By Mimi Hayes
There’s this thing about periods. They happen once a month. Well, in theory, anyway. I’ve also been told that paychecks are supposed to happen regularly.
But it’s July of 2019 and I haven’t had either of these things consistently since like January. Where’s my fetus-to-be, you ask? When will I be kicked out of my apartment for not paying rent, you’re wondering? Well, not so fast.
This year has been anything but regimented for me. For starters, I’m a millennial. My student loan payments are higher than my parent’s mortgage and my Bachelor’s in American History lasted me all of two turbulent years as a high school teacher in suburban Colorado. But I felt the pull of New York City and I followed it, as a girl who has watched You’ve Got Mail one too many times is known to do.
After crashing headlong into the reality of working in the city my first year; taking on internships, nannying, and writing instruction guides about how to winterize pipes and unclog toilets (my best work), I lost my healthcare.
Most importantly, I lost access to my birth control pills. I hadn’t realized it, but that tiny rectangular pack was the only way I knew my period was coming; the only way I could prepare myself and not destroy all my nice undies. These were pre-THINX days, back when I was left wadding up some 1-ply toilet paper into my vag whenever I forgot to plan ahead.
I tried to roll with the punches. I investigated the costs of continuing my birth control. $30/month. That’s what I spend in bodega coffee, but I mean, come on! And here’s the kicker. I haven’t had sex in…*gulp* like a year and a half. I’d like to politely add that men in New York City are all named Todd, work in finance, and say things like, “...Gotta be careful around the office these days, ‘cause ya don’t wanna get ‘MeToo’d!’” I’m sorry, but if this is what I’m working with then don’t blame me for promptly canceling my vagina for all men pending future notice.
So I stopped taking birth control and dutifully waited for my next period. I waited for six months. Do you understand how many student loan payments I’ve made in that time?! Well, I had to skip one in there somewhere ‘cause I got laid off, but still!
Part of me still wondered. Wait. Am I pregnant? I mean I live in New York so how crazy would it be if I sat in a weird puddle on the subway in my high-waisted shorts and welcomed some squiggly fellows into my precious uterus? Stranger things have happened, haven’t they?
By month three I was convinced I’d never have a period again. I didn’t want to celebrate just yet. Maybe it was early onset menopause. That would be my luck. I *was* sweating a lot in my sleep?
Then, I started to consider my lifestyle. My lifestyle which consisted of things like regularly shoveling a block of slightly moldy cheese into my face at 1 AM after a full day of side-hustles, corner-hustles, and wait-you-can-make-money-doing-that?-hustles. I’m ashamed, but sometimes I forget that drinking water is a thing.
My health had taken a back seat for the past few years, especially since moving to New York. My diet consisted mostly of bagels, dollar slices, and the occasional avocado. I’m not a doctor, but I don’t think this type of behavior lends itself to health. Deep down I’d kind of always known this, but I was too stubborn to fix it.
Not to mention the extreme fatigue, isolation, and daily grind that adds complex layers to my depression and anxiety that I can’t afford to see a therapist for. Is it really a surprise that my period is on strike?
After my mother started sending me threatening text messages, I finally saw my doctor last week. I told him I didn’t have healthcare anymore and I think he felt bad because he saw me for free. (Score?)
“Your body has been outsourcing estrogen production all this time,” he explained. “The pill does it for you. Your body forgot how to have a period by itself.”
Weird, I thought. How could my body just *forget* to lay eggs every month? As a Type A, this made zero sense to me.
“Also I’m guessing your lifestyle has changed a bit moving here,” he said.
“Indeed it has,” I said, eyeing a gigantic hole in my only wearable pair of shoes.
“It’s common to skip a period if you’re stressed.”
I doubted the stress of New York living would end anytime soon, but I told him I was going to Europe soon.
“Better get you back on that birth control then!” he said.
I would have found this presumptuous, but my doc is a six-foot tall Polish dude who literally had to look inside my butt last time I saw him to make sure I didn’t have hemorrhoids. I trust him with my life.
I brought up the price tag and he printed me off some coupons.
“Okay, fine.” I said taking the coupons. “I do like men with foreign accents.”Mimi is an author and comedian living in New York City. When she’s not faking her own death to get out of her student loans, you can find her performing, traveling on other people’s dimes, and sitting in dog parks by herself. Check out her book, her one-woman show, and her podcast, all things that her mother is very proud of her for.