I still remember the first time I read Because, Joshua Mensch’s lyric memoir about childhood sexual abuse. It was a summer morning, children were playing quietly somewhere in my house, and I was sitting at the kitchen counter. Joshua and I knew each other a little then and have since become friends.
It’s been a difficult couple of years for women and for liberals. For those of us who are liberal women, it’s been downright excruciating. Watching the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearings where Dr. Christine Blasey Ford offered pained, dignified testimony about the sexual assault she suffered in high school was particularly wrenching.
Having turned forty-two, having menstruated lo these thirty years, most often on my hands and knees or curled, drugged and sobbing, around the hot water bottle. Having borne three children and been stretch-marked and bloated beyond recognition. Having pushed those babies from my womb as each skull crowned like live coals against my perineum and lodged for good measure up my ass.
Every couple of years, I strip down to my underthings and let my dermatologist and her two assistants check my entire body for skin cancer. I admit I feel weird and a little chilly, being the only nearly naked person in the room, but I have become basically comfortable in my body and benign toward it. I even have the illusion, before the doctor arrives to examine me, that I am still, well, kind of hot.