I am unapologetically proud of my reproductive justice activism, including the seven months I worked as an abortion counselor and sexual health educator at a local reproductive health clinic. Supporting female-bodied persons – and at times their partners, friends, family members and loved ones – as they moved through and processed their abortion experience was work I poured my entire heart into. In the near future, I hope to return to the reproductive health care field to serve in a similar capacity.
Á few weeks ago I was shamed for the pride I take in my experience. I was in my ophthalmologist’s office to have a stye removed from the underside of my upper eyelid (sexy, indeed). The walls are covered in pictures drawn for him by his children. His desktop is a picture of them all decked out in their ski apparel on top of some mountain in what I imagine is some place I can’t afford to visit in Colorado. A “family man.” He comes in, talks at me for 15 minutes, then leaves. My mom is with me. “Bella, don’t be so cynical” is her response when I start snapping off about how he doesn’t let me finish my questions before he starts to answer them.
We move to the operating room and he starts the procedure, which, let me assure you, is not very pleasant. There were multiple injections of lidocaine, then miniature forceps, followed by many failed attempts at grabbing a hold of my eyelid, flipping it over and pinning it down.
“Just make sure you don’t move around too much,” he cautioned.
So this doctor dude lances and starts digging around in my swollen exposed eyelid and decides to start making small talk with my mother about the instruments he is using.
“Oh, that is an interesting-looking tool,” she commented.
“Yeah, what it is?” I asked, feeling suddenly that I was awkwardly being excluded from the conversation surrounding the invasive procedure being performed on my body.