I like biology, and if all goes well I’ll stay anonymous in this blog, as just another XX. What’s that?
For all of you who frown and back away when you hear the words ‘energy web’ or ‘photosynthesis,’ no worries. I hope this is a simple way to think about it:
Sex, just sex, is pretty spectacular, especially at the moment of conception from a biology standpoint. It made you, and me, and every person you like or hate alive on earth (I assume). Sex is how humans and a lot of animals are able to make more of themselves, so they don’t go extinct. Fairly successful for humans, obviously. There’s a lot of us.
In an expansive, roomy nutshell, this is what happened when I, a woman, was made:
The sperm makes its escape:
Sperm are like little Secret Instruction Files storage cells, living cramped in a dark bag.
Every single sperm cell has about half of all the instructions used to make the man (hair, skin, eyes, predispositions to cancers, etc). They are all a little different in what instructions they have, but each sperm carries half of the total instructions. At some point they get revved up and shot out the penis, like a million potatoes out of a big potato gun.
The Big Egg:
A woman has been brewing her eggs since she was a fetus in her own mama’s womb, and every month after puberty as you are so well aware, one egg tries to grow even bigger, sets dynamite and bursts out of the ovary, galloping wildly along the tubes in our bellies, whipping and causing general havoc… or so it feels like. Each egg contains half of the instructions used to make this woman.
When the sperm with its half of instructions meets egg with its half of instructions, it basically forms a complete book for ‘ How to make Another Human’. And then baby gets built, rather quickly for such a complicated creature.
What about the xx?
All right, so since those instructions are fancy, and fancy things get long or French names, we call those instructional books ‘chromosomes.’ The pair of half-books that instruct you to be female or male are ‘sex chromosomes.’ (Im flashing back to this moment when all my teenage students shivered and drooled or sank in their chairs crossing themselves.).
Mom’s pair of sex chromosomes have a very specific, superhero, agent Scully name: the ‘X’ chromosomes. Basically it’s a complete instruction book called ‘XX: how to make a female.’ Now, mom only gives half of her instructions to each egg. So, each egg only gets one X chromosome, or half the instruction booklet.
Dad does more or less the same thing with his sperm: his body’s complete instructions are made up of the pair of sex chromosomes, ‘XY: how to make a male’. Since sperm only get half of these instructions, some sperm get only X and some only get Y.
The ‘Y’ is the game changer, and the man is the only one that provides it. So the man is actually the one that determines the baby’s sex.
If sperm with Y joins egg with X, the baby will be XY- a boy!
If sperm with X joins egg with X, the baby will be XX- me! I mean, a girl!
So you can see why just biology is beautiful. The creation of a boy or a girl begins with just these little chromosomes, joining and unfolding themselves in an old, intricate dance.
Below is a dream I had once. Interpret as you wish.
…well, of course, Sometimes it gets ugly after that, maybe parents don’t like XX. They wanted XY.
and yeah… Maybe the XX gets you one or more of these free perks: teased, abused, fondled, raped, forgotten, ignored, victimized, marginalized. Your breasts, vagina, hips, cheeks, height, musculature, skeletal structure: all finishing touches of that XX that seem to shout out to the world, you’re a woman, woman, woman, woman. Sometimes a man forces you to have his sperm, forces you to make a baby, and it becomes unbearable. A beautiful thing made putrid.
But remember you were conceived, formed, and born as something pure, something so beautiful and beyond human words. Ineffable. If there is any magic in the world, it is in the science that is you, that you yourself are capable of creating, a living being wholly unique and made deep in a womb without prejudice or bias, a blossoming sphere of cells that doesn’t think or judge or preach. It just grows. Just biology.
I wanted to destroy him for destroying that purity, for making me feel detached from my right to have a child when I chose, and that I was housing his parasite. An innocent bit of cells that could have been my baby in another life, but that he perverted for his own cruel goals.
When I went to the clinic to abort, I walked past people with signs condemning me. Being a Midwesterner in the USA, I took it for granted they were all white and older, maybe 40s on up. Sure, I took their self righteousness personally. I suppose they liked to imagine me in hell, probably being raped by a pitchfork, no doubt, or if they were more kindly, just burned for all eternity. Now I don’t give a crap about hell, it exists on earth thank you, but it hurt to realize how people prefer you to suffer than step on their ideals, taint their vividly rosy lenses.
My impression of this ideal world of theirs, based on their signs, was a world where the clean, clear eyed baby and his parents, a strong man and young, demure woman, kneel humbly before poor Christ tortured on the cross, this little thoughtful family modestly dressed and of middle class status. A world where if you were a good Christian, why, this wouldn’t have happened to you, and if it did it was probably just temptation and weakness on both your parts and certainly you’re not THAT traumatized. It was just sex. It’s like having your house robbed, you feel unsafe and violated but you’re okay. Even if you were raped, how could you… Murder your baby? (Even the chicken/fish/human glob one, which never appears on billboards, interestingly).
They might not all say it, but they think it. I’m not white, I’m not Christian. I didn’t wait to have sex until marriage. But I didn’t get raped because of that. There is no ‘because I’ … It wasn’t just sex. I am not a house, I was not robbed of things. Rape is a physical act that results in the pyschological torture of a person who was treated as a non-human. As a slave. Whose ability to accept a man into her body was used to hurt her.
A rapist uses your identity, your sense of who you are in the world, to crush and control you. What is left? You people who stared at me and my belly, did you have a clue? Did you care to even think, simply because it didn’t, maybe couldn’t happen to you?
I wonder if they had ever had the experience of losing a part of what made you human: your right to your own body. I wonder what they would have done, if men could conceive.
My xx, my vagina, my source of physical pleasure, and all the assumptions I’ve had since I was a little girl that they were all mine, when I’d act out all my insecurities and pride: ‘Don’t look at them, don’t make fun of them’, then later, ‘look at me, touch me’. I was both insecure and proud of my vagina, breasts, and of just being a woman. All of that is me.
All of that was destroyed. Incinerated and shit on. I would have loved to do the same to those pompous signs.
My mother and sisters were there with me. I felt nauseated, sick, and angry. I felt lost and alone and abandoned by whatever it is made the world still ‘good’. There was the double doors and a small waiting room. My ID. Following a nurse to a small room where we sat on the floor. She assured me with her own story, and demonstrated how these long metal tools would be used in me. They looked like drumsticks, some thicker than most. Those I remember at least. It depended on how far along you were, I guess. They widen the cervix, the part that feels like a barrier inside and at the top of the vagina. There’s already a little hole there, too little.
They offered a drug to make it easier, I think it was called colloquially a twilight drug . I declined. I remember thinking I deserved to be in pain.
I always wanted to have a child. I daydreamed. I used to pretend to breastfeed my stuffed animals. I promise I stopped that early, but I still loved the idea of it, the exquisite unknown process where I toppled a domino with a brilliantly passionate act of sex and the rest swirled and fell perfectly, far beyond my own mind’s limits, millions of triggers and switches growing bigger and bigger in me until it was finally time for it to leave my body and I would be screaming… and I would then be skipping past all that in the daydream…baby in my arms.
I wanted the warmth of telling my partner and the look in his eyes knowing that we would be parents. I wanted the glow and happiness when it grew within me, the imagined feeling of feeding it from my own body. Of it needing me more than anyone in the entire world, just for that time in my life. I imagined a world where my conception of a human, of my child, began in romantic and sexual love, and choice. where daddy didn’t just rape mommy.
I talked to the little embryo when I found out it was there. Defensively, unhappy..not that it was there but that the whole world in which I was supposed to create it was burned up. I told it how it got there, maybe for my own ears. That it was residing in a zombie body. Mommy isn’t ready for you, for little hands and little hearts and trust and need of love. I had nothing to give it. I tried to eat better, and to sleep. I tried to be happy, since I read that such things as moms mental state can affect the growth. But I had a lot of pain in my belly. I didn’t feel it judged me when I hoped it was a miscarriage. I knew it didn’t think, didn’t condemn, didn’t even have much of substance to it. When I went for a scan, it was a small, circular looking mote of a human. It was not conscious yet, just tiny cells rapidly following their instructions and growing a little less chicken/human/fish mystery blob like and a little more human blob like every day.
When the doctor at the Planned Parenthood clinic and the nurses did the procedure, I cried. It hurt, yes, and maybe the sharp change in hormones they warned me about contributed. But I wanted to tell someone that it was not my wish, that I didn’t want it to happen like this. I didn’t care if I had a kid out of wedlock, I support other women’s right to have abortions, I just could not face that I was aborting because of rape. I told the nurse, through snot and tears and with the blood between my thighs, that ‘he did a bad thing, he did a bad thing.’ I don’t know if they understood what I was trying to say. Those were the four letters I could not say, an unspeakable evil for a long, long time.
He completely broke me, and I went home thinking about if it would make me feel better if I was just dead now.
Rough timeLine: (I am really bad with exact dates, I’m sorry, and these are not things I wanted to remember)
Hospital a week around October 2012
Raped in October after returning from hospital
Pregnancy test about 2, 3 weeks later?
Returned to my home country in December
Abortion in December or January 2013
***I found this site and wanted to share it- from a gynecologist’s perspective on abortions (those after 20 weeks) https://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/what-you-learn-from-doing-abortions-after-20-weeks/￼