When it’s “that time of the month” I’m always reminded of my ex.
I got the copper IUD shortly after we started dating. I was done dealing with the side effects of hormonal birth control and didn’t wish to continue experimenting with other forms of it. The only major side effects of the copper IUD were painful and heavier periods. I had always had painful periods, but then again who didn’t. So I went for it. It was rough at first, the pain was and is unlike any of my previous periods, and at first I had cramps every day. I started popping Ibuprofen like Tic Tacs. I nursed my cramps every night and avoided being active because it seemed to increase the pain.
This was around the time my ex was trying his damnedest to have me go to the gym with him. I believe I’ve expressed my hatred of such public facilities. I would be motionless on the couch, trying not to moan in pain and he would be debating with me about how that he knew girls who would work out to help relieve the cramps. I tried to explain to him that these cramps were like I had the Antichrist kicking my ovaries with boots that had daggers jutting out of their soles, while some other demon was trying to pull out my uterus. And that was everyday for me for awhile. He continued to minimize my pain, saying I just needed to get up off the couch and do something.
When we’d get into arguments about totally unrelated topics, he would angrily bring up how I always complained of my cramps, like it was somehow an excuse to get out of doing stuff with him (such as go to the f*#%ing gym). I started to feel like my pain was in my head. That I was a cry-baby, a whimp, who didn’t know how to handle pain like the other women in his life . . . The ones who liked to exercise when they were cramping.
I didn’t realize at the time that my pain was an annoying inconvenience to him. He wanted a girlfriend who would go to the gym with him, despite her cramps. He didn’t care about the sacrifices I made for both of us to avoid having children. He didn’t care about my feelings or anything about me. Everything always centered around him. How dare I use pain as an excuse to get out of running on a treadmill. I complained too easily. Just like how I complained of that one time when he kicked me in the ankle. He said he barely nudged me. Or that one time he yelled and cornered me in the bathroom when I was trying to leave for work. He said I was being overly dramatic.
One day he said to me, “So you know how I bought those new boxer briefs? Well, I now know what it must be like for you to have cramps. I wore those briefs all day and they did not fit right, they were really uncomfortable and it was hard to concentrate at work. And I thought, that must be how you feel whenever you’re experiencing cramps.”