A Period Piece
8.18.20 3:49 a.m.
Dunkin Donuts just announced that pumpkin spice season is starting tomorrow, which is a huge relief because yesterday I got a call from my gynecologist and she told me I have an abnormal pap. I spent the remainder of the evening panicking and crying over whether I’ll be able to have children one day. What a relief to know that pumpkin spice season is back. I can’t wait until I can throw on my cutest, most basic fall attires so that I can sweat my infertile ass off in August and blow my money on manufactured nostalgia.
Lately, I’ve been having a hard time staying asleep. As soon as my head hits the pillow, I’m knocked out, but after four hours or so I wake up and can’t fall back asleep. I don’t know why this is. I eat well, I work out a lot, I’m not more stressed than the next person in 2020. It’s been a struggle, especially since I want the days to go by faster and sleeping is like time travel.
My gynecologist told me that my abnormal pap could be caused by HPV or potentially cancerous cells in my cervix. Actually, maybe she didn’t mention HPV… or cancer… or maybe she did… or maybe I just googled abnormal pap and entered a virtual rabbit hole that ended at cervical cancer. Either way, I was thoroughly alarmed. She told me to use condoms during sex with my next partner, which was incredibly insulting. Firstly, it was presumptuous of her to assume that I wasn’t already using condoms. Yes, there may have been a few instances where caution was not a virtue, but she wouldn’t have known that. And second, what the fuck does “next partner” mean? Was she insinuating that I’m promiscuous? Which isn’t completely untrue, but I think for 2020 standards, my sexual activity is pretty tame and I wouldn’t be totally insulted if someone called me out, but I don’t like the way she said it and the context was off.
My period’s coming up. I know this because I’m fucking starving. Also I’m questioning my rationale. But I’m still incredibly scared and worried I won’t be able to have children. No matter the logic I apply, that fear is very real.
What I heard from my gynecologist was “Could be HPV… could be cancer… welp, take your vitamins and we’ll see you in a year.” It is still undetermined if me binging on an entire bag of my roommate’s potato chips was the result of stress eating or premenstrual hunger.
The next day, after I profusely apologized to my roommate for desolating her chip supply, the topic of feminine health came up. We took turns laughing over period battle stories. The conversation eventually segued into gynecologists and as luck would have it, a friend of hers had an abnormal pap and found out at the age of 24 that she would never be able to have kids.
I may or may not be severely paraphrasing what she said. Maybe she could have kids but it could have potentially led to not being able to have kids. Or maybe she couldn’t have kids. I can’t remember exactly, but regardless, I drifted off to sleep that night convincing myself I could always adopt.
Four hours later, I awoke the next morning at 5 a.m. and decided to try on all the cute outfits I’d wear to the job I don’t currently have but at some point will have. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but I miss my job and having work crushes because it was always fun feeling like I had someone to look good for. Having a work crush gave me an incentive to be productive. Why? I don’t know. Is that an antifeminist thing for me to say? Dressing up reminded me of when I was a little girl. I would daydream about the job I’d have as an adult and how much fun it’d be to wear all those nice adult clothes, filled out by my future adult breasts. Young, flat-chested me would be pleased to know that the late growth spurt she was praying for did eventually happen and her boobies would more or less fill out.
I try to take full advantage of my breasts wherever I can.
While playing dress-up, I wrote this in my phone because I thought it sounded nice, but I wasn’t sure in what context I would use it, and so I guess I’ll leave it here: “It feels as if no time has passed since now and when I saw you last.”
After playing dress-up, I decided to go to Target to spend money on shit I didn’t need… also I needed those vitamins for the sake of my future children. I got the gummy multivitamins because I thought it’d be fun, but now I just over-consume them and my justification for that is I’m getting even more nutrients. My babies will see through fucking time. Adulthood is great because you can over-consume gummy multivitamins and you won’t get yelled at by your parents. I also bought computer glasses because I thought I’d look cute in them, and then I would justify my spending by saying it’s to protect my eyes. When I have a job where I can dress tastefully promiscuous again, I’m going to wear the fuck out fo these computer glasses because I look so goddamned cute in them.
Then I passed through the baby section and started to profusely sob in the middle of Target. I couldn’t stop myself. I don’t know what happened, it was all so sudden. One second I was horny for computer glasses and dick, the next second I was staring at a Huggies package crying over the idea of never having my own kids. Yeah, I could always adopt, but I want my own kids too. Is it narcissistic and selfish to say that? A lot of people say that we only have kids because we want to see a version of ourselves continue long after we’ve gone. Yes, that is one way to look at it, but you can put a negative spin on anything, really. Charity is disgusting because it treats people like incapable less thans who can’t take care of themselves.
I quickly threw on the computer glasses to hide my tears. This was effective because now instead of looking like a sobbing child in the middle of the baby section at Target, I was a sobbing child wearing un-purchased computer glasses in the middle of the baby section at Target.
I called my mom, but the east coast is three hours ahead and so it was midnight for her. She still picked up even though she had work in the morning. She always does. She told me not to worry, that I had the HPV vaccination so it couldn’t be that.
This is a huge relief. Now that means that either I’m cancerous or infertile or both.
It was my friend’s birthday the next day and I was supposed to pick him up so we could celebrate at the beach. I told him I was five minutes away when really I was one minute away but I was parked on the side of the road aggressively sobbing to “Sea of Love” by Cat Power on repeat, trying to pull my shit together. After successfully pulling my shit together, I arrived 20 minutes later to pick him up.
The day had ended and I was feeling better after the beach. I went to bed that night thinking again, “It’s okay, I can always adopt.”
Then I thought about this more.
Then I started to panic.
Then I decided to smoke some weed.
Then I thought about how much the idea of not being able to have my own children was actually destroying me. I never realized how badly I wanted to be a mother. More tears followed.
I know I’m not being rational and it’s hard for me to think clearly right now, but there’s this real fear that I’m feeling right now. Whether or not it’s justified, I feel it, I’m scared, and it’s killing me. I can’t find the answers except to take my vitamins and wait a year and this solution isn’t making me feel better at all. Google also isn’t helping.
I called my best friend. She asked me what’s going on and I immediately started crying.
Friend: We will get through this. We will figure this out. We will find the answers. You will have your perfect family one day and you’re going to be a mom, I promise.
All I heard was “we” and it made me feel better. I did cry more after we got off the phone, but I swear it wasn’t as aggressive.
A tampon commercial came on while I was in the middle of watching Seinfeld. In that moment, it felt poetic that a tampon commercial randomly played, but as I write this it’s just nonsensical.
Speaking of nonsense, I called my gynecologist back and she told me not to worry at all. That a lot of women are told they have an abnormal pap, but this could be false or the cause of some other minor issue. I knew I was just overreacting. Things will be fine.
A friend of mine just posted a photo of their adorable fresh fetus and I started crying again while aggressively listening to Sea of Love on repeat. To make matters worse, I was now craving donuts.
If there is a future where I can’t have children, I wonder if my dad would cry. I know my mom would, I know I would never stop crying, but would my dad cry? I’ve never seen him cry, and he hates the idea of a man crying unless absolutely warranted. Would this warrant him to cry? The idea that there are things in this world that his little girl just can’t have, no matter how hard she works for it. Because life isn’t a promise.
What would I tell my future husband? How would he take it? Would he care? Would he be devastated? Would he cry with me?
I thought I had it all figured out for so long. I would have three kids and if I had it my way, it’d be two boys and a girl, all named after my favorite storybook characters. I’d name my first son Atticus, like Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. I’d name my second son Holden, like Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye. And I’d name my daughter Briar Rose, like from Sleeping Beauty. Can you name your adopted children?
Anywho, I’m wearing my computer glasses as I write this. I look really cute. Also I just got my period.
8.18.20 5:58 a.m.