Thursday, July 28, 2011

What This Blog Is Actually About (this time, for real)

            I think it noteworthy to mention that today is my twenty-second birthday. Noteworthy, at least to those of you who want to write "Happy Birthday, Rose!!! : P" on my facebook wall and, in so doing, contribute some positive data to the chart by which I gauge my sense of self worth. I’m sure I could’ve taken the day off  from the “the old blog,” as the people around town affectionately call it. This would certainly disappoint my strong contingency of follower (Sarah Walsh), but I’m sure "she’d" get on okay without me. I could have spent the day  relaxing among family and family without the burden of quipping egocentrically about my reproductive system in a writing style that is at once hip, casual, and undisciplined, a writing style that really presents me as the fashionable and easily-distracted young sprite, gallivanting about town, that has been endearing herself to homeless men masturbating on street corners for years. (Seriously friends, these guys just love me!) 
            To get back to the point of taking a day off from my busy blogging schedule to kick back and enjoy my birthday, I will say this: Despite the fun, there would be consequences. Not the least of which is that all my cool new friends from the COED lunch table (they haven't called yet, but they will if I continue leaving messages on their home phones) would never know what a special day it was for me, and in this event, they wouldn’t be able to invite me out to the roller skating rink tonight to have a few Sunny Ds and rip on how shoddy the new Bruce Lee figurines are that they're making these days.  I know those crazy coeds would be disappointed to miss out on all that fun, so I had to write today.  Furthermore, I haven’t even explained the real premise for this thing yet or even impressed my friends with my strong verbs and minimal usage of passive voice.* So I'm writing today in hopes of accomplishing these things.
               At any rate, I greeted this first day of my twenty-second year the same way I greet just about every twenty-first day in a string of twenty-eight, lying in bed wondering for how long the tedium of life will continue for me. If I were to die today then I would never again have to endure the cold sweat that inevitably saturates my pours anytime I consider adding a friend on facebook or getting the number for a classmate with whom I have to create a group project. By day, I would never again have the public humiliation of having to pronounce the word edit in the past tense, or by night, the private humiliation of catching myself in the mirror (yet again) as I try to open a particularly stubborn candy-bar wrapper with my teeth. If you have ever seen yourself involved in this process, then you know the utter feeling of emptiness that ensues from perceiving yourself in this light. The ravenous determination and animalistic vengeance poured out on the unfortunate Heath Bar wrapper in question are eclipsed only by the sad and almost vulnerable eagerness that inspired this act of mastication in the first place. Is it you that has aggressively dominated the wrapper, or is it the thing inside the wrapper that has aggressively dominated you?
               On the one hand, if I died, all of these anxieties and humiliations would disappear forever. On the other hand, I'd be dead. And I don't really want to be dead yet. But I thought about it this morning when I woke up, and I often do on the twenty-first day in a string of twenty-eight. I'm kidding (sort of) but the point is, I woke up feeling a little irritated but mostly just bummed and kind of lonely, and more than anything, I was keenly aware of (and we're talking in approximations here) around three thousand extra pounds of flesh hanging from my hips that hadn’t been there last week. In addition to the physical weight hanging on me, there was some emotional baggage as well. As I rolled over in bed, there were at least thirty offenses I had committed the night before that were now attacking my guilty conscience with two cannons, three swords, and a sickle that was engraved with the Ten Commandments. Despite the fact that about twenty-nine out of the thirty guilty offenses did not in any way conflict with the dictates of the Ten Commandments, this detail still bothered me.  (The one that did? Using the word “vajeen” on the internet where everyone could read it. I’m not sure which of the commandments I broke in doing this, but I obviously broke one of them.) In this state I dragged myself to the closet in my parent’s bedroom—no matter that they were naked and changing with the door open when I walked in—and plopped my pockmarked, unhappy, scaly, hooved, gangrene self on the scale inside. 
              At the time, I hadn't yet remembered that it was my birthday, but had I remembered this fact and realized that the number glaring back at me was the weight with which I was going to greet this new year in my life, I probably would have just gone back to my bedroom, stripped naked, eaten a can of Chef Boyardee ravioli from the can and spent the next hour cutting out pictures of movie stars’ heads and glueing their faces over mine in the family photos in my room. Occasionally I would have taken breaks to take a few swigs of O'Douls and sing “Seventeen” by Janis Ian through tears while pretending to be drunk. Mostly, though, I'd just keep cutting and pasting.
               I will say that midway through breakfast, I convinced myself into a swell of gratitude, because after all, it is an incredibly sacred thing  to just be alive. To be alive and surrounded by a string of gorgeous nieces and nephews who were excited to go out to breakfast with me for my birthday, well that was a sacred thing of unimaginable proportions. In the end, everything turned out okay, but the relevancy here is that I’m pretty sure we’re all familiar with mornings like this, whether we’ve had them our selves or witnessed them in others. Some people who have trouble maintaining good mental health (maybe myself included) may wake up every morning feeling a little down and kind of lonely, but if you’re a woman, even if you cultivate really good emotional wellness, you still probably experience something kind of like this every twenty-first day in a string of twenty-eight.
               This is the side of the female experience that most of us are already familiar with, the side of it that gets a lot of air time in real life and on television (AKA really real life). Maybe we hear a lot about it because it gives self-indulgent, irrational women named Kimberly an excuse to not take tables at Sunset Bay Bar and Grill on a Saturday night, or maybe because it gives self-indulgent men named Charlie Donnely an excuse not to listen to both rational and irrational women who are either not taking tables at Sunset Bay Bar and Grill on a Saturday night, or who are acting like the imperfect human beings they are, or who are simply being demanding. The moral is, we all know about premenstrual irritability, blues, etc. but we know very little about the rest of the reproductive experience of women. An experience that takes place twenty-four hours aday, thirty to thirty-one days a month (unless you want to include those little troublemakers that call themselves February), and twelve months a year. The reproductive experience is in action always and everywhere, whether you are actually reproducing or not, although the only times we tend to think of it is during menstruation.
               For example did you know that women enjoy more acute senses of taste and smell when they are fertile? That’s one of the highlights of ovulation. Really weird discharge that sneaks up on you and makes you feel like you urinated in your pants on one of the rare occasions that you didn’t is one of the low lights. There are so many little things like this about women’s bodies, but still our cycles remain largely a mystery to us. Anyway, that’s what  I’m kind of trying to deal with in this blog, not that I’m any great expert. I’m just a woman, but that should really be enough for me to figure out when I’m ovulating or at least when I’m bleeding from my vagina. That’s what this blog is for. To help you figure out when you are bleeding from your vagina.
               I’m looking forward to figuring that out with you. And also, Fiscal Year.

*I actually use passive voice allllll the time. I don’t even see a problem with using it. Now you know just how much of a rebel I really am.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What This Blog Is Actually About*

     "But Why Females' Vaginas?" is a question I'm often asked by fans of my blog. The answer is a complicated one which I have thought over many a quiet night as I sat listening to the ocean waves outside my window and drinking liters of biodiesel gasoline (because its packed with both saturated and aromatic hydrocarbons--including alkylbenzene!) The answer is not, my friends, a simple one, and though I have struggled with how best to take on this query, I think I have done so reasonably well in the paragraphs that follow:
       I will begin by saying that I first conceived the idea of this publication (It is a publication, Mother. Yes--Yes it is, Mom, It is because I'm publishing it on the interweb. This cannot be disputed.) about a month ago when I realized that I had absolutely no understanding of how my body worked or even what certain parts of it looked like.
           To illustrate this point, I will explain to you that this is coming from a woman for whom it took no less than eight months to master a skill which most thirteen-year-old girls learn in only a few minutes. I am of course referring to the centuries old practice of shoving a mass of rayon wrapped in a tube of plastic up the vajeen, in layman's terms, using a tampon. At an age that is so shamefully old  that I will not even disclose the number here for fear of embarrassment, I spent eight months trying to acquire the special combination of attributes that were necessary to accomplish this daring feat; the very same special combination of attributes that I believed every young woman in the modern world—myself, of course, excluded—already had: Remarkable physical prowess, magical powers, and a meter wide, gaping, black-hole between her legs. In this hole she could easily put in and pull out anything which the moment required of her. "Oh you forgot a sleeping bag? Its okay, I've got one in here. Hold on a sec, there are two more in here I forgot I even had stashed away. Wait, there's a bunk bed with a trundle attached up here too! Looks like we can forget the sleeping bags, right ladies? Also, I brought snaaaaa-aaakks!!!!!" (Seriously tampax, couldn't you just make a more detailed illustration in your instruction manual?) 
       These were hard times for me, hard times filled with frightened trips to the bathroom, prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Rita, one of the many "patron saints of hopeless cases" that Catholicism has to offer. (Should we be concerned that there are more than one?) In the past when I had given myself a bad haircut, lost the previous evening's homework assignments, or accidentally killed a friend's parrot whom I was supposed to be babysitting, Saint Jude had been the preferred patron-saint-of-hopeless-cases to which I would turn, but desperate hopeless cases called for desperate hopeless measures. Also, I preferred to have this talk girl to girl. 
      "Dear Blessed Saint Rita," I would plead, "Please show me a hole (there were apparently three???), any hole, really, up which I may push this mass of cotton and rayon swaddled in plastic tubing." I had fallen from the toilet onto my knees. "Sweet, blessed Rita, any one of these orifices will do." I was now shifting from kneeling into the fetal position and beginning to suck my thumb.
     I would end decked in my least fashionable sack cloth, swimming in a pool of ashes as I begged the dear lady, "Show me the way, Saint Rita. Do not abandon your humble servant in this period of darkness. Also, if you could keep my grandchildren from walking in on me like this, I would be much obliged." (Did I say I was a slightly too old to be learning how to use basic feminine hygiene products?) Still, I was embarking on a journey that would, I was sure, ultimately be consummated in the act of complete vaginal occlusion! There was no wrong time for such a noble pursuit!
          Of course it was hard, and in those days such abysmal, low periods in my existence were inevitably followed by a forlorn look in the mirror, a shame-filled unlocking of the door and--perhaps most harshly-- the confused realization that I was the only woman in the entire universe who had to bleed from a vagina without actually having her own vagina to bleed from. Afterwards with a sigh of defeat, I would walk over to my rocking chair and take up my knitting until one of the little ones would toddle by. Taking little Suzy into my arms, I would nuzzle my nose against her soft chestnut hair.
          "Great-Great-Grandmama?" She'd ask me. Dear, Precocious, Suzie, so young, so innocent in my arms.
          "Yes, my child."
          "Don't you know that filling your blog with puns relating to the female experience is just another bit of cheap and lazy comedy?"
          "Ahh Suzie, my sweet one, of course Great Grandmama knows that," I smiled down at her. "But as any fool will tell you, the only thing worse than a few puns now and again, is breaking the fourth wall with a little self referential humor...Lactation, Uterine Lining."
           Thus the idea of writing a blog about one woman's journey to familiarize herself with all her lady-parts was germinated. The rest is just herstory.

         *This entry does not in anyway explain "what this blog is actually about."  In an attempt to be considered cool by my peers, I have opted to not write an entry which seriously explains the real purposes of this blog. In this witty and charming entry, I have undoubtedly constructed something that will finally convince the kids who sit at the coed (this detail cannot be emphasized enough) table in the corner of the cafeteria of my unfailing awesomeness.
       In the next entry, however, I will attempt a more serious bit of writing in which I will actually explain "what this blog is actually about." In it, I will use adult phrases like, "menstruation," "fallopian tubes," and "fiscal year."