My Ovaries. My Uterus. My Birth Control.
I was 17 years old when I had my first birth control discussion with my physician. For years, I had been experiencing such irregular, painful periods that I would stay home from school for at least a few days each cycle. I would spend most of the day curled up in a little ball, massaging my stomach in the hopes that it would pass. To help increase my regularity and decrease the amount of pain, my doctor suggested putting me on the pill. Sure, I was 17, but I was not having sexual intercourse. This was purely a necessary, prescribed medical treatment. At the time, my co-pay for the pill was somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 per month.
Years later, I was at the University of Oregon Health Center. I had been suffering from intense mood swings induced by the pill, and the NuvaRing had just been introduced as a method of birth control. By then, I was married and sexually active. However, the primary reason I still used birth control was to regulate my hormones and periods. When I was put on the NuvaRing, it cost me $30 per ring out of pocket. (One ring lasts one cycle.) I heard the retail price was going to raise to $40, so I saved money by buying a year’s worth in advance. But, it still cost $360 out of pocket.
Eventually, I became concerned about the potential health risks of the NuvaRing, given my family history, and started having more moodswings. So, I stopped taking it. Within a few cycles, my periods were painful and irregular. Because I had lost medical insurance, it was a few years before I saw another doctor and got a new form of birth control.
In 2010, after being plagued by severe mood swings and increasingly irregular, painful periods, I finally had insurance again and was referred by an urgent care physician to a specialist. After a few procedures and rounds of blood work, my GYN diagnosed my with polycystic ovarian syndrome. It was a major cause of the issues that I had been having for years: mood swings, painful menstruation, kidney stones, irregular cycles, inability to get pregnant. She eventually put me on a natural progesterone therapy and a new diet. My monthly hormone treatments cost me $20, and my new lifestyle finally solved a good chunk of what ailed me.
I continued taking this treatment until 2011, when I became unemployed and lost my health insurance. My periods have become increasingly more painful and irregular, and I cannot afford the out of pocket expenses to see a new physician for my yearly exam, tests, and treatment.
As I am a woman approaching the age I will have children, I need to have access to a GYN. I still need to treat my polycystic ovaries and make sure I’m absorbing enough calcium in my body to adequately support future childbirth. Without insurance coverage of the services that I need, I face an unlikely reproductive future.
I’m telling you this story because I am frightened by the current war on women being waged by the GOP. They consistently fight against measures that ensure we have access to birth control and abortion (which is often a necessary medical procedure), not to mention against government sponsored health care plans that would cover both. I am becoming increasingly concerned that I will not be able to access the medical tools that will enable me to become the mother of a healthy child.
For a group that tends to focus on the family, the GOP needs to realize that medicine is not black and white. What medical treatments will work for one patient will not necessarily cure the next. Blanket statement rejections of certain medical treatments and procedures could ultimately prevent women like me from becoming a loving, responsible parent. This saddens me. It appalls me. As a libertarian and feminist, it is inexcusable that the GOP not only wants to prevent me from accessing medically necessary treatment, but fights daily to put new restrictions on which type of health care I can receive from my physician. These are medical decisions that need to be up to me, myself, and I. These are my ovaries; this is my uterus; and, I deserve the right to make decisions regarding my birth control.
I Ain’t No Hollaback Girl #RealTalk
Today I was reminded of something that plagues our society: scrubby bros trying to holla at women. Note that I did not say trying to pick up on women who appear to be as equally promiscuous as they are; I said women. This is an important distinction to make because I’m becoming increasingly convinced the modern college age male does not understand anything about women. Gone are the days of Finch trying to pick up Stifler’s mom. We’re left with an increasing amount of Stiflers attempting to use the Finch tactics that they cannot comprehend, let alone use properly.
Living in Central Harlem, I enjoyed my daily exposure to the art of holla’ing. Legions of mature, witty black men lined the streets in front of their apartments on chairs and stoops to happily greet the women of the neighborhood. Every once in a while, I was even treated to the younger generation practicing their craft. What people don’t realize is, it truly is an art form. While there is of course some generic cat calling, the vast majority of men use verbal artistry to lure women into some sort of dialogue about their comments. To be honest, I don’t believe most of them actually believe they’re going to get into your pants. However, I’m certain most of them wouldn’t mind.
Perhaps my favorite lines involved a fine thirtysomething man peering into my eyes through my dark sunglasses and saying “I see you looking at me, don’t try to hide it.” He busted me checking out the goods, and of course, I smiled. The other one that really sticks with me was a fortysomething drug dealer sitting in his car that proclaimed “Hello, Sunshine!” to which I replied with a smile because he was hilarious. But, it did not end there. He was so invigorated by seeing my smile that he proclaimed “Yeah! That smile! That’s what I want to see! Where’s that ring on your finger baby? Where’s that ring on your finger?” To say the least, I laughed incredibly hard, and I will never forget that man.
While neither of these are terribly artistic in the exact wording, my point is that they are delivered with a certain type of finesse that the average bro will never understand. Why? Bros actually want in any female’s pants. That’s their end game. They know it. I know it. The whole world knows it. Thus, their tactics and their delivery are creeptastic and sleazy.
Now that my rant is over, I feel its important to help the people of the world (especially creepy bros) understand something: the best sex of your life will involve intimacy. To have a fully satisfying sexual experience, both parties will have an intimate knowledge of his/herself and his/her partner and explore all of the areas that make one another tick. If you haven’t had this experience yet, you’ll undoubtedly know what I’m babbling on about once it’s over.
So, my advice to bros and hoes looking to snag a sophisticated partner is stop obsessing over quantity. Instead, focus on quality. Take some time; try to actually get to know someone. The sex is a million times better, and you’ll actually feel satisfied after it’s over.
Now that I’ve given you a piece of friendly advice, I only ask for one small favor in return. If you’re an immature bro looking to score, stop hanging out of your friends car to holla at me. Stop staring at my boobs when I walk down the hall and/or my ass when I walk past you. These things will get you nowhere. If you then attempt to say hello to me, I will tell you I’m not single and ask request you promptly cease your piggish behavior because it’s offensive to me. After all, I ain’t no hollaback girl.