Monday, June 8, 2009

I AM NOT A SLUT--cut the stigma

Please… turn off all cell phones.
Patients… kindly give the office a 24-hr cancellation notice.
They care about my privacy. My rights
listed
right there.
My motor skills failing me, clipboard in grip. I try to make
them function properly
but they shake as I give the doctors permission to contact
my mother just i n c a s e.
I ‘ m 2 2.
The pen in my hand, some promo for some drug company,
slips in the sweat seeping through the creases
in my palm.
My mind swarming in the cerebral fluid underneath my skull.
My head preparing for the worst case scenario.
6 months ago the pre-cancer cells,
the dysplasia,
was mild.
But six months before that the cells, they weren’t even pre-cancer, just abnormal.
there in my cervix in my vagina.
a year later: where is my body now?
Three things can happen, says the doctor.

stay the same
get better
get worse.
My head preparing for the worst
and I take 3 ibuprofen.
goddam hpv. I even took those vaccinations.

colposcopy
The gyno lubes the lips of my vagina she cranks the cool metal opening my cervix
she flashes a light down there like it’s some kind of live-cave
i smell vinegar and the crank cranks harder she takes the scissors
and I can hear the snip clip clip up through the
inside of my ears
I can feel the sharp ends slicing me on the inside
hot warm liquid juices up in my vagina, spills out--reacting to the trauma, i bend my head back and squeeze my hands into one another
and, behind her medical mask, she asks me what my major is
my muscles cramp against the crank while she swipes cotton along the fleshy cervix
the freshly cut, bleeding tissue
and I say Creative Writing
the blood, it burns me inside out

My mother, she had to find out the first time because they accidentally called her, but according to my charts she wasn’t allowed to know any of my information. I prefer not to tell my mother things. So they didn’t tell her, but said please contact your daughter, her pap came back abnormal.

HELLO.

Dontcha know not to say that sorta thing to a mother? C’mon.
My mom, she was accusatory. How many partners have you had, Brooke?
My mom, she was degrading. Who gave this to you Brooke?
It does n o t matter who gave it to me. It doesn’t matter.
My mom hisses. Like the S-word is about to slide off her tongue I can feel the rage.

She wouldn’t stop asking. Harassing, like it was shocking I must’ve had so much sex with so many people to get this disease. Disgrace.

Her nasally voice, “Gosh, Brooke, you don’t have to be so easy.”
Me, I was ready to stitch her mouth shut.

Over thirty kinds of HPV.
My best friend got the kind that gives you warts.
She was in the gynecologist’s office every two weeks to freeze them off her clit.
The pain, she said, the pain, she cried.
A woman, sitting next to me in the waiting room she cried asked why I was there
maybe she thought she was being friendly
but when I said HPV
she got up and scooted down three chairs from me.
You see,
the nurse wouldn’t even look at me.
And I was gone, away, in another country.
If o n l y I woulda known
that she was gonna be: completely alone.

It figures that men are the carriers
and women are the victims.
Could you even i m a g i n e if men were the victims
and women were the invaders?
The thought almost makes me laugh.
It almost makes me laugh.

I AM NOT A SLUT I want to yell to my mother.
Yeah I’ve fucked women, and men,
but I AM NOT A SLUT.

Research shows we are not alone.
Over half of sexually-active people get hpv.
That phone call the doctor my pap abnormal.
Not normal.
every pore in my body bloomed, like a flower on fast-forward
sweet sweat,
fingertips tingling up to the teeth,
my heart humming buzzing numbing: abnormal pap.

Why wasn’t I there, with my best friend? To hold her when other women wouldn’t. Take a look around you.
Do you know that 80% of women will have had genital hpv in their lifetime?
Do you know
that I would have rubbed my vagina on that nurse’s face.
HOW DOES CANCER TASTE BITCH.
We’re supposed to be sisters through this.

1 comment:

Peggy Plews said...

Just checking up on who was following me: You are an absolutely fabulous writer, Brooke. Don't ever stop.