My parents were very loving and put up with a lot of my typical childhood bullshit, but they knew how to put their foot down if I was being a little bitch. Once when we were between rest stops on a road trip and I whined that I had to go pee really badly and couldn’t hold it in anymore, my mom looked in the rearview mirror and said “You’d be amazed what the human body is capable of.” Which in retrospect sounds like Jeffrey Dahmer’s Grindr bio. Nonetheless, it sobered me right the hell up.
The point of this tedious antidote is that those whose parents don’t, well, parent, set their kids up to be like Lena Dunham. Her artist parents were both upper-echelon New York City art scene patrons, and allowed their young special daughter to run wild. True story from Dunham’s memoir – Lena and her friends even put on plays during gallery shows for the art world’s elite. Fun for her parents. Excruciating for everyone else. But her parents would be the last to know. Besides, of course, Lena herself.
While surely capable of generating gravitational pull, the solar system does not revolve around Lena Dunham. Despite what she was taught growing up. Her problems to not supersede all others. Her body is not the sacrificial vessel for human suffering. She’s just a girl. With social media. And by God she’s going to use it. All of this brings us to Dunham’s most recent update on her imploding reproductive system. Which might be related to her chronic illness detailed here two weeks ago? Who knows. We recently all celebrated the nine-month anniversary of Dunham’s hysterectomy, but yesterday on Instagram thanks to a NSFEyeballs bush-out photo and lengthy caption, we learned that even more celebrations are on the way, because she got an ovary removed:
Yesterday I had a two hour surgery to remove my left ovary, which was encased in scar tissue & fibrosis, attached to my bowel and pressing on nerves that made it kinda hard to walk/pee/vamp. Over the last month it got worse and worse until I was simply a burrito posing as a human. *** My mother took this picture after I spent 9 hours in the post op recovery area with v low blood pressure that the nurses were diligently monitoring. I was so out of it that I thought I looked sensually moody a la Charlotte Rampling (turns out it was more of a constipation vibe.) *** A lot of people commented on my last post about being too sick to finish promoting my show by saying my hysterectomy should have fixed it (I mean *should* is a weird one). That I should get acupuncture and take supplements (I do). That I should see a therapist because it’s clearly psychological (year 25 of therapy, y’all. These are the fruits!) But a big lesson I’ve learned in all of this is that health, like most stuff, isn’t linear- things improve and things falter and you start living off only cranberry juice from a sippy cup/sleeping on a glorified heating pad but you’re also happier than you’ve been in years. I feel blessed creatively and tickled by my new and improved bellybutton and so so so lucky to have health insurance as well as money for care that is off of my plan. But I’m simultaneously shocked by what my body is and isn’t doing for me and red with rage that access to medical care is a privilege and not a right in this country and that women have to work extra hard just to prove what we already know about our own bodies and beg for what we need to be well. It’s humiliating. *** My health not being a given has paid spiritual dividends I could never have predicted and it’s opened me up in wild ways and it’s given me a mission: to advocate for those of us who live at the cross section of physical and physic pain, to remind women that our stories don’t have to look one way, our pain is our gain and oh shit scars and mesh “panties” are the fucking jam. Join me, won’t you? ***
One of the most freeing realizations we can have as humans is that everyone has pain. Be it physical, emotional, financial, etc. This knowledge alleviates the pressure to convince others of our own suffering. It’s a given. Life sucks for everyone. Especially those of you who click below to see Lena Dunham’s hospital bush.
Photo Credit: Instagram