The Men in Black

 

Once, a long time ago, before I was even born, my mother was a Jehovah’s witness. My family is full of secrets and I know virtually nothing about her life at that time. She probably had some awesome double life we’ll never know. But my mother eventually left the church. She moved many times and met my father and then, for some reason, had more children with him.

 

Growing up, my mother HATED Jehovah’s witnesses. I never knew why. I never even understood who they were. Every few months I would see them. Always two men (different men each time). Always in white short sleeved button downs with dark ties and trousers. Always riding bicycles.

 

From a young age I was fascinated by them. Who were they? What did they want with us?

 

When we moved, they seemed to follow us. I thought this explained my mother’s hatred. No matter what she did, these people would not leave us alone.

 

As I got older I started to believe they were part of some government conspiracy. Like poorly dressed Men in Black. Which I knew were real from all the books I’d read of eyewitness accounts after reported UFO sightings.

 

I was pretty obsessed with UFOs as a kid. And I didn’t have many friends. It probably had something to do with all the UFO books I read.

 

When I became an adult I discovered they were a religion. And not even a good cult-y one like Heaven’s Gate. Fun fact: I learned about meteors AND cults for the first time with that one. But a part of me has always preferred my conspiracy theories to the truth.

 

A few years ago, I moved in with my brother. The apartment complex we lived in was a common target for Jehovah’s witnesses. They came frequently. Almost on a monthly basis.

 

It was annoying. I rarely answer my door, even now. I am paranoid about unexpected company. It’s rarely good. It’s rarely something I am interested in. So we generally ignored them when they knocked. But still, it was irritating.

 

One day I was home with my then boyfriend, A. I am not sure why I was taking a shower in the middle of the day. Probably A and I had just finished having some messy sex. You know how it is.

 

I got out of the shower and was getting dressed when the doorbell rang. I could see through the partially opened blinds that it was the Jehovah’s witnesses. I decided to go ahead and answer the door this one time.

 

I pulled open the door with a wide grin on my face. “Hi!” I called out, cheerily. “How are you?”

 

The two men immediately backed away from the door. They did not seem to know where to look. They were holding their hands up as if to ward me off from advancing and possibly attacking them.

 

I was wearing a pair of pink mesh underwear and nothing else. The underwear were mostly translucent. And I was completely topless. I may as well have been naked.

 

One of the men stuttered that I appeared to be busy and that they would come back another time. But I insisted that I was not busy and invited them to come inside and have a talk about god and religion and whatever else they wanted.

 

They, not surprisingly, declined my invitation and practically ran from our front porch. They never came back for the entire time I lived at that address. I probably scarred them for life.


I still have a pretty bad habit of answering the door in various states of undress when I have unexpected company. But that’s why you should always warn me before coming over. Or you may not like what you see.

Suppository

After this post, I figured I may as well bite the bullet and finish what I started. So, here you go, the next humiliating thing that happened on that hospital stay.

Two days after the fingering incident, the hospital and my doctor were interested in releasing me to go home and recover in the comfort of my own bed. Where the TV  isn’t censored. It’s a religious hospital and I can only go so long without seeing adult language, adult content, and nudity.

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I took this beauty from the same chain of hospitals. I wish I had taken a picture of the 20 foot tall mosaic at my hospital. I may go back and get one. It’s worth it.

Some of you may not know this, but you aren’t allowed to leave the hospital after a surgery until you have a *ahem* bowel movement. (I won’t be offended if you choose to skip this post and move on to the next one).

The problem was that I was not having one. Between the reaction to the morphine, the physical pain, the emotional humiliation, the medicines, and the terrible cardiac ward food, nothing was forthcoming.

Every time the nurse came in she would check the toilet to see if I had had one. Because in the hospital you are not a trustworthy adult. You are a petulant child that must shit into a pan to get released.

Another day went by. Waiting to be released from the hospital is exactly how I imagine hell to be (if it existed). You are in serious pain. They wake you up every few hours all day and night to poke you with needles and press on your wounds painfully so you never get a goddamn minute of sleep. They humiliate you. There is no much bullshit and red tape. And then, you can’t leave. Ever!

Finally the nurse came in to talk to me directly. This was the same one from the fingering story and she had been avoiding me in an obvious and humorous way. She told me that it had been 4 days with no movements and it might be a good idea to take a suppository.

I didn’t know what she meant by a suppository, I mean, I knew what one was. But I thought that’s how you gave pills to horses and how teenagers get really fucked up on ecstasy.

Fun fact: A suppository can be administered not just up the anus but also in the vagina or the urethra for men. You’re welcome.

For my five male readers; there you go, gentleman.

But she was talking about giving me some kind of stool softener suppository to help me “go” so I could get the hell out of the hospital. I really really did not want to do this. But I wanted to go home more.

She got me the suppository. It was huge! Which I guess makes sense because it’s not like I was trying to swallow it.

Like a fucking missile!

I went into the bathroom. Remember the whole serious agony/heart surgery thing? Yeah, there was no way I could contort myself to get this pill in my own ass. I could still barely bend at my hip bones.

I’m glad I got to use this picture.

I called the nurse back and told her the situation. The look on her face was one I will treasure for many long years to come. I swear to you, I could read her mind at that exact moment. And she was thinking “Seriously, bitch? I already had to root around in your nasty vagina. Now I have to put my hand up your ass? Fuck this job.”

But instead she tried to convince me that I really could do it if I just tried harder. And I assured her that there was no fucking way I could bend like that without re-opening my wounds.

I did not feel the slightest bit bad for her. This was her job. And if anyone was going to be embarrassed it was me. And I had instead chosen to find it all very hilarious. But that may have been the drugs I was on.

At this point, A stepped in. He offered to do it.

I tried to talk him out of it, mostly to fuck with the nurse. But he was very insistent on putting that suppository in my ass (you men, so obsessed with anal).

So we went back into the bathroom and he assisted me. I assume nobody wants the gory details of this, it was pretty straightforward anyway.  I have never taken anything for constipation before or since. But I can say it definitely works as intended. I was released later that day.

Of course, I developed a huge hematoma and had to go back in to the hospital almost immediately, but that is a story for another day.

Menstruation

Growing up, I was given to understand that the terrible experience of menstruating was to happen once a month for most of my adult life. It sounded like a pretty shitty deal to me, but whatevs, being a woman sucked sometimes. Or most of the time.

 

In my naive youth I had thought I was only going to get my period for one day every month. It still sucked. But I could deal with it for 1/30 of my life.

 

My parents never talked to me about it. Not surprisingly considering the sex talk I got. Not one of my four older sisters talked to me about it either. Also not surprising considering how much older they were than me and that we all kind of hated each other.

 

I didn’t get my period until I was 14. The same year my little sister got hers. I was seriously underweight and that probably delayed it. Also, I was pretty sure I had been delaying it through sheer force of will which was the same reason I never had a pregnancy scare before the procedure (at least in my mind). I may be overestimating my will here.

But seriously, I am all ‘mind over vagina’ over here.

I was wholly unprepared for the immense shame I would feel in getting my period. It didn’t matter that I rationally knew every woman menstruated. It didn’t matter that I logically knew I had done nothing wrong. It was gross. And bad, somehow.

 

I didn’t tell anyone for the first few months. I threw away my ruined underwear when it caught me off guard. Which happened very frequently at that age. I used up the feminine products my sister had left when she moved out. Then used the little money I had to buy my own. Then just used toilet paper for one awful month.

Also, we were poor. So it was this bullshit.

One day my parents were in my room. I don’t know why. But they went through my closet and found a bag of used feminine products. I would keep them in my closet until it was over and then sneak them down to the trash can outside. The perfect crime.

 

I was found out. My mother sat me down and tried to have the menstruating talk with me. I wanted to die. If it was possible to die from shame and humiliation I would have right then. I was nauseated by my shame. My face was burning, my heart was pounding. I just wanted to say whatever needed to be said to end the conversation. I couldn’t even hear her over the sound of my heart beating and the blood rushing to my face and neck. She could have literally said anything to me.

 

Besides,  I had already been menstruating for months and months by this point. She had nothing useful to tell me. Except that it would hurt and that I wasn’t allowed to wear tampons till I was 18. (I have no fucking clue why).

 

The thing was, it didn’t hurt. I was so thin that I hardly ever even got my period for many years. And even when I did, it was short and painless.

 

Little did I know, it was biding it’s time. Because I believe my period is sentient. And it hates me.

 

I know there is supposed to be a 28 day cycle. Bullshit. My cycle is: when do you have something important planned? Good. That day.

 

Going to a party? Have a date when I finally decide to sleep with that dude? Going out of town? Getting hijacked by pirates? Having heart surgery? I’ll be on my period for that.

 

Think I am exaggerating? I’ve had 5 heart surgeries. I was on my period for 4 of them. That is not a coincidence. I’m sure I will even be on it during my honeymoon (if I ever have one). Or if I am ever hijacked by pirates.

 

Once, during my heart surgery phase, I went up to see my mother. I was on blood thinners at the time. Yes, they do thin all your blood.

 

I was already having issues with my blood. I wasn’t building red blood cells properly. I was bordering on anemia. I kept losing so much during my surgeries. And I was a vegetarian.

 

I had planned to get my period up at my mother’s (which I did, thank you). By this time I was using the Diva Cup. Which is really going to be a wonderful story for another post coming soon.

 

Diva cups are awesome. I can’t recommend them enough. Blah blah blah. Read about them here. (And no, they aren’t paying me for that glowing endorsement, but they should. Maybe by the next period story).

This little guy.

But being on blood thinners meant I needed two lines of defense against the enemy. The cup and the pad.

 

My mother and I went out for a day of shopping. We went to one store and I “refreshed my defenses”. Then we drove to the next store. It was about a 15 minute trip.

 

As soon as I got out of my mother’s car, I suspected something was wrong. You know how you just get a sinking feeling in your stomach and just know? Like when you let your best friend cut your hair in sixth grade and even though you hadn’t looked in a mirror or seen the look on her face, you knew something was wrong. It was like that.

 

I walked straight to the bathroom. Dreading each step that brought me closer to my doom. Hoping I wasn’t going to find what I thought I was going to find.

 

In the bathroom, I pulled my pants down and saw it. The horror. I had bled through. Everything. It was like the final scene in Carrie. (Shoutout to Stephen King!)

Pretty much my exact face.

I took my pants off and then my underwear. I didn’t know what to do. I rinsed my pants off in the sink. They were beyond hope, but I had to wear them out of the store. Thank god there was a handicapped stall with a sink or the other shoppers would have gotten quite a show.

 

I threw my underwear away right then. They were too wrecked to even put back on. I didn’t want to put my pants on, but I had little choice.

 

Have you ever gone to the bathroom while wearing a wet bathing suit? Not in the suit, but in a bathroom? And then you have to pull this cold wet thing back on you. And it feels so gross and clingy. I hate the way that feels. And as you already know, I hate not wearing underwear.

 

I found my mother in the store. She looked at me horrified. “What happened in there? How did you get soaking wet?”

 

And I for a brief second, I felt that burning shame from all those years ago. My face began to flush and my heart rate increased. And then I thought, fuck it. So many worse things had happened to me by that point. This was nothing. This was fucking hilarious. I explained to her what happened and we laughed.

 

We ended up walking down the strip mall to a Bed Bath and Beyond to buy the darkest towel possible so I would have something to sit on for the drive home.

 

Everytime I use it, I think of this story and laugh a little to myself. Even more so when someone else uses it. So if you ever come over, now you’ll know why I have that one brown towel.

On Nudity and Womanhood

When I was growing up, my parents liked to walk around naked. All the time. They were complete nudists. My father would come home from work and take off his dirty clothes on the front porch. All of them.

 

It must have made our neighbors uncomfortable. It always made me uncomfortable from a very young age. I didn’t like to be naked. I didn’t like seeing them naked.

Just kidding,. I wouldn't post a picture for this story.

Just kidding. I wouldn’t post a picture for this story. You’re welcome.

 

I didn’t understand how they could be so comfortable. They generally didn’t do it around my friends. Or their friends. But certainly around all of my siblings and I.

 

I didn’t realize how comfortable they were with being naked. Until the day that I was hanging out with a friend of my brother’s, B. I was ten or eleven and he was eleven or twelve. I’m pretty sure he was my first real crush.

 

It was midafternoon and he and I had been going to my place to hang out. We turned up our long dirt driveway and I saw my father’s red pickup truck. I figured my dad had either quit or got laid off. He was only employed about half the time during my childhood.

 

We snuck in the back door, hoping to make it up the stairs where we’d have some privacy. We weren’t doing anything bad, we just wanted time to talk to each other without my brother or little sister getting involved.

 

We had to pass through the kitchen to get to the bottom of the stairs. But my father was already there. He was standing behind the bar, shirtless.

 

I grew up in Florida and we rarely used our air conditioner. It wasn’t uncommon for us to be skimpily dressed during the summer. I honestly didn’t think much of it.

 

I was resigned to interacting with my father. I knew once he saw us we wouldn’t be able to be alone together anyway. B and I sat down on the bar stools and began chatting with my father.

 

To this day I couldn’t tell you what we said. But after about 20 minutes of conversation, my father came around from behind the bar.

 

He was completely naked. He told us he needed to take a bath and went into the bathroom. B looked at me and asked if we could go back to his place. He rarely came over again after that.

For the sake of the story, I’ll tell you why I can’t remember the conversation that day.

 

When I got back to B’s place, we went up to his bedroom. We were finally alone for the first time ever. I had thought he only wanted to talk to me. But he didn’t. He tried to kiss me and told me that he liked me.

 

I liked him too. But I had known that my feelings were bad. I wasn’t supposed to like boys. I was supposed to grow up and be a boy. Boys weren’t supposed to like other boys. Of course, now I know better, but I was 10.

 

I didn’t want to be a girl. All the girls I knew were dumb and mean. And all they cared about was boys and makeup. And they had babies, which I did not want. Again, now I know better.

 

I yelled at B and told him that he was gross. We stopped being friends that day. I went home and cried. And that is the day that I realized, and really truly knew, that I was going to grow up to be a woman.