On Monday I’ll be going in for surgery. I am tempted to be vague about the type of surgery. This is the kind of surgery that requires a pause before disclosure. But here’s the thing: I write about bodies. Specifically, my body, which is also a woman’s body (except when I’m wondering what that really is–we could wander off into a huge discussion around gender here but let’s not).
I am committed to speaking where others do not. What is not spoken? Labour and birth, surgeries, bleeding, leakages, ruptures and splits. My thesis is the act of speaking the abject and unspeakable, is the attempt to create a language that will unhide, that will make a space for all of us to tell stories of flesh, organs, fluid, bone.
I write my body because “we have turned away from our bodies. Shamefully we have been taught to be unaware of them, to lash them with stupid modesty; we’ve been tricked into a fool’s bargain: each one is to love the other sex. I’ll give you your body and you will give me mine. But which men give women the body that they blindly hand over to him? Why so few texts? Because there are still so few women winning back their bodies. Woman must write her body, must make up the unimpeded tongue that bursts partitions, classes and rhetorics, orders and codes, must inundate, run through, go beyond the discourse with its last reserves, including the one of laughing off the word “silence” that has to be said, the one that, aiming for the impossible, stops dead before the word ‘impossible’ and writes it as ‘end’.”
Cixous, H., & Clément, C. (1986). The newly born woman (B. Wing, Trans.). United Kingdom: Manchester University Press.
So on Monday I’ll be going in for surgery. I have a fibroid that has tripled its size in the last 12 months. It has veins. It keeps growing. They could try to remove it but the chances are good that I’d grow another one. The safer surgery is a hysterectomy; less bleeding, more successful.
I’ll be convalescing for four to six weeks. Yesterday I went to uni, filled out my sick leave application, returned my library books, met with my supervisor, and rinsed out my mug. As I left my supervisor’s office she wished me luck and told me to rest. Rest. That’s when I realised I’m not thinking of the next month and a half as a recovery period: it’s a field trip. What else could it be? The title of my thesis is ‘this body, written’. I’m about to be put to sleep and opened up. My entire reproductive system will be taken. I will wake with blurry eyes and an empty middle. It’s a field trip. I will take notes. Poetry is found here.