Coming to terms with my anatomy is a lifelong adventure, apparently.
I’ve been at war with my vagina for about three decades.
It’s unfortunate, feeling this way about such a powerful, awe-inspiring organ — one around which I shape most of my identity.
The truth is, I’m not that stoked to be a woman. A lot of the time, it’s a huge drag.
At 33, I still struggle to summon the confidence to say “vagina” like a big girl. It’s become the Voldemort to my Harry Potter: “he who shall not be named…”
Or she, I guess. I don’t relish the thought that my vagina might be a male. Although, it wouldn’t surprise me — we’ve been on different wavelengths for years.
I truly do appreciate all that it does:
- Gives life
- Makes sex possible
- Stands up to a karate kick far better than a penis
And yet, I’m extremely bothered by how little I understand it.
And I don’t mean the logistics of it. After popping two babies out of that thing, I’m intimately aware of how it works.
In fact, I know more about the where’s, what’s and when’s than I really care to, and it irks me that dudes are free to remain blissfully unaware of how their parts operate.
Even though, from what I’ve observed with my 5-year old son, they fondle them far more often.
And I can see how all of our parts are awesome in their own special ways.
It’s just, I think I’d rather battle renegade boners in math class than deal with springing a bodily fluid leak before I’m old enough to drive or drink Vodka.
And I sure as hell wasn’t down with the canned “you’re becoming a woman” presentation forced upon me and my fellow pre-teen potential procreators.
Which was FULL of holes, by the way.
My male counterparts at Trinity Christian Academy didn’t have to feign disinterest as a volunteer mom walked them through how to use a tampon. I bet they were playing basketball or talking about cooler stuff like STD’s.
They weren’t given a play-by-play of every size and capacity of menstrual pad, from “wrapping tissue” to “adult diaper.”
They weren’t lied to about leaks being very rare and unrecognizable…
… only to discover, just one year later, a softball-sized, rust-colored stain on the back of their brand new Old Navy pajama pants…
… while lining up for breakfast in the dining hall at summer camp…
… fielding questions from Todd Brainard about why there was Coke on their butt (nice guess there, detective).
They weren’t given misleading information about exercise helping with cramps, only to realize that even walking across the kitchen made them double over in pain.
No, sir. That sweet smorgasbord of embarrassment is saved for those of us with our sexual organs nested safely inside our bodies.
And if it weren’t bad enough leaking bodily fluids every three weeks…
… having to deal with a reproductive system that’s been prepping for childbirth since sixth grade…
… being forced to do the lion’s share of procreating…
… and then racking my brain for words that might explain to a 5-year old why mommy “pees blood”…
… I now get to manage the joys of hormone imbalance.
If Eve were here right now, I’d punch her right in the pussy.
I mean, are you kidding me???
I already spend 3–4 days each month dodging the bullets of PMS, fighting off the urge to deck total strangers and strangle my snoring husband in his sleep.
NOW, I’m swinging on an emotional pendulum from hot to cold at breakneck speed.
I’m crying at songs on the radio, slamming my bedroom door like a f*cking teenager when my kids ask me for more applesauce, recoiling anytime my husband gives me those tell-tale bedroom eyes.
And I suppose my biggest issue with all of this is that NOBODY F*CKING TOLD ME.
Sure, I heard rumblings. There were mentions of “menopause” and “hot flashes” and “mood swings” made by gals a couple decades ahead of me.
I thought I had time.
Suddenly, I’m losing myself to the same brain fog, erratic behavior and emotional deep dives of which I’ve heard rumors.
And this time, the rumors are true.
Yet again, I’m made a slave to my own vagina.
I’m chained to a reproductive system that just will not let up, wishing that secluding ourselves in the wilderness during our periods was still a thing (why did we ever stop? Is it because bears can smell menstruation? I’m pretty sure PMS can defeat any bear).
And though I wish it were accurate, my husband’s mystical theory that his recent vasectomy is causing my body to punish me (and, therefore, everyone) because it can no longer breed just doesn’t add up.
From what I can tell, it only gets worse from here.
I fear that the rest of my life will now be spent taking appropriate measures that enable me to remain (or finally become?) a decent human being.
Things like consuming alcohol and weed responsibly.
Eating lots of good fats and proteins while avoiding excess sugar.
You know: early death.
I’m from hardy stock. I figured I had until age 60 at least before I’d have to watch my salt intake and maybe cut down on the sweets.
At this point, I’m taking so many vitamins and supplements every night, I may as well be eating Jell-O and going to chair yoga.
But I suppose the upside to living so responsibly at my age is that I’ll be VERY prepared for all that awaits me in my golden years.
Low-sodium Ritz crackers and sugar-free candies won’t even phase me.
And look, the goal here isn’t to live forever. I’m only in my thirties and I can tell that would be a bum deal. This world is painful and ageing sucks. Eventually, I want out.
But while I’m here, I don’t want to be a walking Eeyore, raining contempt and bitterness on everyone.
I want my kids to remember me well, I want my friends to enjoy my company, I want to be encouraging to my partner.
And I’m convinced that not taking care of myself adequately creates one more barrier to the Holy Spirit’s ability to work through me.
(Even when it f*cking sucks a big, hard one).
These temples we were given are fragile. They don’t always work the way we wish they would and they crap out on us more often than we’d like.
The ageing process — and death, itself — feel so totally and completely undignified and wrong, like they aren’t supposed to be the way things end…
… because they’re f*cking not. Our souls are created to live forever, y’all. But for now, they’re trapped in this paper-thin shell of a body, which bruises and bleeds and dies.
All of which clues us in to the fact that we aren’t meant to be here forever, and helps to ready us for moving on.
At this point in my journey, I’ve just about seen the end of my binge drinking days. I need about 26.5 hours of sleep each night and I become practically bi-polar if I don’t eat three well-balanced meals each day.
I’m ready for heaven, where I can binge drink the best wine all day long, eat bacon and ham at every meal and never feel tired.
But first, I’m going to find Eve.
Together, we’ll toast the end of periods, PMS and hormones.
And while I’ll definitely razz her like crazy for f*cking all of us over, I’ll tell her that I get it — cravings can get the best of us, and I bet that was a damn good apple.
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