Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sample Art

So I made a Dear Uterus comic strip today. But my scanner is no good. I will replace it with a better one later on, but for now here it is:
And this is what it says:

"I imagined my Uterus clawing its way out and running down the hallway as I'm eating my cereal at the kitchen sink. So happy and naked, making tracks on the hardwood floors. Throwing open the front door, breathing in the morning air, looking back at me, grinning: "Au Revoir, you repressive whore, I'm gone!" It walks down the driveway with its iPod, fully intent on hitch hiking to San Francisco, the little hippie. Probably figuring it could make its way to Hape Street to smoke weed and never work again. However, because it's Georgia, it gets hot outside and the Uterus dries up on the pavement like an unlucky little worm."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dear Uterus:

It is pretty obvious that you are ovulating right now. I think we've had most of the signals: squishy, tender abdomen and boobs, wildly imaginative writing/brainstorming, The Sexy Feeling (ugh, we all hate the Sexy Feeling, especially when there is no sex to be had. It's like your desperate attempt to get that ovum fertilized), the need for wine drinking-today we'll blame that on you...-, jitters not obtained by excessive coffee consumption, the candy-wanting...there's a whole lot more.

Your biological warfare is not going to work. Prepare as you wish, but this body is not planting any human crops at this point in time.


The Brain
CEO-The Body
Manager of Emotions

My Hypophysis:

 Interesting stuff here. A Disney cartoon telling young girls what to expect when they grow up and hit puberty. I guess I can't get mad at that, but I really didn't expect that from an entertainment company who tells young girls it is okay to get married at 16 (*coughLittleMermaidcough*), or let some dude find you and end your horrible suffering, or sugar coat the hardships of single parent households...don't get me wrong though, I love Disney films for real. And I love how they explain how puberty happens and how the pituitary gland is actually at fault here. And how to expect to be emotional and irritable. I especially like the part where they say not to overexert yourself, but the little housewife, who is vacuuming and picking up sofas like it is no big deal (doing her "daily routine"), is totally fine. It is all true, really. It is just more fun watching it in a cartoon. Disney tends to take the edge off of things like raging hormones, broken homes, death and uterine turmoil. Animated, these things seem fun and exciting...

Speaking of fun and exciting, I also have a letter and an essay that I have cut short because I am not finished with the whole thing. I posted the Disney cartoon because it really did remind me of this particular letter and this particular essay (that also will include a saucy Dear Penis letter that I am not sharing yet because it is not up to par lol). Because I am not a doctor, a Bioidentical Hormone Expert, a gynecologist, or a brain surgeon, there are proooobably some indiscretions that I did not consider while writing on this topic. Which is why research is so important and why I am open to any essays, texts, articles, etc. that anyone may have on the topic.

Dear Uterus,

I think our working relationship is strained. Sometimes I totally disregard what actually makes you who you are. Perhaps I’ve been a little harsh on you. Why would you blindly accept the fact that I am pumping you full of hormones all the time? If you were doing that to me, I don’t think I would take it. That said, I’m going to need to pump you full of more hormones so that The Body can ovulate faster. You may experience a change that may trigger extra emotions. Expect extreme hunger pangs, thirst, fatigue and horniness. Just thought you should know in advance. Quality control and all.

The Brain
C.E.O.-The Body
Manager of Emotions

    Despite everything I say and everything I write, I love my uterus with a passion that most people don’t understand. What is love, anyway, without some heated passion and unnecessary pain? Add a complete lack of common sense and denial and you have the human psyche. There is a period of time, about a week or two before my cycle starts, where I actually look forward to my God given gift to constantly bleed for approximately one hundred and twenty hours. I don’t know what it is and I never questioned it, but it is an overall good mood. I usually feel grateful for everything, even if most things are going wrong. I have cramps but I let it happen sans pain relief because it feels inexplicably good. It’s a very sexy feeling, actually. I don’t know, maybe I’m ovulating or something, because I get more male attention during these three hours as well. Externally, others usually can’t tell if you’re ovulating. However, in theory, some say that women appear more attractive, smell better, have more appealing voices, etc. Who knows; I’m no scientist, but whatever works.
    If I am ovulating, I think that would make the most sense though. If this is the case, then I am technically aiming my inevitable anger at the wrong body part. You see, my hypothalamus gland is most likely the culprit here. The hypothalamus is the gland that links the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland aka the hypophysis. The region of the brain with the hypothalamus, thalamus, pituitary gland and whatnot lives in the major portion of the ventral diencephalon. Basically, the hypothalamus is a big kahuna in Brainland. It controls the body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, anger and the circadian rhythm, also known as the internal clock. If you can imagine, being a woman, this is a very touchy area as far as I’m concerned.
    ANYWAYS, imagine the scenario after my three hours of reproductive bliss. After my pre-ovulatory, or follicular, phase is over my ovarian follicles change their tune. My hypothalamus is now releasing a cocktail of luteinizing hormones (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH), thus attempting to trigger ovulation. This begins a cumulus expansion, stimulated by the FSH, which forms a hole or a “stigma” in the follicle so that our friend the ovum can slide on through. The ovum is now on its way through the fallopian tubes towards the uterus on a quest to get fertilized and cause babies to grow inside of the waiting uterus. Or whatever.
    Meanwhile, what are all of these follicle-stimulating hormones and luteinizing hormones that my hypothalamus is recklessly skeeting out doing to me physically and emotionally? Well, since Sister Hypothalamus controls my temperature, my hunger, my attitude and my internal clock (and probably some other stuff I know nothing about), I’m pretty sure that by now, I’m a hot ass mess. About this time is when I completely let go of anything resembling restraint. I am usually between sobbing and screaming. In between all of this, I fantasize about grabbing the next man I see to vigorously make babies. Vigorously in an uncoordinated fashion. And there is no way I could be remotely attractive now. Since then, I had gained water, obtained gas somehow, and acquired the attitude of a manic depressive hyena.

Monday, August 15, 2011

La Frigidaire: L’Estomac vs. La Utérus

Dear Uterus,
You may have kept me in bed today until 2 p.m., you may have given me terrible cramps, you may have made me miss my coffee, you may be an unpleasant little bitch, but you can't stop me from having a blast! So why don't you just go screw yourself and stop being such a dick. I'm starting a petition against you. 

The Brain

C.E.O. The Body
Manager of Emotions

It is amazing how two factors can totally determine how positive or negative my day will be: My Stomach and my Uterus. My day must always begin with a cup of good coffee and often times, something small but good to eat. When I say coffee, I’m not talking about pre-ground coffee that you can get at the grocery store. I’m talking about that whole bean goodness that I freshly grind with spices and happiness and blend with cream to create a beautiful concoction of well-being and wakefulness. If I don’t have that, or at least a good generic copy, my entire days are messed up because it’s my stomach that at least needs to be satisfied with a cup of coffee. I realize my addiction and I own it.
The uterus will often try to undo all of the well-being that I created with my morning java. If my day begins with an ornery reproductive vessel, then the rest of the day has potential to be miserable to say the least. The day can be especially miserable if the uterus is toying with the desires of an irritable tummy.
You see, the stomach apparently shares the power to run or ruin my life with the uterus. The stomach is not as strong, at least in my case, as the uterus and its control over the body.  The uterus, however, can sometimes be overruled by the opinion of its opponent. Hunger pangs are comparable to menstrual cramps. They debilitate you; my hunger has a way of steering my opinions, moods and actions. Unlike the uterus, the stomach can be satiated easily by putting something into it (save your dirty minds…now the vagina and the stomach, on the other hand, have that in common too, but this isn’t about that right now). Because of that tiny factor, my stomach wins periodically in the struggle for control over my life. There was one instance, during my Uterine Enlightenment, when I was made painfully aware of the power struggle between my stomach and my uterus. Here is the back story:
One of my friends in Toulouse, Jess, got into a situation where she had to move. She is American as well, from the same southern town as I am, a very Baptist county in Georgia. Jess had, for some reason, moved into a building that was devoutly Catholic, and one which was also devoutly ripping her off for a one room living space in a place called Foyer Saint Michel. This holy heist was costing over four hundred Euros a month, a price that is well above the budget of a teaching assistant in France. Being that she was neither Catholic nor super religious, she found herself constantly annoyed (and broke) at the hands of the nuns. Jess and I had to figure out a scheme to move her from that Catholic dormitory in which she had been living for about four months, into a real apartment across town that cost a little over half of what she was paying the nuns. Afterwards, we were going to buy cheap wine and whiskey to celebrate that night, committing various sins out on the town. It was a scheme that was sure to work.
Jess explained that aside from the price of the place, she just couldn’t take living there anymore with the strict, tight-lipped sneaker-wearing nuns. They rode bicycles in straight lines, talked about cheese, preached the Catholic faith and dictated every move that the girls made. I was secretly amused by the nuns and their collective dictatorship that they had over the girls who lived there. They interpreted most moves as a sign of severe naught, and looked down on girls who did so.  To add to my excuses for attempting to get one over on the spouses of God, they also tried to get an additional four hundred Euro charge out of girls who moved earlier than their contract stated.
I digress. On a Saturday morning, I was supposed to get up early to sneak Jess and all of her things out of the foyer. We had talked about it the night before, schemed if you will, and it all seemed to make sense. I would get up, send her a text message when I got to her place, tip-toe her belongings into the car of one of our French accomplices and speed away on the narrow streets as the nuns slept in their chambers. Unfortunately, my Uterus decided to side with the nuns that day. 
I rolled around in bed, trying to get up, almost like usual. Only there was one difference: I was caught in a purgatory between my uterus and my stomach. I hadn’t eaten a big dinner the night before and I was starving! My stomach growled and when I tried to leave the bed, my uterus ground into my abdomen, and I sank back into the blankets, defeated. I stared, glassy eyed, at the ibuprofen sitting just out of arms reach on the far end of my night stand. What was worse was that I had just gone to the super marché the day before, and I had a refrigerator full of desirable food. I had found bacon at the Lidel, which was the cheapest grocery store in town. I had been hard pressed to find bacon, and I was incredibly excited when I found it among the other poitrines and cubed off-meats. Along with the bacon, I bought some fromage blanc. Let me go off on a tangent and tell you about fromage blanc. It is essentially a yogurt-like white cheese that I enjoy with strawberry or apricot jam. When I ate some, it was like an explosion of soft, cheesy, creamy goodness that I am hard pressed to find in the States. Anyways, I had just bought my favorite café Arab as well, which was a strong and smooth coffee with no bitter after taste. To top it all off, I had a jar of chocolaty Nutella and a fresh, crispy baguette-there is nothing like a fresh French baguette. All of that was in my kitchen, and I was in bed struggling to get to my beloved bacon, coffee and cheese. I had an internal dialogue and this is what happened: 
(Anisa lies in bed, twisting and turning in pain. The Uterus enters from stage left, creeping low, bent towards the ground, fallopian tubes bared like a cougar’s claws)
Stay in bed or I'll hurt you, and you know how that is.
(Anisa balls herself up in bed and groans. Enter the Brain, stage right. The Brain gives the Uterus a dirty once over, fallopian tubes to cervix, then speaks in a commanding voice).
Get up, you have to help Jess move in two hours and 45 minutes.
(Anisa attempts to sit up, begrudgingly. Enter the Stomach, stage right. It grumbles and holds its sides, speaking in a pleading voice).
There's bacon and coffee and fromage blanc with apricot jam in the kitchen...why the hell are you still in bed!?
(Anisa shows some interest by dangling her legs off of the side of the bed. The Uterus taps its foot and utters ominously).
 I'm warning you. Be smart...you know what I can do to you...
(Anisa cautiously pulls her knees to her chest. The Brain rolls its eyes and puts its stem on its hip dramatically).
You can't break your promise to Jess...
(The Stomach nods in agreement and takes two steps closer to Anisa)
Bacon. Coffee. Creamy fresh white cheese with jam...only a few feet away.
(The Uterus looks from Anisa to the Stomach to the Brain, panicked)
(The Brain and the Stomach dance in circles around Anisa’s bed)
Bacon…Coffee…White Cheese…
(The Uterus is at a loss for words)
(Anisa struggles and fights her way out of the bed sheets)
 I'M UP!
(The Brain and the Stomach give each other a high five)
(The Uterus skulks away, defeated, stage right)
My stomach won that battle, with a little help of my common sense. I sloughed to the kitchen, victorious, and had my fare, happily and weary: crispy bacon, creamy grits that my mother sent for me in a care package, café Arab, fromag blanc with apricot jam, and a baguette spread with Nutella. Victory! After breakfast at 6:30am, I made my way down to Foyer Saint Michel to get to work.
  I ended up not helping Jess that morning anyways, because the nuns were still skulking about in the building. Of course nuns of all people would be up at the ass-crack of dawn to worship at the chapel or terrorize the girls or whatever nuns do at seven o’clock in the morning. Jess ended up sneaking out of the foyer Catholique later on that day, Mission Impossible style, and moving her way across town to the nice nun-free apartment. 
That night, I ignored my need to stop functioning. There was no reason why we shouldn’t have celebrated the liberation of Jess, and I was not going to let a little thing like my uterus or my stomach stop me. After having drinks at the new place, we went with our accomplices to Place Saint Pierre, the popular district to hang out for students in Toulouse. In this district, on the Garonne River, there are bars, clubs, lounges, cafés and restaurants that everyone hops to from Thursday to Sunday every weekend. We ended up at The Gate that night, an international club that has cheap drinks and cute boys. My Uterus lost that day, and instead of staying in bed with my covers up to my nose, I danced until 3:00am. We stopped at a Moroccan kebab stand at 3:30am at the request of my stomach, who was certainly victorious. The nuns would have prayed for the redemption of our souls that night, had they cycled passed us in their Nikes, I thought, as we ate mystery meat kebabs, pomme frites and sipped thé du menthe.
(Exit Anisa, stage left)

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Dear Uterus:
Seriously, what's going on? You're wacky and I think you need therapy. I think I need therapy because I have to deal with all the paperwork. I mean, I know I'm hard on you, I know I said lay off all the really crazy emotional stuff, I know I said take it easy on the other body parts, but did you go into a coma and then all the sudden surprise everyone by waking up the next week all...weird? I mean when you say, "No really, I'm fine..." is that a passive-aggressive way of saying, "Tomorrow I’m going to mess you up!"? Give me a little warning about these things.
I mean, thanks for the weeks without having obvious signs of evil intentions (like the cramps, back aches, bloating, weird appetite, etc...), but leave a sticky note or a memo...something. 
The Brain
C.E.O The Body

Manager of Emotions
 P.S. Whore-Bag

Although the uterus isn’t the most delightful bodily organ to deal with, what would we do without it? It has the personality type that continually irritates us, but we worry when we don’t hear anything from it. What could be wrong if the Uterus is too quiet? If it doesn’t call for a painful conversation every now and again, is it sick? To be so abominable, we sure go through a lot of trouble to make sure that it is okay.
I didn’t hear from my Uterus for three months once. Three months with no word; no e-mails, no painful phone conversations, no cravings, nothing. This was when I was in college. I was stressing out from trying to make decent grades and working three jobs: a resident advisor, a waitress, and working for free, doing an apprenticeship that entailed making a load of designs at some tattoo shop in town. I suppose the Uterus didn’t like that, because it disappeared from my life completely. At first, it was no big deal. Who wouldn’t want a vacation from such a pain in the ass? After a while, though, I began to worry and envision various complications that could be the result of a missing Uterus, the number one on my list being cancer. After a nervous breakdown in the middle of my 4120 Literature course, I thought maybe I should at least look toward my Uterus to fix things and make sure that I hadn’t become a simple robot. I went to a local OB/GYN, an old man with long, crotchety fingers like Slim Jims, but he told me it was just stress and that my Uterus was, in so many words, sleeping. Well, I thought that was just stupid! 
“What did some old man know about my Uterus, anyways,” I would think to myself, arrogantly, as I walked to one job or another. I quit my waitress job anyway to relieve myself of stress.
But the Uterus did not return. A month passed and I began musing about what may have happened to it. What if it really wasn’t there? What if it escaped? I imagined my Uterus clawing its way out and running down the hallway as I'm eating my cereal at the kitchen sink. So happy and naked, making tracks on the hardwood floors. Throwing open the front door, breathing in the morning air, looking back at me, grinning: "Au Revoir, you repressive whore, I'm gone!" It walks down the driveway with its iPod, fully intent on hitch hiking to San Francisco, the little hippie. Probably figuring it could make its way to Hape Street to smoke weed and never work again. However, because it's Georgia, it gets hot outside and the Uterus dries up on the pavement like an unlucky little worm. Serves it right for trying to escape! But if that happened, where would that leave me? Uterusless and alone feeling like my femininity left the building.
This experience strongly relates to the Greek and Egyptian theories of the Wandering Uterus. Apparently, before modern medicine was, well, modern, ancient physicians and gynecologists like Hippocrates believed that the uterus could just up and walk away to another part of the body. So if it was angry at, say, not procreating or not receiving sexual pleasure, it would move to other parts of the body, making women sick and causing hysteria-a disease characterized by a cramping pelvis, fevered desires, hunger and excessively sexual behavior (this sounds like a normal thing that most women go through as a part of living in general). If the woman couldn’t be cured by a penis, the thing believed to keep most women “sane,” then they would need to seek further treatment. This belief resulted in cure theories that would set women back even further, keeping them in their “place,” making babies and taking care of husbands and families. Throughout time and history, some doctors believed that if the area being effected by the misplaced uterus was slathered in something foul smelling, for example, excrement mixed with oil, the uterus would be repulsed and move back to it’s rightful home within the pelvis.  Also, the uterus was believed to love all things sweet smelling. The more pleasant way of attracting the uterus back home was to place something sweet near the vulva, attracting the horned beast to slumber where it belonged.
Since I never favored the idea of smearing excrement on myself or putting anything, sweet smelling or not, on my vulva for long periods of time, I decided to get a second OB/GYN opinion. This time I went to a “real” doctor at a “real” hospital in Atlanta. By that time, I had just moved to the Buckhead area of Atlanta on an internship, and so I booked an appointment with the hospital up the street. I talked to the receptionist on the phone and I made my appointment, fully expecting the experience to validate my suspicions that something was terribly wrong with me; that quite possibly my Uterus was dead and that I had no way of reproducing if I one day decided to delve into that mystery. Or maybe I had cancer and only had six weeks to live. Or even that I had testosterone levels that went up to the point that possibly, I was transforming into something more male than female! I’m sure I saw that happen to someone before while watching some Discovery Health channel marathon or something. Perhaps a woman who wasn’t having health problems at all went to a doctor who suddenly realized that the woman was a hermaphrodite. That probably never happened, and surely that couldn’t be happening to me…or could it?
My mind went wild with suspicions as I walked into the doctor’s pristine office. I was instantly distracted when my new doctor came in. He was a blue-eyed angel that sported bright  scrubs and a faux-hawk. He led me to the back examination room, pretty as could be. He asked me questions about my vagina, my unfortunate lack of a sex life, about my eating habits, about my shoes, and where I got them. He batted his long lashes and called me “girl” more times than was necessary. This distraction was also instantly comforting, as he prepared the examination utensils, latex gloves and sticky gels. 
“And how long have you lived in Buckhead, lady?” He asked me while inserting the cold duck lipped utensil between my stirruped legs, shocking my comatose Uterus with chilly metal.
“Oh…juuuust about six months or so…” 
“Well that’s nice,” he said as he squeezed a sticky blue jelly into his palm and began to explore. “And it seems pretty kosher up there too,” he added, with a look that seemed to say‘…in the Nether Regions.’
“You don’t see anything?!” I was pretty irritated to have come all the way to that hospital just to have some precious doctor play house with my vag.
“Nope. Everything seems to be in place.”
“Really,” I said, flat as one could with a gloved and perfectly manicured hand still poking at my cervix. I wanted to say, “What do you know about what’s in place or not, anyways?” Of course I didn’t. Aside from the fact that he went to medical school and I didn’t, and had seen more vaginas than most men his age, the doctor was just too pretty for me to be rude to.
“Really,” the doctor smiled pleasantly. “I’m going to run a few routine tests, though. Just to make sure she’s running smoothly.”
“Tests” is what I wanted to hear. After getting re-dressed and pulling together my dignity, I shook the doctor’s hand and signed out. I felt relatively justified in my endeavor. Maybe I would come up with a clean bill of health. Maybe I wouldn’t lose my Uterus and it would wake up, refreshed from that unnecessarily indulgent nap it was taking. Or maybe a hysterectomy was in order. The words “Uterusless” and “alone” crept back into my brain.
As I sat on the bus on the way home, I started thinking about hysterectomies. I couldn’t imagine how women who have gone through hysterectomies feel. They literally are Uterusless. I’ve been told that it is like a hollow feeling, because something is missing, and when you bend over you can tell it is missing. Someone once said that she wished they would have stuffed something in there to replace it like a breast implant or some crumbled up newspapers. I hoped I wasn’t in the crumbled up newspaper part of my life.
The simple agony of losing that petty, fleshy muscle seemed so unbearable. I mean look what’s being lost here: Creation. That is what the uterus was designed for in the first place. The uterus is the female center of creativity, it is where we are engineered to be completely capable of creating something with men, even indirectly. Christiane Northrope had it right about the uterus and the menstrual cycle in the first place: “The menstrual cycle governs the flow not only of fluids, but of information and creativity.” (Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, p. 152-153) Not even Mary could have pulled that “immaculate” conception thing off without at least the vessel in which to carry, what a large percentage of humanity considers, their Savior. The Holy Mother’s Uterus must have been a real piece of work, though. I’m sure she didn’t have such a precious doctor to tell her that her Uterus wasn’t crazy and that it was going to be fine, either.
About two weeks later, my Uterus awoke with a vengeance. Because it had been such a long, long time since I had spoken with it, I allowed it to ravage my body with its drowsy rage. I joyfully took the pain. I chuckled to myself as it bounced around my abdomen, hitting every nerve, chewing my internal walls, gleefully giving me the pain that I clearly deserved after all this time. 
After the gratitude had its run, I decided to get the mail. I got a letter from the hospital concerning the tests that were run. They ran an HIV test, a hepatitis test, tested for diabetes and pregnancy. They, of course, all came back negative. I hesitantly looked at the bottom of the bill. It was for $300.00. Three hundred dollars for some dude to look up my vagina and tell me that I’m fine. Three hundred dollars worth of worrying about nothing. I was sure this was a test to make sure that I still cared. God, Uterus, you are such a bitch! I grabbed the bottle of Midol from the table and went to bed.