I took my last birth control pill and headed out to Planned Parenthood. It was diaphragm day and surprisingly I was a bit nervous.
For the record, I have health insurance and I can go to a proper gynecologist (I will find one that I like and make an appointment soon) but Planned Parenthood is just so easy. There are never any judgments and the women who work there are lovely. And their office is 7 blocks from my apartment.
I entered the examination room and there was the oracle from Matrix ready to fit me for my diaphragm. She looked like the oracle, talked like the oracle it was surreal. She admitted that she thought I was going to be frumpy because of my choice in birth control. Most women opt for the pill if they're going the hormone route or the IUD if they're going the barrier route. She slipped the diaphragm in my vagina with ease, took it out, and handed it over to me to try.
I penetrate my own vagina every time I masturbate...I use tampons without applications...I'm not shy about sticking my fingers in my cooch but I was a bit intimidated by inserting my own birth control. It struck me that being on the pill for 15 years was kind of lazy. I wanted someone or something else to worry about my vagina. I was completely disconnected from my body.
There was a bit of spermicide on the diaphragm which made it slippery. I slid my index finger in the middle of the diaphragm and folded it in half around my finger...as I went to slide it in the oracle stopped me, "don't just mash it in there pull open your lips". Wow. It was like riding a bike all over again. I giggled and changed my technique and woola. It was in. She checked the seal and confirmed that I was a size 75 - she also added that I may want to come down a size. Betty said she started with a size 75 and ended up with a size 65.
I came home and that diaphragm sat on my bathroom sink for several days. I wanted to try inserting it again but I was having my first real period in 15 years. I started bleeding after my first pill-free day. And bleed I did. It felt so cathardic like I was releasing years of repressed hormones. And the cramping. I haven't had cramps in so long I forgot what they felt like. The waves of muscle contractions that travel over your ovaries...to your back...through your entire abdomen. I felt alive again.
And my breasts were pleasantly sore. They ached - not a bad ache - but an ache like they were returning to life. I've never felt so conscious and connected to my body. That's when I realized that my choice in birth control had left me feeling like a numb hole. Yes, my clitoris still worked and I had orgasms but the feelings weren't as intense. There was a certain disconnection because I was fooling my body into thinking it was pregnant for 15 years.
My body is a dynamic reproductive system again. I feel like a woman. I feel strong. I feel emotional. I feel grounded. In the last week, I've made some big changes and tackled life in a way I never have before. It's like I can spot the bs a mile away, confront it, state my agenda and move past it. I feel indomnitable.
And I feel connected to a power larger than myself - not "god" but humanity. Maybe that's why we're still fighting so hard for equality: because our role in giving life also confers on us the power to change the planet. One thing is for sure: with blood comes the truth.