I have a new strategy for helping with writers block–but you need to be of the female persuasion. Today I had an OBGyn appointment. Who knew how much writing material you can find with your legs up in the air? First I sat in the waiting room for an hour listening to a very chipper women in one of those health infomercials talk about fertility and lack-there-of. Did you know that if men drink more than 2 glasses of wine their sperm craps out when you go at it that night? She seemed so excited to say this. They might as well put Sponge Bob on for us. Finally the nurse brought me in to take my blood pressure and weigh me. You don’t look like you weigh that much she says. Is that supposed to be a compliment? Then she pulls out the tiny thin white paper bolero to cover my boobs and the thin white paper table-cloth to cover everything else. Then I sit.
And I sit.
By now my backside is freezing and the big framed poster of the vaginal canal, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries is beginning to look like one of the animal costumes from the Broadway musical The Lion King. Circle of life indeed. My 10:30 appointment is slowly creeping into high noon and I have had nothing to eat all morning. I’ve ripped a rather fashionable v-neck in my bolero (which I put on backwards) and the only magazine in sight is Mens Health (swear to God!). Finally, my Doctor enters. She is also chipper. Her teeth are so white they look recently sandblasted. She goes through the usual litany of questions, throwing in a little joke about how I don’t need birth control (wink, wink). I wonder if she is referring to my age or my sexual orientation. Her chuckle is a bit alarming. Then in an instant I am on my back, feet flailing to find the stirrups, ass hanging over the edge of the examination table, feeling “a little pressure” of the speculum as she pushes it around looking for my cervix. Where is that sneaky cervix now she says, and when she finds it, secures the speculum and begins her business she asks So how’s your job?
How’s my job? My job? Who can talk about their job with a 12 inch Q-tip swabbing the internal deck? I picture myself like Jackie Chan, leaping from my back into the air, my feet hitting her shoulders full force knocking her into the Yak or Giraffe or whatever that poster is. But, I mumble something instead. We have a conversation of sorts. That bizarre conversation that women have when someone is peering into their uterus wearing rubber gloves and a miners flashlight. It’s about odd domestic things or how the education system has failed our kids or something from the Daily Show or our jobs. It’s punctuated with occasional uhs and umphs as things pinch and prod. And it happens like the most natural thing in the world. Like you’re taking a coffee break or chatting with a bank teller.
This is why women are so strong. They face countless moments of intrusion and humiliation and discomfort and pain, but they carry on. They wipe away the muck from their insides, throw their clothes back on, crumple up the paper gown and hit a Dunkin Donuts on their way back to work. Same old same old. Back into the day like nothing happened.
But something does happen. Cells shift, eyes momentarily drift back in their sockets, muscles clench and teeth are barred, and for a minute we move into an ancient fight or flight response. We are lionesses, ready to kill or run to protect. Ready for cancer or babies or blood or emptiness. We fall and we rise in an instant. A force to be reckoned with.