Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Vulva Dialogues

Yes, I titled this, "The Vulva Dialogues."


 With a title like that, you'd expect I'd start out with a joke that goes somewhat, "What did one vulva say to the other vulva?"

 Alas, no, that's not what this post is about.

 Wait! I haven't written the post yet. That's totally what this post could be like, and it would rule, rock, win the internet, and more! And I could get Allie Brosh on board and she could draw me an Alot monster made of vulvas and sell them on her book tour.

 This post could be anything I want it to become!

Anyway, I'm here today to talk about how I was the smelly kid in class in sixth grade and there was a gang of boys who tortured me for it on a day to day basis. And I grew up with the misconception that I had a dirty and gross vulva and had to shower a million times a day to hide the rotten smell.

 Fun. I decided to write about it after reading the article "My Vagina Smells Like Shame." The article left me wondering what healthy genitals smell like and reminded me of childhood nightmares.

 Puberty was awesome to me. I was constantly sweaty, got my period during the first month of school, had acne, and I was fat. I'm not sure how I became the target of all the meanest sixth grade boys in my class who ganged up on me every day, but I went from being one of the most popular girls in fifth grade to being mercilessly sexually harassed in a very specific manner.

 They called me Fish Girl. Constantly. Daily. Always. In front of everyone. During class, after class, before school, and after school. I'd come home with bruises from them trying to beat me up or take off my clothes, in tears from class after class of insults and abuse.

 No adults intervened. Thanks, Marley Middle School. Thanks.

 I'd obsessively ask my friends if I actually smelled, and my parents if I smelled. I was assured repeatedly that I did not, but I was terrified that they were lying to prevent hurting my feelings. Otherwise, why would the group of boys, day after day, hurt and embarrass me this way? It was traumatizing! I wanted to die.

And then magically, in seventh grade, they stopped. I came back to school and instead was teased by cliques of girls for normal, made-up reasons, like being a lesbian or having bad hair. I ended up having a normal middle and high school experience with a normal amount of friends, enemies, and boyfriends.

 But the damage was done. I was forever highly aware of any odor I might have and showered obsessively, several times a day, to hide my dirty secret. Yay?

 I didn't think much of it again until I had an extremely severe bacterial infection a few years ago which brought back all my insecurities. And try as I might, no matter how much I bathed or took antibiotics, no matter what anyone told me, I was convinced that I really was Fish Girl. I would not let my husband touch me, to his dismay. I didn't want to leave the house. I spent sometimes entire days in the shower. I drank liter after liter of water, and tried everything I could think of. I went to the gynecologist several times that year for the infection from hell. When the infection cleared up, my gynecologist repeatedly assured me that I was healthy. Be that as it may, nothing would shut off the constant concern that I was gross until recently.

 And by recently I mean last week.

 For years I wondered to myself how a gynecologist knows what a healthy vulva smells like. I went on a Google search. Website after website quoted the Vagina Monologues, "All cleaned up like washing a fish after you cook it. I want to taste the fish. That's why I ordered it." Then website after website cited the BV smell as fish. Internet, go home. You're drunk.

 After much Google searching I came across a perfume forum where people described what a healthy one smelled like and someone said, "Mashed potatoes." Yes! Yes, that's exactly what she smells like eight hours after my last shower. Mashed potatoes.

 I do not know what was up with those boys in my class more than twenty years ago, and I hate that I have the perfect comeback decades later, "Fuck you, you should never, ever, be allowed anywhere near a vagina. I hope your dicks fall off."

I have something to say to that little girl as well.

 Respect and protect your sweet, sweet junk. Get her checked out, keep her healthy and safe. Keep her rinsed with water, pat her dry ever so gently with towels, wear clean cotton underwear. And only let the finest, most respectful lovers near her. I assure you, she is delicious.

 I could go for some mashed potatoes right now.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

I Am Not Quirky

My best friends tell me I look like Zooey Deschanel.

I tell them, "Thank you," but I absolutely think they are blind.

Zooey Deschanel looks like this:


And I look like this:

Hmm, bad example.

I have bangs and aqua eyes, but there is a huge difference. I mainly look like any other overweight white girl with bangs and aqua eyes who tries to look like Zooey Deschanel.

So I have decided I'm growing out my bangs.  You know, despite the fact I've lived most of my life wearing bangs:

Age 3

Age 5

Age 14

Because I want people to see my amazing, flawlessly arched eyebrows.  Because I'm super, super vain.  And because my forehead probably looks amazing after all these years of being hidden from the sun.

Another thing my best friends tell me is that they watch New Girl because I remind them of Jess.

And that would be OK if, say, the whole world hadn't risen in outcry when the show New Girl started and exclaimed how much of an annoying jerk Jessica Day was the first few episodes.  Later on in the series it is revealed that she is highly intelligent with a masters degree in education who is highly invested in the well-being of others, but all anyone seems to reference are her goofy antics in the pilot episode.

Maybe that is why my friends say I remind them so much of Jessica Day. I, too, am capable of goofy antics like dancing in line at the supermarket or pulling a hilarious face. However, I am also misunderstood. If you get past caricatures of myself, I am 31. I've worked in purchasing for almost 9 years. I go to school at night and on weekends. I want to volunteer to help animals, the elderly, and the disabled, but I haven't done so yet. I'm obsessed with my cat. My husband, who is shy and sweet, is a homebody just like I am. I couldn't craft my way out of a paper bag, but I do like to draw. I'm really good at putting off housework. I'm 62 pounds overweight. I'm prone to anxiety, depression, and manic episodes. I spend most of my time alone with my cat and reading something. And, like the rest of the world with the Internet and a voice, I do a lot of navel-gazing.

I'm not complaining.  I find it odd that I come off as something I'm not to even those closest to me, but the fun of being part of the world is that they probably come off as something they're not as well. The best thing about truly knowing and loving another person is all of the surprises in store. 

So, reader (ugh, I hate when people say "reader"), don't worry if you come off to others in a way you never intended. Those who truly care will stick around for the full story.  And we're just at the beginning of yours.