I am a woman. What makes me a woman is something that makes everyone uncomfortable - even me because I was raised by a mother too embarrassed to talk about being a woman and a father who hates women. But, since it seems that there is a rather large group of people in this nation, most recently demonstrated in Arizona, who are determined to force women to share their reproductive health issues with their employers and the government, I have decided that I am not going to be afraid to be a woman anymore. I am not going to be afraid to talk about being a woman anymore.
Since everyone wants to tell me what to do with my own body and govern it in the greatest detail, I'm going to tell everyone how my body governs me. My period starts the first or second day of each full moon. I do not take hormonal birth control because my body cannot handle it, so my period is governed by the moon, which is a very natural thing. In some cultures, a woman's period is called her moon cycle. Before my period starts, I usually endure two weeks of Pre-Menstral Syndrome, which involves fatigue, slight abdominal swelling, dehydration, loss of concentration, increased metabolism, some blemishes, sleeplessness, and a general desire to maime people. Often times, a couple of days before my period begins, my vulva will feel swollen and I will experience shooting, piercing cramps in my vulva and clitoris. My breasts become tender and swollen. As of late, my feet have begun to swell. I generally have to use panty liners during this time as the discharge occurring due to ovulation is quite heavy.
During my period, I cannot always use tampons as they are uncomfortable and once, I endured toxic shock syndrome. So, more times than not, I have to use pads. I would like to share with you that there is no other sensation comparable to standing up and feeling a massive amount of hot fluid fall out from between your legs and praying to God that it hasn't gone through to your clothing. Also, there are the cramps that make me feel nauseated, feverish, have headaches, and wish I were dead. These are usually diminished, but not completely relieved, by taking prescription strength pain relievers. Imagine sitting in a meeting at work and having these cramps hit you, your breath knocked out of you, but you can't show it. And, you're afraid to stand up because of what might fall out of you.
Now, add to this the societal shame of being a woman and enduring such physical discomfort, all the while being expected to fulfill the role of sexually desirable, compliant woman. The disgusted look on your boyfriend's face when you tell him why you don't want to or can't have sex, having to ask the pharmacist for the female condom that's hidden behind the counter, the reaction of the male clerk at the pharmacy when you set down the pads, tampons, and panty liners in front of him, discussing these things with your gynecologist, the person you see once a year who might as well be the preson sitting at the bus stop next to you as he or she is pretty much a complete stranger aren't very encouraging.
Imagine you now have to share all of this information with your employer. Imagine now, that the government tells you that you must endure a vaginal ultrasound, an external ultrasound, or that you cannot obtain hormonal therapies that are effective in treating these ailments for many women. Imagine that your body is being governed by mythology and there are women who support the male agenda of ruling your body when it's trying enough to live in as it is.
My body betrays me every month and sends me through painful ordeals so harrowing that I dare say very few men could endure it even once as I have for over two decades. I don't need women betraying me and selling out to the control fiends. I don't need men to tell me that their God mandates that an ultrasound wand be inserted into my vagina or that their God dictates that I must tell my boss why I want access to a medical contraceptive. What I do need is respect, dignity, an acknowledgement of my private physical and emotional self. I am being robbed of this every day in a country that tells other nations they are inhumane in their treatment of their citizens and that they should be more like - exactly like - the United States of America that supports autonomy, liberty of the individual, and a right to live life as each citizen feels is best for him or her.
I have been betrayed by women who support this agenda and have allowed this to happen and by the men who are all too willingly oblivious to my existence as a woman. There is a reason, a method to all of this madness, and don't think for a second that these religious do-gooders who hold political office and lobby politicians are done. This is only the beginning of their tirade and there is no doubt in my mind that if the Republicans take the White House, it will continue at the Federal level. I do not endure the pain that I do every month to be robbed of my rights to my own bodily organs and I will not be ashamed of telling everyone why I should be left alone. If these people think they have the God-given authority to legislate what will or will not be done to my body and want to know all about my physical and sexual well-being, then they'd better be ready for the details because I am more than ready to fill them in.