Fat Girl Whining

I’m fat. Really fat. Over 300 pounds fat.

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I also have Diabetes and have to see an Endocrinologist every few months. Endocrinologists take care of fat people. A lot of fat people. There has not been a time when I’ve sat in an Endo’s office that there were no less than 4 really fat people. I just left the Endo’s office (and I love the people there) and need to vent for a second.

Chairs

How can an office that caters to fat people not have chairs without arms on them? How?! The first time in there, I asked for a chair without arms and they brought out one of the bench chairs (that still had arms on it). Fine. They brought it in the exam room with me, too. Nice.

Today, the bench was there… with someone already in it. So I had to cram my fat butt into one of the tiny chairs… with the arms going INWARD instead of out! What the crap?

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I spoke with the office manager who said she’d already put a work order in for more benches and asked me to answer to survey I’ll get in my email with a comment about the chairs.

We’ll see how long that takes.

Blood Pressure Cuffs

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For fuck’s sake, I thought I had finished complaining about medical people taking my blood pressure incorrectly/painfully 2 decades ago.

  • Dealing with a stupid ER nurse using medical tape to try and keep the wrong size cuff on my arm, the tape splitting and the nurse huffing off to get his supervisor
  • Having too small cuffs bruising me dozens of times
  • Having large cuffs bruising me because I have really big upper arms with batwings

I thought I’d come up with a solution by insisting they use the cuff on my forearm. Techs and nurses balked at first, but for the last 5 years, it has been a matter-of-course to take my BP that way.

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Then today, the nurse came at me with a thigh cuff, easily twice as large as the large-sized cuff. I asked her to please take it on my lower arm and she said they had just had training saying it was required to take it on the upper arm because doing it on the forearm is “quite inaccurate.” I grudgingly said she could try, but if it hurt, I would cry.

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The cuff goes on and begins tightening. And tightening. And tightening even more. I said, “It hurts, take it off,” and it stopped pumping up so I said I’d sit still. Then it began tightening again and I nearly hollered, “GET IT OFF.” She did, charting, “Patient refuses BP.” I corrected her: I am more than glad to have my BP done, but on my forearm. She shrugged and left the room.

After my appointment with the Endo (which went really well), I asked how we were going to resolve this BP issue and she said it was “policy” and she would ask what to do. I said, “Patient requests forearm blood pressure,” please put that in my chart. She did.

Fat Anger

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We (our country) is fat… and getting fatter. What is wrong with healthcare providers that they do not make concessions for us? I’ve been writing about this since 1987!!! This is ridiculous.

Not accommodating fat people is yet another way to discriminate and intimidate fat folks. Healthcare providers not doing so prevents far too many people from obtaining care at all, care that can keep them healthier… and for you fat haters, even help fat folks lose some weight (if they want to or are able to).

Over the years, in the courts, this accommodating for “morbidly obese” people has been argued. The general consensus is now that fat falls under the American With Disabilities Act. One more thing on our side.

Please Speak Up!

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Many fat people in our society sit in these tiny chairs, put up with exam tables that do not go up and down and never ask for accomodations for their size. I speak up whenever I can, but I cannot do it alone.

Thinner/Smaller friends and family, please “see” things how we do. If you see people squished into chairs, quietly talk to the office manager, explaining how difficult the chairs are for fat people. Say you have a family member or friend (which I am!) or partner that won’t say anything, but that they get bruises every visit. If you work in an office, restaurant or anywhere people need to sit, please advocate for us to get the proper seating for fat folks.

Special mention to servers: PLEASE STOP SEATING FAT PEOPLE IN BOOTHS (unless they ask to be put in one specifically). It is humiliating to try and squish ourselves into the tight tight space at a booth.

And if anyone thinks the small chairs and small spaces are going to force us to lose weight, you are woefully incorrect. Fat-Haters, rue the day this issue is yours or someone’s you love.

Thanks for listening. Rant over.

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painter: Igor-Grabar

My Wall-E-esque Life: Part 1

“Fat Acceptance” has been a catch-phrase for at least 40 of the years I have been alive. In 2 parts, I share my experiences and lessons learnt being a part of the…

Fat Acceptance Movement.

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I’ve been fat ever since I got my tonsils out when I was 7-years old.

Fat kid, teen, adult and now a “mature” adult.

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Trials (and Errors)

I’ve done dozens of diets, been prescribed Black Beauties & other speed (starting at age 8), belonged to many gyms, taken Phen-Fen (with success, but with heart valve damage), tried Topamax (fail), used Wellbutrin (fail), had a Roux en Y Gastric Bypass (with fabulous success, then epic failure), done hypnosis & acupuncture (fail & fail), become a daily Mindfulness Meditation fanatic (fail for weight loss/huge win for pain relief), have tried to have anorexia, then bulimia, hand-written hundreds of thousands of journal pages, letting them “hold” my pain, shame, revulsion, self-hate, wishes, fears, hopes &, eventually, resolution with my size.

I remain in resolution.

I will never diet or take diet drugs again. Ever.

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Time & Money

Thinking about the masses of time and money I’ve spent trying to lose weight makes my head spin.

Time

  • Going to the gym
  • Writing out menus
  • Researching rules and techniques for success
  • Real life or online support group meetings, including social networks talking about losing/gaining weight
  • Shopping slower to read labels and make sure food is “appropriate”
  • Learning new cooking methods
  • Fighting with family about the change in foods in the fridge and cupboards
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artist: Sapphire4723

Money

  • Gym membership
  • New cookbooks
  • Membership fees & apps
  • Tools for success (exercise equipment, pedometer, walking/running shoes, gym clothes, etc.)
  • Tossing all the “bad” food in the garbage
  • Buying all the “good” food
  • Probably eventually buying more “bad” food for my family because they whined so much about foisting my diet on them
  • $28,000 cash for RNY gastric bypass (GB)

Can I include the time and money (including the taxpayer’s) for the years of therapy discussing and crying about all of this?

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Positive?

I was a Fat Activist in the mid-late 80’s, mostly in the lesbian community. I’ve written about being fat-positive for almost 3 decades.

In the beginning, when I was in my 20’s and early 30’s, I was healthy… labs were fine, no diabetes, my joints or feet didn’t hurt. I crowed (bragged, was arrogant) about how it was the fat-hating that made fat people sick and die, not the fat itself.

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Reality

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Now, at 56-years old, I see how delusional I was. I am well on the road to dying before most people in my family did, and they all had diabetes, too. My future resides in my memories of my Cuban relatives & the diabetes complications they endured before dying. Heart attacks, going blind, having toes, then feet cut off, eventually dying in a coma because the body just gave up.

I see it coming as if it was a roaring train heading right for me.

Litany of Pain

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Here are my fat-related illnesses and issues:

  • Type 2 Diabetes (diagnosed at 34 years old), now on 2 insulins and metformin
  • I heal terribly because of the diabetes, often needing antibiotics for residual infections
  • Stage 3 Kidney Disease from the diabetes
  • Pain with every step I take
  • Osteoporosis and arthritis in my feet, which have broken 3 times just from walking for exercise, and one foot breaking while swimming
  • Broke one foot falling off the Wii Fit Board trying to exercise… needed 3 surgeries to repair
  • Arthritis in my lower back, was on opioids for 8+ years for the back pain, becoming incredibly addicted, finally getting clean 3 years ago (yay me!) Now I use Mindfulness Meditation for pain relief, though many times I wish for some Norco.
  • It took me years to find surgeons I felt safe with to get my 4 hernias repaired (one surgery) and then my gallbladder out (a separate surgery, with 3 hospital visits afterwards because of infection)… several turning me away because of my enormous belly size (blessedly, I found the docs and those issues are resolved)
  • Bone loss from possibly 2 main sources: lack of exercise & the GB
  • Walking with a walker, but should be in an electric wheelchair, my feet hurting so badly
  • Using an electric wheelchair when I shop

Nautilus

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My world has gradually become smaller and smaller. After 32 years in birth work (where I hurt daily as well), I am now a sedentary Phone Sex Operator. I live in a small space and leave the house only for doctor appointments, physical therapy, shopping and seeing my doggies at mom’s house.

Writing that makes me sad.

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Part 2 On Its Way

In Part 2 of My Wall-E-esque Life, I will talk about the place the Fat Advocacy Movement does have in our lives. While it might not be health (despite the incessant refrain that it does), it is most assuredly have an enormous place in our physical and emotional world.

More soon!

Broken

 

Conflict

My wonderful submissive, my (Muslim) cublet, and I had some conflict this week about stuff going on in Europe (Freedom of the Press, Turkey, Netherlands, etc.) and he was feeling badly about how he responded to the discussion. Very badly. He felt that he’d let his Mistress (me) down.

After we worked things out, he asked me if, when I was a submissive, I ever disappointed Zack (my Dom) over and over and how did I deal with that.

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Endless Failures

I’m not sure where it bubbled up from, certainly from the recesses of my psyche, but I began talking, almost trance-like, about how Zack and I tried new diets every few weeks. It wasn’t a direct order to follow the regimen, but it was implied. I am able to follow the rhythm of these attempts in my Facebook Memories each day and, as I see each new diet, each new pledge to “Stick to this one!”, I wince knowing that I failed. Again. And again. And again.

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I’ve written about how I snuck food, hiding it, eating in the car and throwing away the evidence before I got home… how I still hoard food even though I have no need to whatsoever. Old habits and all.

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1 of about 6 hiding (hoarding) places.

When Zack and I learned about a new diet (always the Famous-Diet-of-the-Moment), it was up to me to research and make menus (which I despised doing). Then I would school Zack, we’d set a date to begin within the next couple of days and, once the sun rose on that date, we were off and running.

I knew as soon as the diet was brought up what was going to happen. Promises of “This Time!” and “I’m going to the gym every day.” Vowing, even to myself, that I would not cheat.

Yet within a few hours of the new diet, my stomach (mind) was rumbling and I needed food. Not healthy salads, which I could eat as much of as I wanted. Not the vegetable soup that I could serve myself every half hour if I desired. But food. Carbs, mostly. Bread. Tortillas. Potatoes. Burgers, fries, candy, cake… that endless list of Forbidden Fruit (yeah, fruit?!)

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I would fly through this entire cycle in about 4 hours.

I became a demon in search of the poison that (never) filled me up. I would sit thinking, “Where can I get money to go buy food? What excuse can I make to get out of the house? Where can I hide the other half of the burger I can’t eat while in the car?” Looking at me, you’d think I was merely watching TV. Inside my head, I was a military officer strategizing the next battle, down to the last marching step. Obsession does not begin to describe the experience.

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I always found food. Even if I had to steal it from my sister-in-law. Or sneak money out of Zack’s wallet to buy it. Or sell something for the few coins I received; candy is pretty cheap.

There it was. I was a failure. Again. A crushing failure, doomed to disappoint Zack. Again.
When he realized what was going on (how he didn’t know within hours is beyond me), usually after the second week’s weigh-in and he’d lost gobs of weight and… lookie there! I’d gained 5 pounds! That he believed in me each time, that he trusted me to tell the truth “this time,” (which is how he didn’t see me cheating – he trusted me) made my failure all the more bitter.

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Clinging Together

So when my cub asked if I’d been a serial disappointment, I don’t think he expected an entire post to fall out of my fingers about it.

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So, he and I met online almost 18 months ago, both of us traversing different worlds, surely never to meet in real life, but here we are, my cublet and I, both sharing those same shame feelings.

Curious. Do you think everyone has them? If we all talked to each other long enough would we all find we had this deep place inside that feels we disappoint the ones we love most?

I know people really well… human nature really well. But I cannot recall others feeling broken the way he and I described to each other.

And how do 2 broken people find each other anyway? Is it a psychic connection that says, “Join and you shall begin to glue each other back together?”

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Does the mere airing of the pain begin the healing? (Provided we are in therapy, of course. I am aware that 2 dysfunctional people will not spontaneously heal the hurt.) This phenomenon really is quite baffling.

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Be-ing With the Pain

I spent several days deep inside, remembering these horrid feelings of shame and disappointment, actually worried I was getting depressed and might need a med change. Instead, I just sat with the feelings. Allowing them to curl around me, reminding me that, even if I don’t remember them, they do still exist and have an effect on my life.

Writing this has been an exercise of sitting with the pain, crying at times, really deeply sad other times and now that the post is winding down, I think I am finally finding some peace.

I hope it lasts.

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artist, calmdownchristina

My Navelgazing Midwife Goodbye

Weaning is complete.

I began my Navelgazing Midwife Facebook Page (NgM FB Page) in 2009 and will be closing the door on it Monday, March 13, 2017.

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I took this photo and used it for 10 years on my business card and in correspondence. One of my favorite clients, Silvia Frank, was killed by her husband after she left him for Domestic Violence. Her 5 daughters are amazing.

I became the Navelgazing Midwife (NgM) right around 2003 or so. The first blog I had was on Blogger, but when they snatched pages from it and censored me because I had nude women (birthing and breastfeeding!), I moved to Squarespace after making sure they would not be censoring.

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One of the favorite photographs I’ve ever taken. Jenna was nearing the end of her labor and we watched, mesmerized, as her uterus crested outside the water during contractions, then her belly sinking completely under the water after the wave. This picture was the header for my Navelgazing Midwife Blog for several years.

My first post on the Navelgazing Midwife Blog was July 3, 2004 and the last post I put there was July 31, 2016, directing folks to my new blog, the Navelgazing Writer (NgW). I’ve debated closing the NgM blog, but know there are still wondrous birth stories there and some midwifery history we would be good to remember as time passes.

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Katie birthing Uma while her mother supports and loves her. Katie’s mom has passed; looking at this, my heart soars. I took this photo.

My NgM FB Page holds much history as well, including the moment-by-moment births of my grandbabies Gabriella and Preston… and included the postpartum hemorrhage that nearly killed Meghann 36 hours after Preston’s birth. The news of my angel grandbaby Eliott is also enclosed within these pages. My newest granddaughter Alexandra’s early cesarean birth was announced there a mere 3 months ago.

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Gabriella, 5 – Preston, 2.5 – Alexandra, 1 month (my grandbabies!)

If you’re reading this on the NgM FB Page, you already know I have been weaning for a while. I left birth completely 2.5 years ago (except for my grandbabies), having left midwifery 5 years before that. News has gradually lessened; my commentary barely audible anymore.

I’ve turned to chronicling my life for my kids and their kids, sharing my knowledge of and inclusion in the early LGBT communities in Orlando, Florida, Frankfurt, Germany & San Diego, California. I have barely begun to share the story of my 2+ decade-long relationship with Zack (previously known as Sarah) and the impact of his transitioning on our lives.

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Zack (before his transition) nursing his son and my daughter Aimee. We co-nursed for 2.5 years, often saying all families should have 4 lactating breasts in the home. I took this picture, circa 1986.

Interspersed will have to be birthy stories… I just wrote 2 about the immigrant populations I worked with in San Diego and El Paso, Texas. Birth has been an integral part of my life since January 1983… I could not write my autobiography without including it. I just have a different viewpoint now that I am above and far away from the stories that once affected every aspect of my spirit, emotions, relationships and friendships.

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Shayla and her then-husband. Shayla had one of the most horrific hospital births I attended in 32 years. Exhibit A demonstrating blatant racism in maternity care.

I’ve had a sort of hidden life for a long time… one of intense sexuality and BDSM. I was a lifestyle submissive with my former partner Zack and am writing about these things as well.

My life since puberty has been colored with mental illness. Bipolar Disorder and Depression and are well-represented in the NgW blog. Much more to come as the blog is still fairly new.

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I was addicted to opiates for 8 years, it sliding through my sister’s dying of an accidental overdose on opiates, Fentanyl being the actual cause of her death. I am now 2.5 years clean and share that story in my new blog as well.

My body, at almost 56-years old, is tired, disabled and in a lot of pain; Mindfulness Meditation and 800 mg. ibuprofen are my pain relief. I struggle with a plethora of issues, most fat-related. It is crucial for me to write about my life as a fat woman, someone who’s tried a hundred times to not be fat anymore, but still fat after trying it all. My feet have arthritis and keep breaking just from walking. I have osteoporosis (from the gastric bypass). My diabetes, while okay at the moment with a HgbA1c of 5.9, that is with 2 insulins on board.

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Since leaving birth, I’ve become a sex worker. I’m not writing a lot about it at the moment, but it colors my life tremendously. Amazingly, all the years of birth work and therapy have armed me adequately for caring for the men, women and transfolks I work with every single day. There is not one day when my birth experiences do not figure prominently in the interactions with others.

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Because of the state of the United States right now, I explored different topics about which to write, but quickly saw that, not only did some topics affect my mental state, but a zillion different ones joined the list every day. I needed to focus my attention and have chosen Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press as my main demonstration issues against 45.

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Illustrator, Eric Drooker

It’s been an interesting shift in my thought process, from birth to politics. I’m observing my Self intently, monitoring my emotions, mental state, my body’s physical responses and lastly, what those around me have to say about what I’ve written. The NgW Blog is still really small, very few readers with each post, but it took about 2 years for the NgM Blog to pick up steam, so I’m not sweating it. Also, I really am writing for myself, giving flight to my thoughts and experiences, and if others find what I write helpful or creates a visceral response, all the better.

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There were only a couple of posts in the NgM Blog that were written with the reader in mind and whenever I did that, I regretted it. Of all the posts, only one was removed and edited because of the backlash I got from my licensing organization. (I cannot tell you how freeing it is to be completely unrestrained now, writing writing writing without someone threatening my livelihood. There really are nasty, ugly parts to midwifery politics in the US.)

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I know many of you reading have followed me for a long time. I cannot thank you enough for considering my views and listening to my thoughts, even when you disagreed with me. Thank you for challenging me, making me think… allowing me to shift and change and grow. I am not the same woman who created the nom de plume “Navelgazing Midwife,” but you are not the same either. Isn’t it amazing to witness our own growth and transformations?

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Endless gratitude to all of you and may your lives and the lives of those around you be filled with boundless love and light. You will never be forgotten.

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Fat Girl Stories: My Clitoris

So this is a basic explanation of one very fat female’s clitoris (which I suspect will be a series regarding the sexual and reproductive parts of a fat woman). It goes without saying, your body is different than mine. Your experiences might be the polar opposite of mine. However, I do hope this opens discussion between you, friends, lovers, sex partners, and if they are old enough, even your kids. There is never enough information shared!

If you want more information than I have here, Google “Female Reproductive System” and “Female Sexual Responses” and you will get a good start with the details. Planned Parenthood, of course, also has amazing overview.

The Clitoris

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For real, it wasn’t until 1998 that all of the clitoris was “discovered” (by researchers; I knew it was there!). See the light pink on the picture above? Those are called “the legs” of the clit. And fuck, do they feel good to stimulate. I like my right leg, near the apex where the red and pink meet, stimulated, either with a tongue or fingers. I do not like the clit head actually swiped or licked… it is far too sensitive and feels painful.

My (Precious) Vibe

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Do you hear the angels singing as I show you my vibrator?

The Hitachi Magic Wand is my masturbation addiction. I keep two handy just in case one flickers out. I’ve used the HMW for about 15 years. I recently used a cordless one and it was even more powerful than the corded one. It is next on my list of toys to buy.

The vibe can lower sensitivity if over-used, but all I have to do is not masturbate for 3-4 days and the lusciousness comes right back.

And as I said above, the right side is where I put my vibe.

There have only been a few times in my life that I have been able to orgasm without machinery, not including learning with the powerful faucet/shower massage as a teen. I can orgasm while being fucked, but not with G-Spot stimulation.

Accessibility

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As I said, I am pretty darned fat… right about 330 pounds. Even if I could orgasm with my hand, it is challenging to reach my clit because of my belly. The Hitachi is the perfect extension/reach. I recently wrote a new vibrator company telling them their vibrators were too short for fat men and women to use. They sent me back a nice note saying they hadn’t even thought of that, thanking me for bringing it to their attention.

When I’ve lost weight, my clit became more prominent and even more sensitive if you can imagine. I remember being 150 pounds and wearing blue jeans and feeling my clit rubbing up against the zipper seam. Good goddess, that was a delight. I always wondered if the thinner girls enjoyed continuous stimulation that way.

But, most of my life, sexual and otherwise, I have been super-fat and the fat can pad the area. I’ve always had lovers who found their way around my adipose tissue, knowing how to lift and pull to get where they wanted to go, all while reminding me how deliciously sexy I was. It takes some creative positions sometimes, hips high on pillows or a wedge like the Liberator (below), but who cares? Whatever allows for easier access to the clitoris, right?

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The Liberator!

Tell Me About YOUR Clitoris!

I would love to hear from others… fat, thin, differently-abled, transgender… any wondrous variation of bodies… tell us all about your body’s clitoris. I look forward to this being more a dialog than a one-sided post. There are too many of us that do not match my experiences. Please share yours!

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There Will Be Blood

I zippity-doo-dah around Google Images every day, collecting a variety of things that catch my eye, many of which are not anything I was initially searching for or associated with it. So when I stumbled across an antique Sanitary Belt pic, I had a head-rush of memories from when I was a teen just starting my period.

Having spent 32 years in birth work, I have talked about first periods hundreds of times. I’ve always been fascinated by the vast differences between women’s experiences.

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the picture I randomly found

What the Heck?

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I went to The Period Movie in 6th grade, girls only, smashed into the cafeteria. I still am clueless what the boys did while we learned about “menstruation.” (The link takes you to the Disney-made menstruation movie that came out in 1946. I could pretty much guarantee it was the same movie I saw in 1972.)

Watching the movie was my first exposure to what a woman’s body was capable of. My mom was mute when it came to anything remotely sexual, even something as basic as body changes in adolescence.

After we girls watched and learned, we chitty-chatted a lot, each telling the other when they began wearing bras, shaving their legs or growing public hair. The pies de resistance, however, was who had started having periods. Sitting here 45 years later, I cannot figure out why, but you were elevated almost to Goddess stature when you did begin.

That Brown Paper Bag

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artist, Nadine Faraj

When I finally started at 12, a full year after the movie, I felt like I was one of the last ones out of the gate. Hardly, but self-centered me, that was what I thought.

I told my terribly prudish mother (who blessedly, has loosened up considerably over the decades) and within a couple of hours, I went into my room and there, on the end of the bed, was a brown paper bag. I dumped out the contents and had absolutely no idea what to do next.

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A white elastic belt & an enormous pad with long gauze arms on each end. What the fuck?

I sat down and read the directions, seeing how the gauze arms were to be threaded through the hooks on the belt. It looked like a geometry problem… and I suck at math.

I did figure out how to put the pad on, then saw how I was supposed to wear it, elastic on my hips, pad between my legs. But when I tried to put my legs through the make-shift holes, the pad twisted wildly. It took several periods before I got the clue to hold it with one hand while putting my legs through the holes.

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Up there, do you see those pokie triangles on the metal that holds the pad’s gauze? Well, I suspect they are uncomfortable on most women, but on a fat teenager, they stabbed my flesh. In my mons and in the crack of my ass, I would get indentations that imprinted my body and by the end of the day, I would have bloody spots where the metal prongs went right through my skin. An alternative to these hook thingies was using safety pins, but those were equally painful, especially if they opened during flight and stabbed me while walking to my next class. Or while playing my flute as I marched on the practice field a mile from the bathroom. (Yes, it happened.)

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A Loaf of Bread? Are You Kidding?

Pulling the elastic belt up, the pad was finally positioned between my legs. I can remember it now as if it was yesterday. Being fat, my thighs never had “the gap,” not even as a toddler, so wearing the thick cotton between my legs became an adventure in hands-off, nearly constant, re-positioning.

If you’re one of the youngsters who never had to wear the baguette-sized pads between your legs, how lucky you are. This picture demonstrates the very real situation we dealt with for 5 to 7 days, every. single. month.

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My belts never went up around my waist like this mannequin’s, but were more under my belly button, the elastic stretching to its maximum capacity, gouging me nearly as much as the metal pieces. But you get the idea of how bulky (understatement!) these things were.

That is, until my fat thighs squished it like so much Play-Doh, being more comfortable between my legs, but the hell if it was able to contain the blood.

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Through the Bathroom Door

It was less than a year before I began wearing tampons, urged on by my girlfriends, all of whom had pools or went to the Y with me, except when, during shark week (which is the best name EVER for having your period; it didn’t exist in the olden days), I stayed ashore.

I don’t know who donated the box of Tampax tampons, but I am sure my mom had nothing to do with it. So, I sat on my bed while my three best friends described to me how to put the tampon in. They might as well have been describing how to install an engine in a plane.

After I was equipped with verbal instructions, I went into the bathroom, alone. Just me, the full box of tampons, including the written directions and a small jar of Vaseline.

Trial & Error

I sat on the toilet reading the directions, it really all being so foreign; I’d never touched my vulva except with toilet paper after peeing… and most certainly never put my fingers inside myself.

I opened one of the paper-covered tampons, looked at it from all angles, totally confused how that was going to go inside me. And the actual tampon was inside the cardboard container?

This was my Riddle of the Sphinx.

My 3 girlfriends stood outside the bathroom door asking what was taking so long. I had no answer. The one who brought the tampon party favors with the side of Vaseline began coaching me.

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Did you put the Vaseline on the end? Not a lot.

Shit, I have a giant glob there. wiping some off with toilet paper

Now, use your left hand and open your lips.

My lips? Huh?

On your Down There.

I guess these are called lips, too?

I touched myself for the first time without toilet paper. scrunching up my face Hmmm, not bad.

Now take the tampon and slide it in a little, AIM FOR YOUR BACK! Don’t go straight in.

I pushed straight up and gashed my clitoris (that I didn’t know existed yet).

OW!

You pushed straight up, didn’t you! Don’t do that. Try again.

I took the offending object out and threw it angrily in the garbage can; it never occurred to me use the same one. I huffed reaching for another tampon, ripping the paper off, digging it into the Vaseline jar (with less goop this time) and breathed deep as I set out to find The Right Hole.

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I repeated this same scenario through at least 5 tampons, 3 of which before realizing I had to pull the cardboard applicator out. This was a freakin’ dexterity test! Thinking I had it in, I’d  walk to the door of the bathroom, ready to say, “I DID IT!” when, before I walked 4 steps, it either hurt like crap or fell out. Despaired, I went back to the toilet, only to begin again.

My friends would not let me leave that cubicle until I Got It.

Of course, I did eventually figure it out: AIM TOWARDS MY BACK. Wasn’t that the original advice? laughing, shaking my head

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The Midwife Who’s a Slow Learner

When I began working in birth, I sometimes thought back to my ignorance about my own body. As I figured out there were 3 holes on the perineum, that the clitoris brought enormous fun, that being fucked in the vagina is a really nice experience, I relished the position I held to teach others who, I found out, were as equally in the dark as I had been.

I send thoughts of thanks and gratitude to those three friends who taught me much more about my body in an hour than I had learned in 12 years.

I continue learning to this day.

 

Fat Girl Stories: Ugliness

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artist, Jenny Saville

Avoiding my reflection at all costs

No mirrors, no glass windows

Nothing form-fitting

Overlooking any signs of weight gain.

 

Self-consciousness submerges into unconsciousness.

 

At the height of ignorance

I spill secrets with abandon

Forgetting the flayed flesh

That comes with disclosure.

 

How stupid could I have been?

 

I whirl around with joy

And smash into the looking glass

Shattering my image into a million broken shards

I fall back to earth with a heavy thud.

 

Barely breathing, I do not move.

 

Slices ooze.

My raw hands hurry

To scoop up pools of blood

Mixed with tears;

 

It will not reabsorb.

 

I am fat.

Fat fat fat fat fat fat

Fat fat fat far fat fat fat

Fat, fatter, fattest

 

Loved, yet still so unlovable.

ugly