I would say that my biology has given me a particular induction into pain to which many, particularly males, will not be privy. I have, for a long time, been aware of extreme violence as an unavoidable part of life. Violence has long been established as the baseline of my capacity to experience the world. I’ve learned, as it were, to take my gulps of air from life quickly, because ultimately one is submerged in pain beyond belief. The oral contraceptive pill stemmed this for a while. I learned, however, that Nature is vengeful.
Without any form of chemical contraception, I’m at the mercy of Nature. Initially, she creeps up on you with a sensation of tingling in your finger tips and toes. Then the intensity increases until there is the effect of an electric current running through your body. Muscles, especially those used recently, start to contract and expand. One feels like a long distance running having already covered 20 kilometers in difficult terrain. Sweat gathers on one’s forehead. At first the body feels warm and then it starts to shiver. The moving in and out of the tides causes an increasing feeling of nausea. One is about to throw up, but this throwing up won’t stop the sensation of a knife jabbed deeply into one’s lower intestines. One sits on a toilet and the ripples in one’s system causes an easy evacuation of the load. But still the pain becomes more intense.
One tries to steady the mind, in between electrocutions, by not thinking painful thoughts. Negative memories trigger spasms throughout the body, that reverberate back and forth. One tolerates only neutral ideas — no revenge; no aggression. Every moment every fraction of a thought seems to fracture and open to reveal its contents. Even the thoughts one had not been aware of thinking seem to reveal themselves in this way. The spasms will have their way, and eating becomes impossible on the first day. One may venture forth with caution on the second day, but this is hardly to be advised.
One wakes up after a feverish sleep to notice whether the analgesics are still partially working. Reviving from sleep means one must continue to labor with one’s death wishes. The sensation of lying on a bed of nails does not let up. The next day, one’s hair looks dry and stressed and one’s complexion chalky.
This is what it was like growing up in a society where women’s health issues were not taken seriously. Nature was considered to be something that took care of itself. In the late seventies and early eighties, the birth control pill had been invented, but it was not offered as a solution to the female dilemma of being stabbed and electrocuted periodically. Our culture was, in many ways, backwards.
More recently, Nature was creeping up — again. My bodily chemistry had changed, and the oral hormones I was taken proved to be less efficacious in providing pain management.
Since I was losing my stealthy battle against Nature, despite using all the tricks accumulated in my book, I opted for an implanted contraption. This would give me a steady supply of hormones direct to my uterus, where it could sap them up.
To have an IUD implanted is like tolerating the investigation of your body by a huge alien robot. It’s not comfortable and everything about this alien seems huge. The final step of the implantation was like touching a hot stove and being sharply burned by it. After three seconds, the pain went away. I sat up and felt euphoric right away. That night I felt the hormones pumping. Their effect, in addition to the oral contraception already in my system, made me feel high.
My experience so far, two weeks down the track, is that I don’t feel any more a sense of Nature’s machinations.: that creeping up, the ecstasy of stealing time before she struck again. I don’t need to play so many games in order to preserve my sanity.
Also, for the first time, I’m observing other women in a different light. I used to think that dressing prettily was a sign of great frivolity in the light of Nature’s violence, when we would do better to set up military encampments against our impending doom.
I’m less dark, these days.