(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.
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.