Now screening the greatest horror movie of all time through my eyes.

(PHOTO BY: JON DEAN)

Every horror movie should begin in a women’s locker room.

I’ve never really understood the point of forced public nakedness, besides inducing shame. It’s pretty barbaric. I’ve been overweight my whole life and getting naked has never made it any easier or more pressing to lose weight.

At least, when I was forced to get naked in school it was before social media existed. Back then the worst thing another girl would do was call you a slut or pass you a fake secret admirer note. She would 3-way call you that night (with another girl on the line that she doesn’t tell you about) asking which boy you think is cute and then go to school the next day and tell all the dudes what you said. Like, omg.

This was back when things happened in real time and nothing existed online forever. Honestly, I fear for little girls today who have to obsess over their looks AND internet presence. I imagine they suffer some truly next level cruelty that would make me eat my own blog.

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When I say that women’s locker rooms are terrifying, I’m not trying to discredit the discomfort that men deal with. I’m trying to say that our horror movie of a life is just plain scarier and gnarlier. We pack a lot of trauma in a tiny punch. We’re the It Follows to your It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. We have double the amount of private parts. Our nakedness is all encompassing and constantly evolving.

Horror movies couldn’t exist without us.

I’ve never been in a men’s locker room so I can’t speak to that experience but, according to our President Elect, it sounds like guys just stand around talking about what vile things they would do to women. They’re a safe space for butts to receive a whimsical slapping of a Wal Mart towel and just another nightmare place to be female.

Our nakedness exists even when our clothes are on. Our bodies are currency. Men talk about our bodies. Other women talk about our bodies. The media, the church, corporations. Literally everyone can talk about your body except for you.

When I first started doing stand up, women would often come up to me after shows and say omg you were so funny thank god you don’t talk about your period on stage bc I get so tired of hearing women joke about their periods. My first reaction to these compliments was oh hell yeah I’m amazing someone likes me this rules i’m on top of the world my head is so fat it’s a fat red balloon careening towards the sun!

Eventually, the warm glow of praise wears off. Your head reaches the highest point and explodes, falling back to earth as sweaty scraps of latex, landing like used condoms on the fuzzy surface of pond murk until a duck claps it into its beak and chokes to death.

At which point, you can either quit comedy or dig into your heart with a rusty spoon.

When you evolve past the temporary high of a compliment is when you can really grow into something special. I mean, yeah, you’ll be miserable most of the time trying not to resent strangers who say nice things to you. At least now you can get to the rancid meat of it all. You’ll learn to listen to what lives underneath a compliment.

When I love that you don’t talk about your period really means don’t talk about your period.

Recently, I went to the doctor (that PCOS thing) and wrote down on the lengthy questionnaire of totally insane questions that women are still asked today that I hadn’t had a period since early 2015. When we were face to face my doctor asked if I had written it in error. “No, that’s correct,” I said. “I haven’t had a period in over a year.”

Boy, you should’ve seen this docs face. It was priceless. Which absolutely terrified me. Here’s a woman in her 50s with a doctorate degree in medicine and years of experience in the gynecological arts staring at me like I had just crawled out of the lake with spiders in my hair.

Apparently, periods do not just go away in your 20s. Apparently, I was still having them they were just trapped inside of my body.

Her horrified face must have been the realization that I was literally full of period blood. I was living out the most horrific movie of all time. If you split my body open Carrie would walk out. You could have cast my insides for the door scene in The Shining. I was like Glen’s death in Nightmare on Elm Street. My insides were like Frank’s outsides in Hellraiser. I am in hell someone HELP ME.

Immediately, my gynecologist put me on a high dose of progestin and in 10 days I bled for 12 days and 12 nights. I was watching my own private horror movie as I spilled diva cups on bathroom floors and made make-shift padding out of public restroom toilet paper.

Yeah, periods are icky and stupid but they’re also a release. Like a snake shedding its skin. If you can’t imagine what having a period is like then try to imagine not having one when you’re supposed to.

Like a shit you can’t take. The second piece of cake that made you miserable. The one beer that was too many. A shitty date you can’t get away from. A bad habit you won’t admit. A person that you’re in love with and will never tell. A spouse that you married but can’t stand anymore. A dream you will never pursue. A secret that eats away at you. A series of mistakes you can never take back. A person that you were a long time ago who seems like a stranger to you now.

I could talk about all the porta-potties and public restrooms I left my period blood in. I could talk about all the misery and suffering that oozed out of my body like a tube of gooey red toothpaste. I could talk about the sheer amount of blood of it all. I’m not saying that i learned anything from all the blood. I’m not saying that those periods trapped inside of me were a metaphor for the burden that women carry. I’m not saying that the moment I finally learned to accept myself a dozen roses melted between my legs and laid themselves at my feet. I’m not saying any of that.

That would be gross.

 

 

 

 

Very unfair; our reluctance to give up a shared resentment of women and the very American tradition of hiding it.

It’s 2 a.m. the morning of November 9th, I roll over on my sheet-less floor mattress to face the TV and discover that Donald Trump has officially won the presidency. My very first thought of this “unprecedented” development being:

Fuck, now I have to get married.

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My second thought is that I should grow up and put sheets on my bed before any bachelors see me like this. I roll over and fall back to sleep.

Marriage. That’s what this whole blog is about sort of, I guess. It’s about the hardest kind of love- loving yourself. It’s about dieting, discovery, finding love on national television, looking T.V. hot, and having a completely unrealistic million dollar fantasy wedding. It’s ridiculous. It’s stupid. It’s the coming of age story of a 30 year old college graduate. It’s a female bildungsroman. It’s a carnal joke. It’s me returning the world’s gaze and saying yes, I heard you. I guess I can’t have roommates forever.

Until now I’ve always naively pictured myself getting married for love, and not because I needed someone to kindly escort me out of this life like I was lost in a men-only clubhouse.

“The only thing I feel good about is that he’s not allowed to be himself anymore, ” I barked. Turning swiftly into the parking space.

It’s three days post-election and I’m driving back to work from Chik-fil-a with a hostage in my car and for once that awful feeling in my stomach isn’t hunger. It’s dread. I’ve got a modest salad in tow and she’s clutching a large diet whatever soda that I paid for to make up for the fact that inviting her along for the ride was literally a trap. The plan being to get someone in my car just long enough to speak my mind. To finally tell someone how I really feel- which was not good. Like, for starters- complete shock. Impending doom. Defeated. Betrayed. Rage. Complete fucking rage. All I can see is red. Are you seeing red?

Would you like to get food with me as I unleash palpable anger and shock and betrayal and disgust and doubt and fear and fear, because if anything has the power to pacify my disillusionment it’s not this goddamn salad.

“Two days after the election and he tweets – it’s very unfair, that people are protesting my win,” I say putting on my best Trump impression. “Then he tweets- uh,  what I meant to say was that it’s totally your right as the American people to protest peacefully.”

“Yeah,” my friend sneers, “it’s like the only way to stop him was to elect him President.”

We look at each other and burst out laughing. We laugh because it’s dark. We laugh because it’s so true. We laugh because we’re both comics. We laugh because we’re both white. We laugh because we’re both women and what the hell else is there to do.

How do I feel?

It’s hard to say. Chik-fil-a ‘s salads definitely leave something to be desired like a half-ass hug from an acquaintance you didn’t anticipate on hugging. A person that you’re certain you’ve never hugged before but they’re going for it. To save them from embarrassment your body leans forward and your arms stretch out, miming a surrender, mimicking sincerity. Your heart’s not in it and your body language hoists a giant white flag. They start to resent your base level kindness. You didn’t want anyone to feel stupid so now everyone has to feel stupid. All you can hear is the deafening sound of static until the moment your bodies stop touching and you become a person again; that’s a Chik-Fil-A salad.

After the election I don’t post anything. I don’t detail my opinion online. I don’t react. I don’t chime in. I don’t tell others how I feel. I don’t rage against the electoral college. I don’t protest.  I don’t share memes. I don’t link feminist articles. I don’t educate anyone on tone policing and gas lighting. I don’t join the outpouring of emotion. I don’t channel my frustration into energy. I don’t channel my disappointment into productivity.  I don’t tell anyone how to feel. I don’t process anything. I’m in complete shock and I’m not surprised at all. I feel nothing.

Then, Leonard Cohen dies.

I lay on my floor mattress and listen to his last album. It’s brief and immaculate and I wonder-

Why are all my heroes men?

Have you ever listened to Leonard Cohen? Did you hear his song Bird on a Wire and weep? Was he talking to only you? Did you know he never looked a woman in the eyes and asked her to marry him?

What about the documentary Man On A Wire? Did Philippe Petit’s anarchic artistry and breathtaking relentlessness bring tears to your eyes? Did you see him bridge the twin towers like a madman? Were you on the ground below asking yourself if this man was dancing in the sky? Did you know that, immediately after he cheated death, he cheated on his partner? The one who quelled her own dreams for his.

I read article after article of how women betrayed the nation. That we collectively sold ourselves out. That it’s Hillary’s fault. That we voted based on race and class. That we’re the most divided demographic. That we could never come together. That we’re also not second class citizens and we have the same rights as men. That this election wasn’t about gender. That women, biologically speaking, aren’t funny. That our government regards our bodies the same way they do guns- domestic policy.

Is there anything more divisive than woman?

What do you call that feeling when the whole world whispers into your ear that you’re meaningless? That voice that tells you shhhh- be quiet. You looks decide your worth, your feelings aren’t valid, the world isn’t against you, you’re crazy, you’re being crazy, you’re being loud, that you have exactly the same rights, that nothing is stopping you but yourself, that this isn’t about you, that you’re constantly in competition with each other and that’s why you’ll never affect change, that’s why you can’t come together to vote the first woman president of the United States – because you hate yourself.

Did you see the picture of Donald Trump looking over his voting booth to spy on Melania’s vote? Do you remember the picture of our new president glaring over the partition, you know, that piece of plastic that symbolizes our basic American right to privacy? Did you see that picture of Donald Trump spying on his wife’s vote? Answer the question. Did you see it? Did you see it and immediately forget? Do you expect me to sleep at night with that image burned into my head of our soon-to-be President of the United States looming over his wife like the personification of our collective nightmare?

2 weeks ago my doctor told me I have PCOS.

I’ve always resented smooth transitions.

Yup, you definitely have PCOS she says, handling the situation with the same nonchalance that I would have had to a table at the diner holding up a thick hair they had just freshly plucked out of their food.  Yeah dude, it happens all the time. Did you want ketchup?

Her mouth says it’s an endocrine disorder and insulin resistance is causing my body to produce more male hormones than female hormones and if I don’t cut out sugar, things that turn into sugar, and dramatically lose weight that my symptoms will grow worse. I’ll grow excess hair on my face and body, my voice will deepen, plus acne, my neck will turn darker, and I’ll suffer male pattern baldness. Her mouth tells me that it’s going to be extremely difficult to lose weight and it’s incurable.

Her eyes tell me not to get emotional in her office. Her eyes say that I would have known this a long time ago if I had ever had access to health insurance at any point during my twenties. I ask her about depression and she says that depression isn’t part of it. I ask her what I can do and she says manage it. I pay my copay. I think about my future uphill battle. I think about how funny it is. I think about how I had health insurance just long enough to find out that even my own body is jumping ship on woman.