Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Approaching 40: Vagina Zits and Other Crazy Shit

With forty rapidly chasing me down, I’ve noticed some age-induced oddities that paint a less than fabulous picture of what’s to come. Apparently, most of the crazy shit lies dormant when you are in your twenties, and starts piling up like a decade of dirty laundry as soon as you turn thirty-five.

Since this is my last year in my thirties, I thought I would take the time to bask in the glow of my physical and mental neuroses, and naturally, share them with the world.

Zits – A zit…on your face…when you are a teenager… is an unfortunate part of life. But finding a whitehead on (not in) my nether region was somewhat alarming. After coming to terms with the gross factor and vigorously searching Wed MD for my diagnosis, it turned out that I either had a mysterious form of cancer or a pimple on my vagina. Being that I’m not a hypochondriac yet, I went with the theory that it was, in fact, a zit. I dealt with it because I refuse to enter my 40’s with a pimple on my vag. 

Memory Issues – Do you have the “if-I-don’t-write-it-down-consider-it-forgotten” syndrome? I do. However, the severity of my memory issue goes way beyond list making. For example, I use my kitchen timer to remind me that I am cooking. That’s right folks – not to alert me when my meal is done, but to prompt me in the midst of preparing a meal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put a pot on the stove to boil water, only to find it completely evaporated a half an hour later. If a meal requires any attention while it’s cooking, my timer is solely responsible for motivating me to return to the stove.  

Random Paranoia – Apparently, our quirky slightly neurotic traits that were utterly adorable in our twenties become a little sad in our late thirties. As we age, we concern ourselves with a multitude of un-cute, ridiculous obsessions. For me, the weirdo detector goes off every time I contemplate using the library book return receptacle. My thoughts range from “What if my book gets stuck?” or “Will it definitely make it back to the library in one piece?” or “Will the librarians check the receptacle today or tomorrow?” and “If they check tomorrow, will there be a late fee?” My answer to all of these questions is always, “Ya know what? Never mind, I’ll park and go walk it in.”

Aches and Pains – I would say that the pain game began for me at the early age of thirty-five. Because I’m fit and active, it became a daily experiment to see what form of movement stressed my muscles out the most. Orthopedists and cortisone have become my saviors. In addition to my exercise habits, my sexual performance borders on ridiculous. After an extended period of time in a certain sexual position, I switch spots with choppy movements, much like the tinman in The Wizard of Oz.  Though my husband is quite skilled with the oil can, sometimes my body simply requires us to hunker down and commit to the given position.

As I reluctantly await the further eccentricities that will develop in the days I have left in my thirties, I cannot fathom how my mind and body will react to the big 4-0 coming my way in July 2016. The best I can do is dial down the incessant need to believe the “forty is fabulous” hype and embrace the quirks that will be constant reminders that with age, comes laughter.

*This piece was published on BLUNTmoms on November 25, 2015.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Real Women Have Vaginas

When the “real women” campaign started a few years ago, it filled me with hope that my little girls would have a chance at developing a positive body image. More recently, the campaign grew legs and sprinted its way to Negative Town, replacing its original uplifting message with yet another way to tear women down.

Do a quick google search for “real woman quotes” and you will find a plethora of images telling you what real women should or should not do. Apparently, if you don’t have curves, drive a stick shift, watch football, avoid drama, have a job, pay your own bills, or drink regular beer, you are not a real woman.

Forgive me if I seem a bit misguided, but I was under the impression that if you have a vagina, you are, in fact, a real woman. The ugly retorts that have since stemmed from the campaign seem to debate whether or not your actions qualify you as a real woman. And to that, I call bullshit. The most disturbing part of this is that the accusatory attitude toward these artificial beings formerly known as women are mostly coming from-yep, you guessed it-other women!

Reading articles using the “real woman” catchphrase with an added dose of snotty “I’ve-just-entered-my-teenage-years” rhetoric have become commonplace. In recent years, I’ve also been privy to disappointing conversations that begin with, “A real woman wouldn’t _______ (fill in the blank with whatever you think someone born with female genitalia wouldn’t dream of doing).”  When I see and hear statements like this, I am reminded of a child’s logic while throwing a tantrum, “Well, you didn’t give me that firetruck, so you must be a poo-poo head.” 

With that in mind, you’ll have to understand that if childlike behavior is in your wheelhouse, then I invoke the right to use the common toddler parental phrase “use your words” to garner a more valid response from you. For instance, if you feel the need to call me out for not being a “real woman”, please specify why you have the urge to verbally remove my vagina. Or better yet, just be direct and tell me what you actually think lies between my thighs.  I am enthralled to know…really.

Ladies, the bottom line is that we all don’t have to get along. But don’t defeminize a woman because she doesn’t like the same things you like, or because she hasn’t accomplished everything you have accomplished. Just because she may have acted inappropriately as compared to your holier than thou standards doesn’t mean that she needs her vagina lopped off. It just means that she does things differently than you. And that’s okay.

We all work, play, eat, diet, stress, meditate, sweat, relax, laugh, cry, judge, love. Some of us fall and get back up. Some of us have strong opinions or passions. Some of us are thin, but unhealthy. Some of us are overweight and have never felt better. Although we may all have flaws, we also each have something great to offer. Mind you, our offerings may not be intended for everyone, but just because you haven’t seen that side of a woman doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. 

So to those women residing in Negative Town, the next time you admonish a female for not being real, please remember that she may have real feelings, real insecurities, a real personality, real struggles, real opinions, real thoughts and real dreams. She may not be your cup of tea, but she sure as hell is a “real woman”. 

*Disclaimer: This in no way reflects my opinion of those who lack a vagina, but identify as female. This was not written as an attempt to disrespect those women, as they will always have my full support.