
The honest truth is, I knew I was going to get the abortion. Maybe that’s what made it so hard for me. Did I ever give the baby a chance? Was it selfish of me?
When I was 14 I became a right leg amputee and my body became objectified in a whole new way. All of a sudden my entire identity became my leg, my prosthetic, my disability. I was the “chick in the wheelchair” or “the girl with one leg.” …
It was the first time that I had realized that what happened wasn’t okay. It was the first time I said the word, rape.