Just a girl, standing in front of a computer screen, trying to navigate and make sense of the world by asking Google things.
This is an honest review of you, The Pill, my companion of nearly 10 years. That I am now dumping. That’s right, my trusty, anti-acne, anti-baby sidekick – you are officially expelled from my life this week. Kind of like ending a toxic friendship.
Like every acne-faced 15-year-old who’s just discovered that they might actually want to be seen as attractive to other people, I was put on the Pill to clear up the surface of the moon that was developing on my face and back.
“This little magic pill .. I’ve been spoon-fed for years might just be the root of all my trouble”
Within a week an absolute miracle occurred – my cheeks were as smooth as a baby’s bottom and gone were the intense period cramps that left me curled up on the couch coddling a hot water bottle.
All was well in the world, and I was child-free for the foreseeable future. Not that at that point my fragile 15-year-old ego could even see sex in my future, but it was an empowering, comforting concept to be on contraception.
Fast forward, however, and the year is late-2019. I’m now 24, and sitting in a wellness clinic trying to find an alternative way to deal with my mood swings, anxiety, constant bloat, weight gain, loss of any sort of libido (I might as well be a nun), and the crippling feeling that this little magic pill and the subsequent antidepressants I’ve been spoon-fed for years might just be the root of all my trouble.
As the doctor acupunctures me below my belly button and glances at my sparkly belly ring (still 15 at heart in some ways, I suppose), he drops a lekker bomb that my hormones are completely out of whack and I must reject these man-made once-dailies immediately if I want to see my mental health improve.
A knot forms in my belly, and it’s not because of the little needle sticking out of it.
What if I go crazy? Will my boobs get small and saggy? What if I turn into a girlfriend from hell? Are there any hormone free contraceptives? I heard getting a copper IUD feels similar to death itself? Am I going to rapidly expand more than I already have? What if I, God forbid, somehow end up with a child? I am a child!
About 7 different articles into my research, my mind is set slightly at ease with the promise that after so many years on hormones I’m likely to be protected against all sorts of cancers, could possibly lose weight, and turn into some randy dominatrix.
I download a bunch of period-tracking apps, which now seem very new and exciting, and suddenly feel overcome by the idea that I will ovulate and be able to foster a sense of life inside of me one day. I feel like a 12 year-old getting her first period – “kid, you’re a woman now!”
I now think back on the negatives that this little miracle globe brought into my life. I’ve been tired and emotionally fragile for so long. My water retention is off the charts, I might as well put “watermelon” on my ID. Any sort of horny feelings are so foreign to me and I’m constantly depressed and tearful. I haven’t felt “natural” in years. Trading in my sanity for clearer skin now sounds like some deal you make with a demon in an alleyway that ends up ruining your life.
Of course there’s no way everyone who takes the Pill ends up in an abusive relationship with it…
But I’m starkly reminded of my hippy housemate in college telling me I’d be so much better off without it. Okay Nora, at the time I thought it was all your incense getting to your head, but you were onto something there.
As for you, Minerva 35: you’ve been a long time friend, but bitch, you’re toxic hey. I’d like to be myself again and the only way I can is to stop seeing you entirely. It’s for our own good!
Guilty Googles is an anonymous opinion column focusing on tackling social and cultural topics using the angle of a Google search. Sometimes it’s embarrassing, sometimes it’s fascinating, sometimes it’s hilarious. But it’s *always* entertaining.