Stop me if you’ve heard this one.
A girl walks into a bar and says, “Give me something strong and straight up, my back is killing me.” And the bartender says, I’m sorry ma’am I think you’re confused, this is a hospital not a bar.” And the girl says, “Oh I know. Where else would I go to have my ginormous fibroid infested uterus pulled through my Who-Ha? But, hell, you’ve gotta have something fermented around here.” The bartender, looking concerned, says, “Maybe you should start with a hair cut? That always perks people up when they’re feeling dire.” And the moaning lady on her 4th cancer surgery leans through the curtain and says, “That’s hysterical”. And I say, “No, it’s a hysterectomy!!”
A hysterectomy and a hair cut. Two bits! (Look it up millennials 🙂 )
So, from this “joke” I have exposed two epic details about myself. Private details. Raw vulnerabilities. I have casually, callously, exposed pieces of my sicker sides in both mind and body. If I were you I’d be questioning if I should read any further because two things are now abundantly clear.
(Not necessarily in that order.)
So, what do I do now? I feel big changes coming, The flood gates are open!
So, what am I going to do?
I have no idea.
I can tell you what I won’t be doing. I will not be writing another joke anytime soon, I will not be birthing any more babies, obviously, and I will not be whipping my hair up into a high bun, maybe ever again.
I admit I am a bit surprised by this “What do I do now” question. I’m not sure where it came from as I had a tumor removed that just happened to be attached to my uterus (sorry for the gross display) not my soul. But this question has been poking at and bugging me since my stitches started poking at and bugging me, and it’s demanding an answer. It’s demanding action.
It seems getting a hysterectomy at 41 has approved a level change for me, an opening to the next phase of my womanhood, or lack there of, as the case may be. I mean, maybe I should throw a party and burn all my old tampons. OMG, Am I less of a woman now? No. That’s dumb, Kerri. Honestly, I am grateful to be rid of the thing. If that nasty mass was the host of my 6 year burdensome back pain and extra puffy tummy then take it and good riddance! Plus, they didn’t take my ovaries so I’m not hormonal. Well, any more than usual. And let’s be honest, between my age and the certainty with which the doctors believe Buddha’s epilepsy is genetic I wasn’t planning on popping out any more kids. Not that I popped out the first one. Nonetheless, this was the right thing to do at the right time. So what’s with the pestering subconscious?
I got my hair cut because it won’t stop falling out due to stress. I do look less like a hoarder, crazy person and am told I’m very with the times now, sporting my LOB, so that was a win. And I had an, albeit major, surgery that also removed even more excess baggage and I feel so much better for it. So it’s a win win.
But this question!
It won’t leave me be. Something weird has happened to me since becoming womb-less. It’s as if my surgery not only released my lady parts but there, also, began an unsolicited torrential purge of mind, body, and soul. (I guess it really is a gateway. HA! Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Everything womanly about me from my organs to my relationships began shifting, dramatically. Demanding Change! Calling over and over, “What do I do now? I don’t think I can go on as I was before.”
Maybe this shift is because a major, identity building piece of me and my younger fertile years are now irrevocably in the past. Maybe the fact that it was my girly parts being messed with made room for my inner emotional self to start messing with the spiritual things about me that make me girly, or womanly as I am now considered.
Maybe my subconscious figured that since the womanly flood gates were already open and I’d be laid up, forced, against every bit of my nature, to be still for a few weeks, this was the perfect time to take stock in my life and where it has led me, and/or left me at this point, as a woman. Either way, with my uterus suddenly gone, BAM, exploding from every pixel of my soul comes mom issues, wife issues, daughter issues, and all manner of woman issues I didn’t even know I had, ready to be addressed and relocated. The spunky girl goggles are now expensive bifocals (although vintage, sassy and cute) and nothing looks the same.
So what do I do?
I have long talks with my husband who is very supportive but squirms every time I say the word vagina.
I book a girls weekend with my sister.
I’m going to get a tattoo.
FROM THE TOP it will say. I love it!
Yes, I’m 41 not 21. No, I am not a tattoo person. Yes, I think it’s a great idea. No, this is not a midlife crisis. I don’t think. No, it’s definitely not a midlife crisis because I am not filled with doubt as I should be in a midlife crisis, and have been my entire life. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Suddenly I feel like an Amazon Chieftess. Granted an older fatter, not quite tall enough Amazon Chieftess, but a bad ass nonetheless. I didn’t feel like that a month ago. Maybe the change has been in the works for a while, but taking its damn sweet time, and my hysterectomy pushed it over the hump. Either way, I don’t want to forget the confidence this shift is giving me, even if I don’t know exactly what to do with it yet.
It might be crazy, but it just may be the lunacy I’m looking for. (I’m full of the terrible jokes today, huh? Sorry Billy J.) Regardless, I am becoming rooted in my own sense of things in comfortable ways as I haven’t been able to before. For some inexplicable reason losing my uterus has not only made room for my other organs but has also made room for me to live my life without wondering what others are thinking of my choices. I am actually thinking for myself as myself. It is at once exhilarating and terrifying, but it’s awesome.
I’m sure I have always had this power but my ruby slippers just ended up being a sick kid, a tumor, and 41 long years. Whatever.
So what do I do now? A new job, a new hobby, a new craft?
No that’s not right.
No, not right either. Most of my life I don’t want to do over, especially some of those boyfriends in my twenties! And I’m extremely proud of my career even if I never reached the point I thought I should have reached.
I’ll just say, From the Top.
As in dance, each performance or day can be it’s own beautiful disaster, but when it’s done you have the choice to say, Ok, again From the Top. A 5, 6, 7, 8.
Here’s my chance.
So, What do I do now?
For the big picture? I have no idea.
Besides the hair cut and the booked sister weekend no major action has yet confirmed this change. I have eaten like crap during my recovery even though I didn’t want to, so I’m not any skinnier. (My weight has always been a bar for my mental health, so that was no help.) The doting husband with the ramen and the ice cream was totally worth it though. Oh yeah, I took the head of the table as an advocate for my son. Literally, I took the head of the table at my son’s IEP meeting and let everyone else flank my sides. This is the meeting where school teachers, shrinks, counselors, and the principle determine the services my son gets and what they think is best for him. And I did good!
Other than that, I have no idea what big changes lie in wait for my recovered form to pounce on and fill me with power and confident action.
Whatever I do decide, after I finish healing from the hysterectomy and then my tattoo, I hope it’s big and wonderful. I hope the confidence I am all of a sudden feeling takes up permanent residence now that there is more room both physically and metaphorically. Maybe as an added bonus I won’t have to pee every 20 minutes, Talk about a win, win, win.
I am curious to meet this new me. I am curious to discover her. I am excited to design her, set her on new adventures and see what she does!
I hope I like her. It would be nice, this time around, to like the woman I am.
Who knows, maybe I’ll become someone who learns to write good jokes! God knows, even without my hair or my uterus I’ll still have plenty of material.