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