There is an issue in my relationship which I’ve been desperately trying to hide away for four years. A big, purple, shiny, naked, lumpy, bulging, ever-growing animal of an issue. I’ve tried to shut it in drawers, stuff it away into garbage bags, smash it under large pieces of furniture, and drown out its noise with my own mindless chattering, only to have Mark bust it back out of whatever constraints I’ve put it in and let it take up residence front and center on our bed. It started out small and manageable, but after four years of festering it has now become too large and unwieldy to ignore.
Birth control pills, or the lack thereof, have been (paradoxically) taking up all of my mental space in the past week.
I’ve always been a very logical lady; one might even say “vulcan-like”. On more than one occasion friends have compared me to a robot. That ever-present voice of logic in my brain tells me that oral contraception has been proven to be safe, effective, and not horribly expensive, and yet all the reasonable arguments in the world can’t stop me from avoiding any and all actions which may result in my acquisition of this wonder-drug. Don’t get me wrong, I love the pill as a concept. Maintaining women’s reproductive freedom is high on my list of priorities. I would be ecstatic if every woman in the world were on the pill… except me, that is.
So why this aversion to something so clearly beneficial?
It’s definitely not a desire for children. I already work with children, and as much as I love my students, I don’t need them contaminating the other areas of my life. Not yet.
I tell Mark a large part of my aversion is biologically-based, and that is true to an extent. I am terrified of significantly altering my hormones which, for the past 23 years, have been pretty self-sufficient. I’m afraid of destroying the balance. It would be like destroying the Hamburglar’s fragile balance by introducing him to hot dogs. He would doubtless become addicted to those questionable meat-sandwiches, too, willing to do anything to acquire them. Soon, he would be operating outside of the law (as he is accustomed) to get his hands on some sweet imported sausages. This would cause him to become classified as just a regular burglar without any Ham-related specialties. Without his cute, pun-laden prefix, the courts would have no sympathy for him, he would be punished to the full extent of the law, and his life would be essentially ruined. That’s why you can’t introduce new sub-par foods to the Hamburglar, and it’s why you can’t introduce new hormones to me. Similar to new foods upsetting the fictional character’s fragile psyche, new chemicals could upset whatever balance I have going on and throw my life totally out of whack.
Apart from this (admittedly overblown) fear, there is another, much larger reason why I always avoid taking this next step.
I’m more than a little afraid of commitment, and altering my body chemistry for the sake of someone else seems like a weirdly big commitment to me. Like bigger-than-marriage big. You can always nullify a contract, but medications can do permanent damage to your body. At least that’s how I see it. Of course I couldn’t tell Mark this. He would argue that if I’m not committed to us after over four years, there’s something seriously wrong. Hell, maybe there is something wrong with me. I know 23 is not that young anymore, but whenever faced by commitment here I still cringe away as if you had presented me with something several days dead. Mark is the only man I’m with, and has been for years, but I feel like this pill will be biologically committing me to him for an extended period, if not forever. For reasons I’m kind of afraid to explore, I’m still not ready for that. What if I never am?
Regardless, I have an appointment to see the doctor this week and discuss my options. After four years of holding out, this thing is finally happening. There’s no other way I can put it off. All I can hope is that this lumpy, bulging, ugly purple animal and I can become friends after all.