My Bag

The Mystery of My Missing Period

By Mimi Hayes

mystery-missing-period

Thereโ€™s this thing about periods. They happen once a month. Well, in theory, anyway. Iโ€™ve also been told that paychecks are supposed to happen regularly.

But itโ€™s July of 2019 and I havenโ€™t had either of these things consistently since like January. Whereโ€™s my fetus-to-be, you ask? When will I be kicked out of my apartment for not paying rent, youโ€™re wondering? Well, not so fast.ย 

This year has been anything but regimented for me. For starters, Iโ€™m a millennial. My student loan payments are higher than my parentโ€™s mortgage and my Bachelorโ€™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 Youโ€™ve Got Mail one too many times is known to do.ย 

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.ย 

Most importantly, I lost access to my birth control pills. I hadnโ€™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.ย 

I tried to roll with the punches. I investigated the costs of continuing my birth control. $30/month. Thatโ€™s what I spend in bodega coffee, but I mean, come on! And hereโ€™s the kicker. I havenโ€™t had sex inโ€ฆ*gulp* like a year and a half. Iโ€™d like to politely add that men in New York City are all named Todd, work in finance, and say things like, โ€œ...Gotta be careful around the office these days, โ€˜cause ya donโ€™t wanna get โ€˜MeTooโ€™d!โ€™โ€ Iโ€™m sorry, but if this is what Iโ€™m working with then donโ€™t blame me for promptly canceling my vagina for all men pending future notice.ย 

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 Iโ€™ve made in that time?! Well, I had to skip one in there somewhere โ€˜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, havenโ€™t they?ย 

By month three I was convinced Iโ€™d never have a period again. I didnโ€™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. Iโ€™m ashamed, but sometimes I forget that drinking water is a thing.ย 

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. Iโ€™m not a doctor, but I donโ€™t think this type of behavior lends itself to health. Deep down Iโ€™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 canโ€™t afford to see a therapist for. Is it really a surprise that my period is on strike?ย 

After my mother started sending me threatening text messages, I finally saw my doctor last week. I told him I didnโ€™t have healthcare anymore and I think he felt bad because he saw me for free. (Score?)ย 

โ€œYour body has been outsourcing estrogen production all this time,โ€ he explained. โ€œThe pill does it for you. Your body forgot how to have a period by itself.โ€ย 

Weird, I thought. How could my body just *forget* to lay eggs every month? As a Type A, this made zero sense to me.

โ€œAlso Iโ€™m guessing your lifestyle has changed a bit moving here,โ€ he said.ย 

โ€œIndeed it has,โ€ I said, eyeing a gigantic hole in my only wearable pair of shoes.ย 

โ€œItโ€™s common to skip a period if youโ€™re stressed.โ€

I doubted the stress of New York living would end anytime soon, but I told him I was going to Europe soon.ย 

โ€œBetter get you back on that birth control then!โ€ he said.ย 

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 didnโ€™t have hemorrhoids. I trust him with my life.ย 

I brought up the price tag and he printed me off some coupons.

โ€œOkay, fine.โ€ I said taking the coupons. โ€œI do like men with foreign accents.โ€ย 

Mimi is an author and comedian living in New York City. When sheโ€™s not faking her own death to get out of her student loans, you can find her performing, traveling on other peopleโ€™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.ย ย 
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