As if I don’t talk about it enough, the title of this post says it all: I’m about to talk about my reproductive organs. Now, let me start by saying that I LOVE my uterus and my vagina and I’m grateful for all that they do/will do for me in the future. That being said, after these last few months, I’m ready to not have to talk about my reproductive organs for a while. That being said, I’m thankful for the way my issues were dealt with by the medical professionals at Planned Parenthood.
I’ve been involved with Planned Parenthood for years, and I’m about to jump back in again to help with outreach and education. My relationship with the organization itself as both a patient and an activist has never faltered. However with the still-painful memory of the most recent PP related shooting, my faith in the world has began to crumble even more.
The week following the shooting in November, I found myself standing in Boston’s PP lobby, walking through the metal detector, entering into the waiting room, and finally sitting in a cold exam room awaiting my appointment. I had never been so scared for my own life. I was in no kind of danger whatsoever, and had no reason to be alarmed when I heard beeping or loud noises outside the door or, worse yet, nothing at all. I had no reason to be terrified that someone who didn’t know me would come through and shoot me, and yet, I did.
As a woman, I feel that I put up with a lot of shit. I think that most women will agree with me to some extent. We put up with a lot of shit. I put up with the catcalls on the street and being damned to hell for going to the doctor. I put up with being told that I’m not strong enough or that I’m too emotional or that I don’t know what I’m talking about. I put up with knowing the rape and sexual assault and domestic abuse statistics in this country by heart and I put up with being told again and again and again not to get raped but never hear anyone tell the rapists not to rape. I put up with being told I ‘hit like a girl.’ I put up with clutching my keys in my pocket while walking quickly down dark streets alone at night. I put up with still having to fight for my own rights.
But I refuse to be scared that I’m going to die while awaiting a medical check up.
This is beyond my health issues and my reproductive justice beliefs. This is beyond me as a person. This has turned into a fight for womanhood and beyond that, being a human being.
Having a uterus to me doesn’t just mean having to fight for my rights anymore. It doesn’t just mean that I’ll be able to be a mother someday. Having a uterus, to me, has turned into having to stay alive and remain calm. It means that I will be afraid when I walk down the street and I will be afraid when a large man tells me to smile and I will be afraid when I read about how a boyfriend beat his girlfriend and he’s getting away with it. And now, it means that I might be afraid when I go to the doctor, but I hope it doesn’t.