Every year, many Mormons, post-Mormons, and Mormon-flavored people get together and talk about things — openly, intellectually, artistically. It is called the Sunstone Symposium. I took part in a Eve Ensler-inspired session titled ‘The Vagina Testimonies.’ Some talks were serious. Others, downright sad. Mine, of course, was funny and light and full of weird crafts. Here it is:
BERTHA GOES TO HEAVEN
THIS is Bertha.
Full name: Bertha Mason Rochester Brian. My uterus.
Bertha was born sometime in utero a few weeks after her conception. Once she was out into the real world, she grew up mostly ignored. When puberty hit she started spending more of her time hanging out with Stinky the Vagina, Pubella — Empress of the Map of Tasmania, and . . . Dolores.
That was when Bertha first started showing signs of her impending madness. Bertha got her period.
Bertha didn’t mean to wreak havoc on me. She didn’t know what she was doing. The new monthly schedule of hormones and effluvia gave me bouts of depression and feelings of shame and confusion that bled into my nights.
I hallucinated. Saw things that weren’t there.
Translated them into a Mormon context and knew that they were demons and spirits, meant to tempt or comfort, damn or save.
Bertha mellowed out and normalized to a reasonable degree. She lived a rather dull life. Not much action. Occasionally, Dolores would buzz about the latest gossip about a boy, and then would fizzle out. Everything became numb and shut down in Bertha’s world. If it wasn’t for the occasional tingle from taking a bath, (Oh, Dolores!) I would have completely forgotten I even had a lower half.
And then, when I was still a virgin and a teenager, I got married.
And Bertha waited.
I gave birth to my son shortly thereafter.
Bertha did great. She held him and fed him and walled him from the threatening world. But something went wrong hours after the birth. Bertha went crazy.
Bertha started spasming with her powerful hormones. Sending waves of chemicals that crashed and destroyed. Bertha heard voices. She disassociated. She didn’t know who this small thing was, this baby, that she had expelled from her body. She felt trapped. Paranoid. Suicidal.
She had become The Hysterical Woman.
She became Mrs. Rochester, jailed in her cell of insanity, wanting to burn the world down.
Bertha did not self-immolate.
She took pills instead, that made her feel normal and took her night terrors away.
Bertha handled herself through two more pregnancies. Birthed two more beautiful children into the world. She could be managed with medication and therapy, for great periods of time, but occasionally her darker side got out, regardless of the remedies used to soothe her. Bertha took a toll on my libido. When you’re bedridden with pain and bleeding three weeks out of the four, not a lot of action happens. Poor Stinky and Dolores. Poor, poor me.
It’s not easy to euthanize someone you love. But Bertha’s condition monopolized all of my time.
And I wanted my life back.
Almost a year ago from today, July of 2011, I had a hysterectomy. I never saw Bertha as she truly was. Raw from my stomach. While I was under anesthesia, they put Bertha in a bag and delivered her to the hospital incinerator. Bertha finally got the immolation she always wanted. I never got her ashes.
Sometimes I wonder if Bertha moved on without me. If she is playing a harp in heaven with her fallopian tubes, skipping through vagisil-scented clouds, waiting for our reunion. Will she be celestialized without me? My wickedness parting us forever? I have no answers about the hereafter. And it saddens me that I don’t even have an urn of her ashes to place on my mantle.
I forgive you for the madness you caused, Bertha. I hope you went to heaven.
[Floozy’s plush uterus is from I Heart Guts. No, this isn’t a sponsored post. But maybe it will help Floozy pitch her line of Crochet Fashion for Uteri. -DameToadstool, Ed.]