This isn’t the first time the doctor can’t tell what’s wrong with me.
I’ve been back multiple times — sitting in the same waiting room with beige walls and children crying, with expectant mothers holding the hands of first time fathers — and each time, they tell me the same thing.
They tell me that I need to relax, that it might be psychological, that they did a scan and no, they didn’t find anything wrong with me.
I tell them the pain blooms from inside me and throbs from head to toe, that every time it happens, I make my bed my castle and my fort. I can’t get up for hours, fold myself into myself until I’m small enough to fit my drawers, will myself out of existence.
I tell them it hurts.
They tell me nothing is wrong.
My womb is still a womb that can bear me children, or so the doctors say. I just have to smile through the pain. I just need to relax, take a bubble bath, take deep breaths and try to breathe underwater.
Except it’s hard to breathe underwater. Quite impossible, really. Most of the time, you’re breathing out bubbles, pockets of air that pop on contact. Your lungs fill with a liquid you can’t evaporate. You’re moving against an immovable wall. You’re pushing to get through but the water’s pushing back against you, and you can’t move.
My friends joke, “Maybe it’s just him.”
Maybe it was just him. But I don’t know that it isn’t just my body working against me. There’s no proof that can point me either way, and I’m not about to go and find out.
I always thought my virginity is something I’ll keep safe, tucked in a corner, hidden between skin and sinew until I was ready to give it away.
Instead, they tell me to relax.
I remember every silent stare from doctors who didn’t know what’s wrong, every minute I spent in waiting rooms, listening to newborns crying for their mother, every time I wondered if I could ever hear that from a child of my own. I wish I could take them back.
There are nights I spend wondering if I could ever be loved — the kind of love that would hide me in the bulbs of flowers until I’m ready to bloom. Then there are nights I’ve convinced myself I’m doomed to wither, pressed against yellowed books no one reads any longer.
I wish I could take them all back.
Still, there are nights I wonder how different it’ll be if I’d never known what it’s like to have your petals stripped, crushed between hands too fragile to hold, only to play a game of “he loves me not”.
Note: I’m actually pretty terrified to click publish on this, and I’m not sure why. I’ve edited this a few times already, trying to make something poetic out of something personal (which explains the categories). But I still feel like there’s something missing. I’m not sure what it is.
I keep saying I’m scared I won’t be hired once I publish this (this is a joke), or that I’ll forever be known as someone who struggles with this thing I can’t understand. I keep thinking of how my dad is super private and how there’s virtue in that.
But some part of me knows that this feels somehow bigger than myself. So despite the fear… it’s out there now. Out in the wild.
If you’re struggling with anything, I hope you know you’re not alone. There are people who love and care for you. And you’ll figure it out.