It is a wasteland within.

Perhaps that sounds a tad dramatic but that description came to mind -- with reference to my own body -- not too long ago. It was an embarrassing position, one that I was not used to in a doctor's office. It didn't matter if the physician was a man or a woman. That time, however, I was very glad it was a woman doctor who was attending to me.

As she continued with the examination, realising how uncomfortable it was for me -- and it was most uncomfortable, a physical sensation that I would not care to repeat -- she asked if intercourse was painful for me. I replied, a little hesitatingly, that it was uncomfortable. Then I wondered why I was reluctant to use "painful" to describe my experiences. I supposed it was because "uncomfortable" didn't seem as extreme as "painful." And I felt that I wasn't only exposed physically but something else, as well, had been exposed. It wasn't something that another should have known about. It was my personal life. But she had asked. So I answered. But I hadn't answered truthfully. Not really. Somewhat painful, somewhat uncomfortable. Yes. But that was years ago, a very intimate act that only happened a few times. I used to wonder if it was me, for after all, wasn't I the one with all that emotional baggage? Wasn't I the one who had been molested? And wasn't I the one who was less experienced sexually? I truly wondered if it had everything to do with me. Was I the one who couldn't, and so, didn't? Just because he had a wealth of experiences behind him didn't necessarily mean that he was always right. Or was he? Much later on, I wondered if it would have been different with someone else, someone gentler and more understanding. Someone who was willing to take more time, be more patient. Someone that I could actually connect with, emotionally, lovingly, in that very special way that I'd so often fantasised about. Or perhaps I really was dreaming, after all.

I've always dreamed. I've often lived another life inside my head. It was nothing new. In fact, it was something I was most comfortable with. My daydreams existed for a reason.

During the examination, the doctor told me that I had fibroids and that I would need to go for an ultrasound. It all sounded very straightforward and matter-of-fact. But it didn't feel that way. I knew that I wasn't the lone ranger; I knew that there were other women who shared similar experiences. At the same time, I felt, and I knew, that my body was going through changes. I could even feel it. Is this what it's like to grow older? I asked myself. To grow older with a woman's body, without having had any children. Again, I wasn't the lone ranger. I kept telling myself that. I kept telling myself that there were women out there, all over the world, who underwent traumatic experiences where their bodies were concerned. What I had, or didn't have, was nothing compared to many of those experiences.

Then a tiny voice reminds me that this is my experience. This is what I feel. This is what I know. This is what I have to go through. I'm a sexual being. Or I'm supposed to be. And yet I'm not.

And so I saw my insides as a wasteland. There's nothing going on there now except for those lovely fibroids which caused a bit of a scare later on as the ultrasound revealed a mass inside. An MRI was recommended and scheduled. I was very matter-of-fact at first when the doctor's office called to schedule me for the MRI. After I hung up the phone, it slowly dawned on me about what it involved and what it could be. I felt tired. And defeated. It was a delayed reaction and then I felt a little scared. So I walked outside with my dogs and talked to Him, trying to, and wanting to, accept whatever happened. After a while, I was all right again. At best, it was fibroids. At worst, well, I would find out later. I was matter-of-fact once again.

The MRI revealed that what I had was the former. It wasn't the dreaded "C" word, after all. I was grateful. But during that entire experience, I kept thinking, "Wasteland." I couldn't even feel like a woman anymore.

These days, my eyes turn to pretty clothes that make me feel feminine and yes, even womanly. Not every outfit satisfies but that can't be helped. Soft pink. I seem to gravitate towards soft pink these days, or my eye does, anyway. It is a pretty colour. Soft. Gentle. Young. Feminine.

When I think again about the ultrasound and the MRI, I wonder if I could have, or would have, become pregnant if I had really tried. Maybe even if intimacy were so much easier, my body was such that it would be difficult for me to get pregnant. I sometimes think that. But then I will never know because I never even tried.

Did the experience with my father take something away from me? Was it his fault or even partly his fault? Or was it -- is it -- all just part of life, just one of those things that happened?

Life changes. The body changes. Sometimes for the better, it seems. And sometimes it doesn't seem to get any better. Self-pity? Maybe a little. Or maybe it's more of a realisation that this is what life is. And I remind myself again that there are other women who have been through much worse. Who am I to dare to feel this way? Because this is who I am.

I am not angry. Anger isn't what I feel about the whole experience. Sadness. Regret. I suppose those two are what come to mind whenever I think about the wasteland.




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