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Monday I had a complete hysterectomy. I got to Mt. Zion hospital at 5:45am, surgery started around 8am, I was out at 11:30 and discharged around noon. Then I went on a really bumpy car ride to Concord, where I am resting and marathoning Harry Potter all week.

My surgery was laparoscopic so it was less invasive than it could have been and since we took out literally everything there was no need to carefully comb through my ovaries looking for endo.

I stopped bleeding yesterday, right now the most discomfort that I’m in is from the gas that is still in my body from surgery.

Being on testosterone before getting a complete hysto worked really well, I think. Because I have hormones in my body I’m not going into surgical menopause (plus I already went through menopause when I started T) and I feel like this helps make recovery easier too.

I didn’t really feel different as soon as I woke up, I was mostly just foggy and in pain, but after the drowsymaking painmeds wore off, I noticed that like…all the tension in my body around my uterus was just gone.

I feel right.

I feel whole.

I feel like the Thing That Was Incorrect Is Gone (because it is) and now I’m just me.

I’ve instantly stopped being at war with myself and the change is almost disorienting. I knew my uterus was where my dysphoria lived, but I didn’t expect it to go away so quickly. That was the first thing I noticed when the fogginess wore off.

I’m. not. at. war. with. myself. anymore. 

I feel present in a way I’ve never felt present before. Not disassociating is easy now? I’m so used to being disassociated by default that I usually have to actually work to be in my body, but now it’s like I’m home?

My energy levels are still real low, I haven’t showered in days, but holy shit.

I did it.

I don’t have a uterus anymore

I cannot reproduce

I can never have a period again

I will never need another pap smear

I will never have to worry about an ectopic pregnancy

I will never have to worry about not having access to birth control

I don’t have to worry about going back to being estrogen based if my HRT gets taken away (it will just suck to have zero hormones, but at least I won’t bleed)

I was raised to be a wife and mother, to train an army for god.

And I just took ALL OF THAT out of my body.

I’m reclining with a heating pad and blankets and liquid feeling slightly achey and really gassy, but I’ve never felt better or more at home in my skin than I do now.

 

 

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Take that, uterus! (empowering myself, because I don't need to feel this way every month)

So. I talked to my clinic and after two years off birth control and trying to get my body back in shape (with, eh, results) and realizing that it’s actually like, still debilitatingly painful – and painkillers don’t always work – and that I’m tired of freaking out every time I’m a day late, and it gets exponentially worse as time passes, which prolongs it because stress = more PMS and a late period – I’m going to get back on it. But not in pill form.

I’m going to see about getting….the implant. After researching it as thoroughly as I can, and listening to people talk (er, comic) about it, and finding out that it’s actually more effective than sterilization, I decided to give it a try.

This is important because there is little that I want more than to be sterilized (this has been my plan since I was 17), but I have to wait until I’m 30 to be a candidate for it, and even then, it doesn’t always take. I’m thrilled to realize that there’s an insert, that does the same thing, better, and with less craziness/surgery, and I can do it NOW and not have to spend the next 8 years paranoid.

I’ll find out this week if my local clinic offers it (they were in the process of getting it) otherwise I’ll get a referral.

I’m making progress, because I thought I was doomed to a life of painful periods and awful PMS even though the depression was out of the way, because I didn’t want to try pills again (and their failure rate just wasn’t really worth doing that to my body again), and I can’t do IUD’s. But also, I think, I felt like I deserved it – somehow I deserved the torture my body inflicted on itself and I deserved to feel it in all it’s intensity.

I don’t feel that way any more. I deserve better, I don’t need to continue to subject myself to an anxiety ridden decade, just like I don’t need to live in a constant depressed state that gets worse when my hormones change.

So yeah. I’m doing that, and I’m happy, because I feel like I’m actually in control of my body.

I win all the points! I’m only really talking about this because my insides are bleeding out currently and I still managed to talk on the phone and stutter out the question, and then lay in bed in pain all day, and cry (sob) during 13 Going On 30, drown in Pacific Rim feels, and still be generally happy and proud of myself (debilitating pain and moments of guilt due to that aside) because like, I’m fixing it! hopefully.

But I’m so moody today, my tear filter broke.

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Hysto Date!

HOLY SHIT.

I’ve been wanting  needing to get my uterus out for years. I have talked to so many doctors about this, and about sterilization before that. I will document the process that I went through to get here later, but the big news is:

Monday, July 30th, 2018, at 9:30am I will be undergoing a total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy which in english means: it’s all coming out. No ovaries, no cervix, no uterus. GONE.

Gone and donated to science but maybe I will ask for a picture or something to burn later.

On Thursday, I’ll be meeting with the surgeon and sometime after that talking to the anesthesia people about what I need to do to prepare.

I’m not sure what all I will need (probably pads, soft things, a ton of gatorade?), but if you want to help me out, you can donate to the hospital/recovery/prep fund here: https://cash.me/$kieryn or https://www.paypal.me/mxdarkwater 

 

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Just T Things: 15 Months HRT

I realized it would probably be helpful to me and other people if I started documenting what HRT is like for me somewhere more findable than twitter.

It’s been almost 15 months now, but I haven’t detailed a lot here so I’m going to attempt to categorize the various points of change.

Weight Changes:

When I started Testosterone in Dec 2016 I weighed ~140lbs. I weighed ~120 in May 2017 and have been hovering around 110 since July 2017. I lost ~30lbs in 7 months and it was (is) really disorienting. Since then my body has also been losing all of its curves, and machining has eaten whatever fat reserves I had and converted it to muscle. I wasn’t expecting to lose so much weight so quickly, and since fall my body has really fucking hated this.

I can’t retain heat, and the sudden loss of fat has seemed to make raynauds worse and is probably something I should talk to my Doctor about because I keep forgetting. Cold has become agony, and I think in no small part due to suddenly not having anything between my muscle and skin to keep me warm. 🙁

Sense Changes:

My hands are rougher now, so soft things feel exponentially softer than they used to. My plush bathrobe is fucking heaven. My hearing has changed? I’ve noticed it change. But I went to get my hearing checked and my ears are great, however we noticed one place where my ears diverged on what they heard on which side, and my guess is that maybe that’s the change I noticed happening.

The men on my dad’s side of the family are hard of hearing, so I don’t know if it’s a testosterone thing, or an I’m-in-my-late-20s-thing.

I no longer hate all melons??? My tolerance for spicy things has stayed about the same, but suddenly cantaloupe are fine. It feels almost blasphemous. I also need a lot more protein whenever my dose changes, so I will become a carnivore for about a month until my body goes back to not being a fan.

My tolerance for things like alcohol has gone up a lot.

My smell has changed. There’s more musk to it (I’ve been told) than there used to be. Less sweet, more bitter. I shower with shea butter body wash that smells like flowers, so I always smell like flowers, citrus, and boy, and I’m a fan of this.

Mental & Emotional Health Changes:

I have somehow grown the level of confidence of a teenage boy. I think it’s because I feel more at home in my body. Taking testosterone has stopped that constant internal war with myself where my body didn’t feel like it should have. It’s hard to describe…you know when you pull something out of socket? you can still move and function and stuff, it just hurts and it feels like it’s just fundamentally incorrect as it relates to you?

My internal existence and relationship with my body was like that, constantly. My body just felt incorrect in a way I couldn’t put a finger on, until suddenly it had the hormones it actually needed and I felt normal. I didn’t know how much that was eating at my existence until suddenly it wasn’t there anymore.

I am able to see things coming and roll with them, I can face hard things better. I can be depressed and upset and still know that I can get out of this and be okay, and that I will be okay in the end. I can actually handle and identify my own feelings and get less absorbed by everyone else’s. Testosterone has made it easier for me feel things, and make sense of my head. Feelings used to be chaos before, and now they have names and things.

Anger is new. I feel it in my veins, it surges, I become more assertive and I push back. There’s a lot of strength in it if I channel it right, otherwise it can be really overwhelming. I don’t become yelly or violent, I mostly silent scream into pillows or vent, but my words are sharp and cutting. I get really wordsy. If I’m in a city council meeting where my anger is extremely useful though, I give amazing speeches that make people feel things.

Angst is a lot, but not much different. It feels more present in my body but that might just be because I disassociate less.

I feel right, and myself in my brain, I’m not repressed anymore.

Puberty Changes:

My body thinks it’s literally a teenage boy. So. Puberty. All of it. Growing pains, constant horniness, voice dropping and cracking, acne, hair literally everywhere.

Hair

No really, my body is extremely excited about this hair shit. I have become a thicket. You could brush my leg hairs with a comb and tbh I probably should. My beard is coming in beautifully, I have a full on happy trail, my arms and legs are trying to go for the werewolf aesthetic, and my chest is full of hair. The butt hairs though. THERE ARE LINES. So I need to replace my electric razor and become a contortionist. I suspect that by this time next year I will be indistinguishable from Beast or at least Wolverine.

Also, I discovered aftershave, and my mustache got itchy.

Muscles

I get a lot of leg cramps so I try to eat all of the bananas all the time. Sometimes for a few days after a shot it feels like I’m too big for my skeleton and if someone could just like pull me, for a bit, that’d help. It reminds me of growing pains. I just need some skelegrow, because if I could be even 3 inches taller, it would make using the mills so much easier.

All of the muscles in my body have rearranged themselves. The first couple months I was on T my back hurt a lot because there was just, always a new muscle. It’s settled down a bit now, and most of my muscles seem to have been moved to their new places. Mostly packed ridiculously onto my back, shoulders, and arms. I have muscles for days instead of curves now, I suppose. I really like it. I like this new shape.

Junk

I really miss having tits some days, and not having hips anymore is still hella disorienting because I don’t know how to carry shit without them.

Oh yeah, my tits! They have been eaten. I don’t know what the fuck happened or where the fuck they ran off to, but I went from being 34DD in Dec 2016, to…I don’t think my tits have been this small since I was just starting to grow them? They’re mostly just a weird pudgy skin flap now, covered in hair. My ass also has the same problem, it’s just……so small and square, and fuzzy. IDK. But I can be shirtless now?

In addition to my tits and ass vanishing, my body realized it could grow that dick its always wanted and I’m so here for it. Sex makes sense now. It makes SO MUCH SENSE. Sex when you have the right hormones is great. A+ do rec.

In fun dick related adventures, over the last year I learned:

  • I could sit on it while biking
  • it gets caught and twisted in fabric (wtf)
  • EVERYTHING IS STIMULATING OH MY GOD WHY ARE THERE SO MANY NERVE ENDINGS
  • If it does not get enough pets my uterus will decide to cramp which is disorienting and not helpful
  • If I lose 5 vials of blood, I’m out of boners for a week
Voice

My voice has dropped a lot since I started testosterone. I didn’t know what voice dysphoria was until I didn’t have it anymore. It’s largely stopped cracking now. It’s deep and booming, but gravely. Whenever I project in class or make a public comment I literally surprise myself for a second because I didn’t expect my voice to be that deep. It’s not as deep, I feel, when I’m having a conversation as it is when I’m projecting. OR, if I’m in a room with another dude who’s voice is also low and booming, then somehow my body is like now WE have to be low and booming too! Then my voice just progressively lowers and it’s this weird subconscious thing and I have to stop myself.

Here’s a good example of before and two months ago:

 

Perception Changes:

People started seeing me as a dude most of the time around October. That’s been a weird adjustment. It’s still not consistent enough that I assume everyone thinks I’m a cis boy yet, but I’m aware of it enough that going to the bathroom on campus feels increasingly complicated. I’ve gone back to getting more people confused about placing me since I put my earrings back in though. My body changed so quickly that while school was going on I didn’t have time to notice it and then over break I was really disoriented by how masculine I was being perceived as, so I put my earrings in and it’s helped my brain adjust to my new face/body/etc.

People listen when I speak, and I get talked over less now. Which is hugely disorienting since I’ve spent my life having to speak up over people to get heard. I find myself inadvertently speaking up over other people because I’m not used to not having people constantly talking over me. This has been a bit of a mindfuck actually.

I don’t have automatic solidarity with afab people in cis dude dominated spaces anymore which is also a weird thing to adjust to, as a transmasc machine student. I don’t look like a girl anymore really, so unless you knew….you wouldn’t know.

I feel like I have a much wider understanding of existence now – being perceived one way, and then another, countless times in the same day will do that to you. It’s jarring.

I don’t know if I see myself differently, so much as I see myself wholly? Before when I would be introspective, I would see all the things I felt I couldn’t be, that I wasn’t, that I was somehow unable to become, and now…now I see all of those things, and they’re all growing and I am evolving into that better version of myself. I feel like I am different only in that I am finally able to be all of myself, instead of a shell.

Personality Changes:

I’ve become more confident and assertive, more sure of myself. I’m at ease with myself in my body most of the time and I feel like that translates out.

I can be aggressive when I want to be and use it as a tool. I’ve realized that I don’t have to be timid out of safety anymore because I look and carry myself differently, people make different assumptions. This is something I’m learning how to navigate.

I take up space, and don’t try to shrink into myself as much.

I feel like I am generally more emotionally stable.

Dosage Changes:

I started taking 50mg of Testosterone Cypionate every two weeks for a month, then 100mg every two weeks for 3 months, then 200mg every two weeks until October, then I started doing 175mg every week.

175mg/wk worked alright for a few months but then it felt like it was too much. I was anxious all the time and grumpy and my uterus started writhing weirdly. When my labs came in my T was extremely high, so in January I started altering my dose to slowly bring it back to 100mg/wk which is the equivalent of the last dose I was on. It’s been solidly that for a month now and my body already feels better, and I haven’t dreamt of bleeding in a few weeks.

Injection Changes:

After a year of self-injecting perfectly fine, I developed a trauma response to it. I don’t know why, and I’ve tried everything to calm myself and be able to do it again, but I get 1/8″ away from my thigh and suddenly my body nopes out and I freeze. I sit there and I cannot will myself to move. So I have had to make accommodations around that which involves friends who will be my backups and asking if it’s alright to go into my clinic and have a nurse do it. This is what I’ll be doing for the rest of the semester and hopefully I’ll be able to self inject again. I’m not sure.

Another development was that due to the loss of weight and fat the 1″ needles that I’d been using to do intramuscular injections became too long (less fat to go through so it goes in way too deep) and painful. I kept pinching nerves and my leg would ache for three days after. So I talked to my doctor about shorter needles and they suggested SubCu which is supposed to go into the fat. I tried that the first week and we were too shallow on the injection so what I wound up with was 3 days of feeling like I was having an allergic reaction on the inside of my thigh.

Which is what brought me to asking if I could just go into my clinic to have a professional do it. I have yet to actually make it into the clinic because I will be waiting in triage for idk how long and I had no spoons. But knowing it’s an available possibility has helped.

In the meantime, the injection solution we’ve come up with has been to just not go in the whole inch.

Tips:

  • The faster you inject the less it hurts
  • Do not inject while standing
  • Eat all the food all the time
  • Do things to stretch out your muscles
  • Use a foam roller on your injection sites
  • Always carry a snack with you
  • Skin Care routine is your friend
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It me, a trans boi

I didn’t know I was trans until my mid 20’s. I didn’t have the language or the context to explain what I felt growing up. My writing over the last 8 years has actually thoroughly documented parts of that process. Coming to terms with my gender and what that means to me.

I spent my entire childhood just feeling wrong at my core. Never able to measure up, never able to be the girl they wanted me to be, because I just wasn’t, no matter how hard I tried. I did “ballet” (and legitimately enjoyed it), I wore dresses and pink, I played with dolls, I did my nails…I did everything society told me good girls did, and I tried very hard to play the part of demure and graceful damsel waiting for her prince.

Spoiler alert, I am not demure nor particularly graceful playing a damsel. My failures at this were just compounded during high school when I got bored talking with other girls because all that we were supposed to talk about was future homemaking and homeschool curriculum and other very traditionally girly things that just didn’t interest me. There was a period of about a year and a half when I was 14 where I was able to fly under the radar (thanks to an undesired move and pregnancies) and pretended to be a boy on the internet (that was the deal I made to be allowed to blog when I was 13, because predators don’t…go..after..boys…apparently) and offline I continued that persona and wore camo and got away with being “one of the boys” at speech and debate.

Looking back it seems obvious, but at the time I just thought I was broken. I wasn’t a girl, I wasn’t a boy, but I didn’t have the language to describe or even have a frame of reference about what trans-ness was. I just thought, as I had been told by my parents and pastors and every authority figure in my life, that I was inherently broken. I was just wrong and only God could fix it, but he didn’t seem to want to, so I just tried really hard to play my part as well as I could. I internalized the messages of wrongness and brokenness because I didn’t match up what I was told good godly women were like, not inside. I could cook and clean and sew but those crushed my soul and the future I was promised was not a road I wanted to take.

I wasn’t allowed to explore the woods, or play outside, I wasn’t allowed to play video games. I wasn’t allowed to do anything that was considered a boy thing. I feel like it’s important to note that I didn’t want to only do those boy things, I just didn’t want to be limited; I wanted to have both options. I wanted to be able to express both masculinity and femininity but that was definitely not allowed. I had one option and one option only, unless I was sneaky.

The idea of having children bothered me on a visceral level, it wasn’t until recently that I discovered how very connected to dysphoria it is. The idea of having a human come out of my body goes straight to lizard brain levels of “no. this is death.” I suppose when I interpreted my period as the ultimate betrayal of my body against me that should have also been an indication.

Instead I spent years wrestling with myself, hating myself with every fiber of my being until I was about 20 and finally started discovering the language to describe how I felt. It happened by knowing other people who came out, and finally putting a name to my sexuality, talking with other queer people. I embraced my queerness when I was 22, which was the first stepping stone to discovering my trans-ness.

Autostraddle, Tumblr, Everyday Feminism, and It’s Pronounced Metrosexual were all really great resources where I finally started learning that I wasn’t alone in my feeling, that having a uterus but not being a woman is completely valid.

I started talking to nonbinary people and trans girls and eventually realized that I am trans enough, and no one is stopping me from transitioning but myself. Meanwhile dysphoria was getting worse, now that I knew how to identify it and what it was. I talked to my partners, friends, and therapist. And learned some things

  1. Cis people don’t question if they’re qualified enough to be their gender
  2. Gender is what you make of it, and it’s importance is up to you
  3. You are allowed to and deserve to transition if you want to
  4. Transitioning looks different for everyone, you don’t have to want surgeries to be trans
  5. Nonbinary, Genderqueer, Genderfluid, Agender, etc are all valid trans identities
  6. It is your body, you get to change it (or not) however you see fit

For a while I thought I just wouldn’t transition. I’d just deal with estrogen and periods and do what I could to mitigate PMDD and everything that goes along with that. At some point…actually, at Burning Man, I realized I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to start HRT and see what happened. I could always stop if it wasn’t right for me. Both of these are valid.

So in December of 2016 I started HRT. Testosterone works FAST. Within a week my muscles started moving, I started losing curves, my voice started getting deeper, my clit grew. I’m approaching shot 4, I have angles and a jaw line, I feel right. I had no idea what it felt like to actually inhabit my body until I started HRT.

I’m not a woman, and despite taking testosterone, I’m not a man either. I’m just your local nonbinary fairy boi taking baby steps to being in their own skin.

 

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Kiery Actually Does College

I started taking college prep courses in January, which I’ve written about most of the few times that I’ve actually gotten around to writing this year. The week before last week I took the college placement test in english and got a near perfect score (98 & 99, out of 99) and placed into english 101. Which is huge on multiple levels, and bigger still I’ve actually registered for the class and am starting in April. I plan to continue taking my college prep course in math and hopefully over the summer be able to take the placement test for that as well and start doing full college courses with the hope of getting an AA or AS and maybe even transfer to UW.

I still can’t quite believe that I’m doing it? I didn’t think I would be able to? I almost believed everything my parents told me about how my uterus meant that higher education wasn’t an option for me, and if it weren’t for the encouragement of my friends and that math was blocking my ability to code, I probably wouldn’t have actually tried. Turns out, I love school and going somewhere to learn things, and my particular school has to many things going on for queer students and there’s a huge art thing and….it’s overwhelming and great at the same time.

kdcvoteI have a really hard time expressing how massive it is to be able to do school – to start doing school – at 25 and all of the blocks I’ve had to get over to get to the point that I could even try, and then to actually be doing well there….My ABE teacher and my advisor both think I’ll do great and I’m on the right track and they actually believe in me? I’ve never had teacher types believe in me before. It’s healing on a lot of levels and I’m really happy that I’m at a place where I can do this now. My dream of wanting to go to college as a teenager is finally being realized and it’s magical.

I’m working on getting scholarships and funding together now, so I don’t have to pay everything out of pocket. To that end I’ve submitted an essay to the Wyzant scholarship and it would be amazing if you could take a moment to vote and share (vote daily!), that will go a long way towards helping with my funding for at least the fall semester. In the mean time, I’m also trying to put together resources for this quarter, even though I’m only taking one class, I still need books and a replacement laptop once the new iteration is out because my laptop suddenly acquired a motherboard problem and won’t turn on.

So, I’m asking for helpI need your shares and your votes desperately for the scholarship for the fall, and in the meantime, if you have the means or desire and feel like donating to help cover the cost of books/coffee/school supplies and a replacement laptop…you can click the giant purple button and I will love you forever.




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On College and Clothes that Fit

I took the placement test for adult basic education at my community college. I have an ID that says student and not “weird strange haired person who doesn’t belong: immediately escort out” on it, and an orientation on the 15th where I’ll find out where I placed and can sign up for classes to start taking in January.

The cards said go for it. My friend sent crows. I was at a place where I felt like I was ready and I shook off the wave of panic telling me to run and that I’m an imposter and I started it. I started a new thing. I started sort of almost college and as an educationally neglected kid who was told college was out of the question because I was born with a uterus….this is huge. I don’t have enough words to describe it, but it’s big and healing on many levels because I’m showing myself I can actually do the thing – or at least try the thing and see if I like it and having a uterus doesn’t mean I don’t get to!

 

Later that day I was jeans shopping and trying them on. I was not one, but two sizes bigger than I thought I was and I was having a moment as I watched the numbers on the jeans gradually increase. When I tried them on I tried not to dwell on what size I wanted them to be, but how I felt in them, if they fit, if I wasn’t trying to force myself to be smaller because I somehow thought that was better. The moment ended the minute I put on the pair that fit, that embraced my curves and didn’t squish my abdomen, that didn’t require a pants dance, and looks damn good.

 

I figured out that smaller sized jeans? don’t look better on you if you’re denying your body the right to take up space. You are matter, and oh my god, clothes that fit are so much more of a confidence boost than convincing yourself you could totally fit into this smaller pair really soon.

 

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{I matter}

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I don’t have to be productive 24/7. All that matters is that I take care of myself – everything else will follow. I matter.

Because my body is remembering it has a uterus for the first time in almost 6 months and even though it’s still worlds better than it was untreated, it still…..fucks me up a lot. I feel like it makes me lesser, but I know that’s bullshit…

I’m scared that my period problems are going to rule out any opportunities I ever have, but I know that isn’t true, also. I hope.

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Past Selfies

I’m tired of looking at pictures of myself from last year, or even a few years before, and thinking “damn I looked good then!” while simultaneously remembering how stressed out I was about my body, and about gaining weight, and….how I was very rarely able to just be okay with it. It’s a patten I’ve yet to get out of – medication induced weight gain leaves me feeling down about my body and I look in the mirror and want to go back to bed and hide because of it…. but next year, will I look at the pictures of me now and wish I could tell myself: dude, you’re fucking perfect, you have a body, you’re going to weigh something, you have a stomach, and a uterus, it’s a thing, chill the fuck out about it. Things I tell past me from the pictures. You looked great, why were you stressed about it?

 

Why am I stressed about it now? Besides that it’s all I really know how to be for one reason or another?

 

I’m so tired of it.

I need to figure out how to be happy as me and how I look –  however that is – and not deal with what that communicates about me to other people…..because I’m not here for that.

I don’t need to stress about looking X,Y,or Z enough to prove A or B to people, unless X,Y,or Z is going to make me feel good about being encased in skin and fabric.

 

I looked great then, when I didn’t feel it, and I wish I’d just let myself be. I didn’t then, but maybe I can now.

I don’t know what that means for me yet.

I’m stuck in a strange rut of wanting to isolate myself into oblivion and also be out and around people and taking care of myself and wearing cute things.

Mostly I want to feel good about myself again.

And I think that means I just need to let myself be.

 

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What is Sex When You Have Vaginismus?

It’s not something I talk about much, it’s not something anyone talks about much because there’s so much weight to it. I’ve spent the last 5, almost 6 years that I’ve been sexually active trying to deal with the shame and confusion that comes from having a condition that makes penis-in-vagina sex painful, if not impossible. That hasn’t really left a lot of room for talking about it because I’m still dealing with a lot of stigma.

 

There’s this thing that happens when you teach people that sex is only sex if it involves penis penetration, and when you can’t do that, for any number of reasons, when you’re in a relationship with someone who has a penis, it does kinda wear on you. And when you’re the first of your group to get married (or have sex) and everyone is asking you questions about this mythical magical sex that you can’t have….it’s hard. You get good at deflecting, sending links to resources, and never, under any circumstances, telling them about your actual (lack of) experience.

 

Add on to that, a lot of people just don’t comprehend how having intense pain equals stopping – we’re often told that pain is just a part of sex, not that pain means something is wrong. Most people are expected to just push through it, but that’s not fun and doesn’t really foster anything good – at least my case. A lot of “comfort” or solutions to me feel tone deaf: oh just keep sticking things in it until your body figures it out. I realize this is also the only advice that exists, but to me it’s like saying, no keep inflicting intense amounts of pain until I can take it, and sorry but that just doesn’t…make me less tense.

 

So when everything you know and have been told and promised about sex is something you can’t physically have – or don’t have the emotional stamina to physically force yourself to have because pain…..where does that leave you?

 

It didn’t take us long to figure out that trying to do The Sex wasn’t working and was more upsetting than anything else. Which made it not a thing we wanted to do much…until we realized that sex is supposed to be fun and enjoyable for everyone. That the focus on sex only being insert-dick-here was wrong and damaging and narrow. That there were so many other ways to have fun sexytimes that would actually work for us, be fun, and give us the warm fuzzies.

 

Buying a butterfly vibrator was the first baby step and introduced us to a world of possibilities in which the way to have sex doesn’t even have to be or involve penetration.

 

This has turned into something I emphasize to everyone now: sex is what you make of it, sex is exactly what you and your partner decide it is. If you’re both happy with it, it counts. It is not limited to inserting one kind of genitals into or around a different kind of genitals and when you finally realize that, the range of expression you have is so much greater.

 

And as hard as it is for me, and as much shame and confusion I still have sometimes – especially when I’m bleeding and remember, oh yeah, not only do I have a uterus, my vagina is a problem too – redefining sex to be “what makes us happy as a couple of consensual adults” instead of “put penis here” has made us so much happier.

 

To other people who have this problem, it’s okay, it’s not the end of the world, and most importantly, as much as you feel broken and wrong, you are not. Just do what makes you happy, and fuck everyone who scoffs and doesn’t understand. You are valid, and what you do for sex is valid too.

 

If you want to learn more about vaginismus, wikipedia and vaginismus.com were useful to me in naming what was happening.

Also I want to be absolutely clear that the pain being bad thing I’m talking about specifically only relates to vaginismus, because it isn’t consensual, it’s a physical reflex of not awesome-sauce. Pain in other ways can be great for people who are into BDSM, and as long as it’s (obviously) consensual it is a beautiful and wonderful thing. There will be no BDSM shaming here. You do you.

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