The Tiny EcoSport Promises To Hack Your Life

It started for me at 15. I ran out of class and into the weird partitioned bathroom stalls of my high school seeking privacy and a cold floor to lie on. I remember the pain being so bad that I was writhing around looking for comfort in my still growing and foreign teenage body. I stood on my head reasoning that if this much pain can happen standing up, then surely upside-down could be a kind of antidote. It wasn’t. After an hour or so of the worst pain I’d ever felt, I ended up home in bed, shellshocked with Advil, rest, an electric heating pad—and the nurses and my well-meaning mother saying that cramps can just sometimes be really bad. The thing is, this was hell, though I didn’t know how to say it. I didn’t have the words, or the confidence past the comprehension that this was anything but normal.

I was a late bloomer, only getting my period that same year or the year before. I remember the songs that were on the radio at the time. I remember almost falling into a fryer the next year at my summer job at a seafood take out place (this was the Massachusetts). My boss physically caught me and I ended up vomiting and bleeding and shaking and seeking the same cold on the outhouse floor of the rickety clam shack. Again my mom picked me up. Again I was in shock. Again I slept it off, shrugged it off. I went on with things, not feeling I had the right to question any of it. I had never been exactly normal and I think a part of me figured this was just another way in which I was so very different from the people around me. At that age you don’t quite get to choose.

I started having sex that year and a first trip to a gynecologist left me with a triphasil birth control pill that had both the promise of keeping a teen pregnancy away, which worked, and also the promise of lessening my cramps—which didn’t. I managed through detachment, like we do when we’re young and some things are too big and too painful, and we think it’s just the way they are. I had been a gymnast, a dancer, an artist, a singer, a tomboy, adventurous—and that all switched to more escapist pursuits like smoking pot, drinking crappy wine in the woods, and more teenage sex, the ultimate beautiful distraction. He was broken, I was broken, my family communication was broken, and we just got on with things.

I moved to New York City at 19 and I had a job as a model. I fainted during a shoot, and again I found myself in the studio bathroom seeking the cold tiled floor.

Here starts the sound-crushing, confidence-killing feeling. Knowing you can feel like you’re dying, and the ones who need to help you are convinced—and convince you—that it’s all in your head.

I had a job as an au pair in Tribeca. I fainted in the middle of the tiny triangle that is Tribeca Park. Vomiting, a group of kind people woke me up. I crawled to the house of the parents I worked for (pre-cell phones, I think I had a pager) and called my best friend to take me to the hospital. This was the first time. I didn’t think I deserved an ambulance. For bad cramps?

I was told to go on the pill (I was already on the pill) and that I was stressed. That some women have really bad cramps. They wouldn’t give me Advil at the hospital in the West Village. So it must be me. Here starts the sound-crushing, confidence-killing feeling. Knowing you can feel like you’re dying, and the ones who need to help you are convinced—and convince you—that it’s all in your head.

I started studying, making this my job. I learned that I needed an endocrinologist, and I found one. He asked me out to a club while I was sitting on the examination table. I squirmed, I declined, I wanted to fucking scream, I wanted to fucking punch the guy for asking me out while I showed up there, vulnerable, hopeful, seeking answers like my life was hanging in the balance. I don’t remember what I did. I do remember not getting answers.

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