I’m not sure when or in what context I first realized that I have long labia. Maybe it was that teasing comment from an ex boyfriend, oh, seven years ago. Maybe it occurred to me at some point when I was watching porn and noticed that mine looked different. Maybe it was in the shower, as I haphazardly shaved my pubes into just a tuft. It was absolutely before I got my first completely bare wax, though having a hand mirror suddenly placed between my legs — so I could inspect the results — certainly made the point hit home. It was definitely in the last 10 years, though I’ve only made it a part of my self-deprecating comedy routine in the last five. Hey, if you’ve got long labia, you might as well joke about it.
But to be honest, and maybe this isn’t a surprise, I’m actually kind of insecure about it. I want to feel good about the way I look and, for the most part, I do, in part because there is plenty of outside messaging that tells me my straight teeth, slender physique, clear skin, etc. is considered conventionally attractive. (I’m not saying you need to be/have these things to be “attractive,” just that these are the qualities we’re told since birth are attractive and can inform how we view ourselves. And being told you’re attractive is also not necessary to being/feeling attractive. I digress.) But the messages being sent about what makes for a pretty vulva are less obvious; with the exception of hair removal trends, there aren’t three-page articles in lady magazines touting how to make your vagina/vulva* look its best or hide its flaws. And yet I’ve always felt distinctly aware that my long labia were not an asset. Keep reading »
It was a typical Orange County night at the tail end of a long, lazy winter break. The plethora of yogurt shops in the neighborhood were closing, and even if you craved a Starbucks treat, it was too late in suburbia. The few dive-bars in the area boasted their usual divorcee crowd. My mom, dad and I finished a late dinner and now it was time to select our entertainment. Movie night at the Gray house is not only standard, but also probably the best post-nine-o’clock activity in town.
“What do you want to watch?” my mom asked, flipping through the movies in On Demand. She stopped suddenly, staring at me with calm yet focused eyes, “Do you think you can handle ‘First Position’?”
“Sure,” I responded casually. I understood why she was tentative to suggest watching a documentary about young ballet dancers, yet I was feeling confident. Friends and former co-workers had repeatedly suggested the film and I was in a safe, comfortable environment. I was all in. “Let’s do it!” I took a deep breath and settled in (Snuggie and all) to watch the story of six young dancers dedicating their lives to ballet, as I had for so many years. Keep reading »
It was after L left and I looked in the mirror that I realized I might have a problem. My breasts and neck were covered in bruises and bite marks. One was even bleeding; that would leave a scar. I was heading to my parents’ house in two days for Christmas, and although I knew I could cover the mess that had been made of my boobs, my neck was going to be a different story. If I had a stockpile of turtlenecks, it would have been one thing, but I’m just not a turtleneck type of girl.
When I first started dating, I knew that I liked to be bitten. There was something both sensual and animalistic about it that I couldn’t help but be enticed by. When I masturbated it was always something I thought about: that aggressive devouring that would leave battle scars. However, high school, and even college guys, were hesitant to rock the boat in their sexual performances. So, when I’d whisper, “Bite my neck,” I would either end up with sad little hickeys or their efforts would be so weak that I would never bother to ask again. There’s nothing worse than a weak bite. Keep reading »
By the age of 16, I had been for multiple MRI’s, a sonogram, an ultrasound and five rounds of allergy testing, diagnosed with epilepsy, rediagnosed with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, hospitalized for dehydration, broke my wrist then got the chicken pox the following week, had my sinuses irrigated, a begin cyst removed from my skull, my appendix removed, and was the recipient of weekly allergy shots.
You’d think all this childhood infirmity would make visits to the doctor no big deal to me. Quite the opposite. More like, I’m severely phobic. I sweat. I shake. I cry. I whimper. Sometimes I bawl. I laugh like a mad woman. I start to panic when the blood pressure cuff Velcros around my arm. I have a full-blown anxiety attack if a needle comes out. At best, my patient behavior could be described as “babyish” at worst “freaking lunatic.” Keep reading »
When I came out as a lesbian, my mom cited my rabid N’Sync fandom as evidence that I was obviously mistaken. She was certain that my liking a group of effeminate, nearly prepubescent boys, gyrating to songs about feelings was indicative of my heterosexuality. I’ve used that story as the punch line to my coming out for years. But just recently, I’ve found myself yet again defending my sexual preferences to my own peers in light of some my pop culture life choices, namely “Magic Mike.”
I’m going to go right out there and say it: Channing Tatum is a rhythmic god. Don’t pretend you don’t like dance movies, specifically “Step Up,” or that you haven’t spent time in front of the mirror trying to perfect your own moves after seeing him effortlessly slide across that stage and into the laps of awaiting women. And, sure, maybe my seeing a movie about male strippers multiple times seems a little suspect, seeing as the audience was predominately straight women acting as though they were at the bachelorette party of their lives. I will tell you that I found my jaw on the ground through the majority of the movie. So what? Keep reading »
Did you know that about 10,000 “young” women will get breast cancer this year? I do now. I am one of them.
It all started while my boyfriend and I were away for a long weekend to celebrate my 29th birthday. We were lying in bed and I reached my arm across my body. There it was — a lump, in my breast. It was big, and it was bumpy; it felt like a mutant cauliflower had taken root in the soft tissue of my otherwise pillowy breasts.
This was new. Three short months earlier, I had had a breast exam during my yearly OB-GYN exam. My doctor didn’t feel a thing. I had always been hyper aware of my breasts, ever since an ex-boyfriend found a 2 cm jelly bean (which turned out to be a harmless fyberadenoma) and my doctor had told me that I should pay attention to it and watch for changes.
That jellybean was my first of what would be many biopsies. Keep reading »
My sister is the good daughter. My sister was kind enough to get married and procreate. She’s not only doing the species a favor, but my parents as well. My parents had always wanted to be grandparents to a couple of rascals. My sister gave them two: Jackson and Elliot. My parents are obsessed with them.
Just as it was when my sister and I were little, there’s nothing in the world my parents won’t do for Jackson and Elliot. My mother has completely re-centered her life around them and refuses to miss a holiday or birthday. I spent Christmas on the couch by myself, while my mom catered to my sister’s kids every whim in Colorado. “That was the choice you made,” my mother said. I’m not sure what choice she’s talking about — the one where I decided to move to New York City to pursue writing, or the one where I thought going to Colorado for Christmas would be the pits. We both hung up on each other before we could get into a lengthy discussion and ruin the holiday even more. Besides, being on the phone with me was tearing her away from the grandkids, and we can’t have that, can we?
Groan. Keep reading »
Greetings from zombie-land.
That’s where I’m currently residing as I go through antidepressant withdrawal. It’s a horribly dizzying place, filled with bouts of insomnia, nausea and an episode of neverending flu. It’s not a place I recommend visiting, and yet, I’ve found myself here because I decided to get off of Paxil, the anti-anxiety drug I’ve been on–off and on–for the last 10 years. And let me tell you, withdrawal is a bitch. Keep reading »
In the past couple of months, I’ve tried something new: I’ve removed people from my life who were not adding anything to it. I de-friended on Facebook. I unfollowed on Twitter. I stopped responding to emails.
This is so unlike me. Keep reading »
In fall of 2010, I went through maybe one of the lowest points in my life. I was dumped over IM by my live-in boyfriend (yes, that one) and due to a zillion circumstances outside of my control, my work life was in complete chaos. I walked around for weeks with a burning feeling in my stomach, unable to eat or sleep and in a total daze. I committed the cardinal sin of crying at work, and begged a doctor friend to write me a prescription for anxiety meds (I didn’t have health insurance at the time). I went to therapy. I bought self-help books on cognitive therapy to try and shake the shitty, negative thoughts that constantly ran through my head. I felt like a raw nerve with absolutely no hope of ever healing.
So I did the completely sensible thing, and bought a plane ticket to Barcelona. Keep reading »