This time last year I had to leave a job I loved because I was too sick to work. I’ve since had two surgeries, cultivated an essential but bank-draining team of medical specialists, and developed a truly spectacular tolerance to painkillers.
For me, Endometriosis has been a nuclear bomb dropped on my life.
Scientifically speaking: Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) decides it’s a strong independent tissue that don’t need no uterus. Instead it grows…well, wherever it damn well pleases. Generally endometrium growths stick to your abdominal cavity — setting up shop on your uterus, ovaries, bowel, bladder etc etc — but there have been cases of growths being found in other areas of the body (like the nasal cavity, what the fuck?).
In severe cases, endometriosis growths can adhere your organs to your abdominal walls, or each other. Think Shelob’s cave from Lord of the Rings.
Oh but wait, there’s more.
It’s the first week of pride month and Sense8 has been cancelled. If that’s not ironic then I owe Alanis Morissette a beer.
In the days following the announcement, there’s been a lot of sorrow, a lot of outrage, and a spate of well-rounded articles detailing the immense loss to representation that’s fuelled most of it. But still, I see a lot of people—straight ones mostly—wondering at the voracity of the queer community’s backlash at the news. And I guess I can understand their confusion. Representation is representation, right? While Sense8 certainly had a lot of it, it’s not the only show out there with openly queer characters.
But that’s just it. All representation isn’t created equal.
In an industry that queer-codes its villains, fetishises its lesbians, overwhelmingly depicts its gay men slowly dying of AIDs, and flat out forgets people of colour exist most of the time, finding representation that doesn’t make me want to put my head through a wall is like finding a needle in a pile of other needles. Finding representation that makes me cry literal tears of joy…well, lets just say I’m usually notoriously dry eyed.
Until Sense8. Beautiful, diverse, found-family, feel-good, sci-fi mecca Sense8.
I have a problem. I’m compulsively driven to read the comments on every 13 Reasons Why article that crosses my Facebook feed. I know, I KNOW, I should know better, but here we are.
The one thing this practice has given me (other than stress-induced migraines) is a singular insight into the types of comments these articles inspire. All thirteen of them (HA!). Because every comment defending 13 Reasons Why against BLASPHEMOUS criticisms levelled by THOSE ASSHOLE mental health and suicide prevention experts comes in a finite number of variations.
So here I am, answering each one so I can maybe exorcise myself of the need to repeat myself in 7347687346 reply threads.
I don’t watch 13 Reasons Why, and I never will for very specific reasons, but I’ve been following its reviews – good and bad – because it stands to impact people, and it’s a subject I’m personally invested in for reasons that are about to become apparent.
Warning: I’m about to hit on themes of suicide and self harm. I’m also going to talk about the final episode so: spoilers.
When I was little I would frequently return home from visiting my father with raging ear infections. I was a water baby, practically living in his pool on school holidays which served the dual purpose of a) giving me the infections in the first place and b) distracting me sufficiently from the pain that my head was about falling off by the time I raised enough of an issue to make it to the doctor. My mother learned early that when I offhandedly mentioned something hurt, only to be distracted by a game of tag five minutes later, that that didn’t mean the pain wasn’t serious. I just had a knack for ignoring my body’s klaxons, right up until either the distractions ran out, or an emergency room visit was in order.
It’s something I never grew out of. Which is probably for the best because two decades later I was diagnosed with endometriosis.