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The cervix is a thin space, inside my vaginal canal. The vaginal canal is for two purposes, sexual activity and passing a baby. The first, sexual activity, is something that I find myself having difficulty with. Mainly because the babies are here. So the second function of the canal has been fulfilled. There is part of me that thinks mothers are not sexual, nor should they be. That once you are a Mom you should not want to have sex. There in the middle is my cervix, being rammed by a penis during sex, or forced open during childbirth, sort of buffeted around. It is not surprising, in light of this, and how I feel about it, that there is something physical going on with this one part of my body. It is never asked how it feels about it's role in things, it just does what it is expected to do. A third party assesses the health of this cervix, usually a man or a very rough woman, who scrapes and pries open a window to tisk and make judgements. The cells are sent to another stranger - even more impartial and knowing less about me, who makes another judgement and then sends his/her opinion of the matter to my doctor. My future is based on these choices of other people. My opinion is never requested, emotional factors are rarely discussed, and if I bring it up I am given that look, humored, patted condescendingly. As if my thoughts have not contributed to my bodies energy, and that negative energy has not created a physical thing to look at, as if that physical thing is not a sign that there is an emotional backlog. I can get someone to admit that there is something going on in my head regarding my reproductive parts, and I can get someone to admit that there is something wrong in my physical reproductive parts but I a can not get anyone to admit that there is a connection between the two. It was not an accident that I scheduled my first gyn appointment the same week as my first therapy session.

So, in this I also found the following revolting gem: My mom did not parent me in a way I approve of. I found her style of mothering revolting- This ties in that whole train of thought about mothers not being sexual - I have a mom who was overly, repulsively, unstoppably sexual, to my detriment. It left me feeling that I was powerless to resist the lustful intent of the male, that I could never stop a man who found me attractive enough to "want" me.

Right about when it was body part naming time at my house I realized with panic, that my daughter would mimic anything I do. I would be hyper aware that I would find myself wincing while wiping my own ass, that I sat with my legs crossed all the time, that I would avoid sex by saying I really needed a shower but didn't/wouldn't ever have time to take one...that when my husband hid his meager porn stash in the living room I poured over them. I had intended to masturbate but was unable to reconcile the fact that these women had sold the rights to their bodies, that they have these wild looks in their eyes, shell shocked, hungry, unfed...bodies airbrushed to look like smooth plastic with a shaved box that looks sterile and pre-pubescent, powerless and non-threatening, a treat served up for men only. I occurred to me, while mourning for these other women, my daughter is absorbing my attitudes. This could be her some day, as it could have been me, or a friend of mine. I would have passed it off liberation, as in, look at how powerful I am, I can make my car payment, I must be hot. I felt afraid - how could I pass on healthy sexuality to my child when I have no concept of this?

I remembered that long ago I swore I would never have children, saying it was because I was too selfish. Really, I was afraid that I would ruin them, make bad people who were unsure of themselves. The weight of generations of self-loathing women - pointing toward me and mine, making it my responsibility to stop the cycle. This meant that I would have to look into myself, make a good Mom, be an example of tenacity, self-respect and forgiveness, but it seemed too hard. Part of me had this fantasy of checking out early, not suicide, just death. I wouldn't have to face myself (not as a mere mortal at any rate) I would not be around to fuck up my children...YYYUUUKKK! This all bubbled up in one breath that felt like a truck hitting me in the chest.

I had a sick little fantasy of my early demise, the mystic vapor of myself hanging low over the casket, watching my friends and family, gathered to say nice things about me - how I did the best I could with so little, how I was a concerned and loyal friend (until I wasn't anymore - but who would remember stuff like that while I'm laying there dead?) Everyone would embrace my children and do a better job teaching them the ways of the world, and they would move into a motherless future with the ultimate excuse, oh the pity parties they could throw for themselves! One tearful look and the world would be theirs - the chubby cheeked cherubs with the quivering chins and big needs.

I realize, in the light of day, how morbid this really is. But nevertheless, it was there, like a bug in the operating system. I was projecting a childhood fantasy of my own, where my own mother was laying in the casket and everyone was full of pity for me and the pity felt like love and there were no more times of uncertainty and bleary drunken confusion “why are you mad at me" or "what do you mean we have to move again, I just made a friend". I would plant her in the earth and she would grow roots and the roots would be mine and then I could forgive her because she would be dead. There seemed to be a promise of acceptance, a place where my external family would embrace me. They could be near me now without my mother there to rub them the wrong way or tell them what a bad person I was when they were not looking but she was. Which was all the time.

Even when I was trying to be alone to discover who I was, what my parts were for, how my thoughts felt to me, she was lurking in the dark, springing out of nowhere to correct everything. Instead of the pity party fantasy, she lives on, still monitoring my head, still telling me I look fat and dumb, in my cloths and out of them. That I am a whore but not even a good one. That I am a martyr as well as a ticking time bomb mom, sure it’s all good when they are small, but soon they will try to name their parts, they will need privacy, they will have their own minds. As soon as it gets tough they will turn on you, she tells me, like I did to her. Then you will dry up, pickle your insides with vodka all day every day and no one will love you because your children will have told your secrets. This is the stuff that was going on, underneath the other me; the mask of me, the one people could like. I was the blameless cervix, stretched, taking up the middle. Trapped between the function of motherhood and the raw carnal existence. I had a part that could give me pleasure, but I would not allow that. I used it as a trap. I used it as a gift to others. Boundaries? What are those?

Would I really have to die to get it, to hear my people say good things about me, to witness the ripple I made, the indentation of my life and times? It is with a gross feeling that I admit to this, imagining people grieving over me as a measure of my self worth…Scary, yes, but less powerful now that it is out in the open, withering and squinting in the light of day. I can look at it from an adult perspective. I do not have to die from juxtaposition (the cervix is the dividing line between womb and vagina). I do not have to make other people feel sorry for me. I have a right to be happy, sexual, and free with my thoughts. I have right to be afraid, brave, angry, irritating, unsure, not always correct. I have a right to be sad, to feel cheated, to mourn, to stick up for myself, to make love. I have the right to be reserved, make friends, look dumpy, be sexy. And one is left to wonder, what was I when I did not feel I had the right to these things? What is even left over?

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