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kill pill: part seventeen – exploding heart technique

Image courtesy Madeleine Ryan

Image courtesy Madeleine Ryan

This is the final instalment of Kill Pill. To follow Madeleine’s personal journey, check out the archives.

There’s something unsettling about this column ending on the number 17. My first thought was ‘they need to end on an even number’, then my second thought was, ‘well, nothing ends on an even number’. So here we are, Yours Unevenly.  

But 17 is, in fact, the perfect place to finish, because that’s where I started. I took the pill for the first time when I was 17 and I’ve come a long way, baby. This moment has been a decade in the making.

Rest assured, cleansing the body of the pill’s effects takes more than seventeen weeks. It takes years. A masseur I saw recently observed how intensely my body is detoxifying itself – still – after more than four months. Vitamin C, she whispered. Vitamin C.

Writing about the experience of coming off hormonal birth control has been one of the most healing processes I’ve ever chosen for myself. Yet the time is nigh upon me to stop identifying with the pill, or with the lack of it. An important aspect of this healing process involves releasing the pill completely. I’m no longer the one taking it, nor am I the one writing about coming off it. I’m not that girl anymore. I’m living the aftermath and the aftermath moves beyond the pill.

Hopefully the writing I have done can offer a point of reference for those who may choose to make the same decision, but I’m not in a position to offer my life to the cause. Part of me wanted to, though, because Australia is so embarrassingly behind on the issue. Someone needs to do the groundwork, because most of the links I’ve included in the articles come from North America or Britain. I’m happy they exist at all, I mean, phew.

And mark my 17,000 words: in 10 years a very different portrait may be painted of The Modern Western Woman. Because… Why would she choose to be medicated if proper nutrition can help heal her body (Forks Over Knives), and a connection with spirituality is proven to assist, as well? (Caroline Myss, Louise Hay) Why would she choose to have a caesarean if she didn’t need to? (The Business of Being Born) Why would she choose a “hormonal birth control” over less invasive alternatives? (The Fifth Vital Sign, Vegan Love)

The very idea of “hormonal birth control” seems absurd to me now. ‘Yeah, let’s allow an alien substance that contains “jibberish” and goes by politically correct lady-names to shut down my womb, the centre of my creative energy in every sense, and dictate the state of every function in my body – physical, emotional, psychological, mental and spiritual – in order to allow me to have sex ‘anytime I like’ or ‘anytime a man likes’?’ Besides, the pill doesn’t guarantee the sex is going to be good, or intimate, or with someone I love. And if the person I’ve chosen to share my body with has an issue with my being off the pill, or is impatient with it, they either need a serious talking to or a serious dumping, as distinct from being told, ‘oh, don’t worry, I’ve altered myself completely in ways I don’t understand, and chosen to remain disconnected from my natural cycles so as to be ready for this moment of impulse’.

The pill is not the easy option for anything. Don’t be deceived. Women are intelligent, intuitive, nurturing, sensitive, powerful beings who need to respect their bodies and the power of what they put inside them, whether it’s: food, pills, body parts or thoughts. Every single thing we feed ourselves counts. I see that now far more clearly than I did 17 columns ago, and I’m grateful for it. It’s a diamond in the rough of synthetic hormones and it’s empowering.  

The womb is the centre of “birth” literally and symbolically. In Body of Wisdom, Hilary Hart explains how the womb holds an abundance of creative energy, whether a baby is brewing inside it or not. So by opening or closing that channel, a woman is switching on or switching off a lot of that power. In the mere 17 weeks that have passed since making the choice to go off hormonal contraception, I know that to be true, too. I’m more abundant than I have ever been – and not just in a financial sense. In a priceless sense: I have energy, I have clarity, I’m writing more, I’m expressing more and I feel less judgemental of myself and of others. No price can be put on these things, though the loss of them is costly indeed. 

I grew up as an only child in a household with two writers – critics, no less – and for various defiance-and-denial-laden-reasons, I never wanted to identify with writing. I have friends who are writers, I have parents who are writers, but “I am not a writer” I would tell myself. That’s changed now. I Killed Pill and saw a truth about myself, and about being a woman, that can’t be un-seen.

Pill is dead, and I didn’t know what I had until I killed it.


Disclaimer: The views espoused in this article are that of the author and not Lip Magazine.

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