*AWAP = As Well As Possible
Yesterday I did a kinda crazy thing. Maybe it won’t seem kinda crazy to you, but in hindsight, it was a barrier-breaking moment for me.
I alluded publicly to the fact that I have a vagina.
I know! Crazy!
Before you get all up in arms, I KNOW it’s not crazy.
It’s just that despite my openness about so much of my ChronicBabe journey, I don’t frequently mention anything to do with my girl parts. It’s not that I’m ashamed, or embarrassed, or shy… it’s just never come up.
Until yesterday, when I posted this selfie:
(It’s kind of hard to read, but my caption said this: “that thing when you get your second gyne exam in two days and this time, you manage to get ultrasound gel all over your sweater. derp! #HospitalGlam #sicklookslikeme #examroomselfie #ChronicBabe”
I like to poke fun at a lot of things.
Like being sick, for one. If I didn’t laugh about this stuff all the time, I think I’d go crazy. I started posting pics with the #examroomselfie hashtag last year because it was fun to update people and be goofy at the same time. Then Karolyn Gehrig upped the game with her #HospitalGlam hashtag and I was super-excited — tons of gorgeous sick chicks (and dudes) started showing up in my feed. The more of us open up like this, the more “normalized” life as a ChronicBabe becomes.
Just, usually, you know, when I post an #examroomselfie at the gynecologist, I don’t usually specify my location.
I’m not sure why, really, I’ve just felt like it was too much information. Too intimate. Too vulnerable. And totally not fun.
I don’t know what got into me yesterday. (Oh, actually I do, but that’s WAY too much information… haha see what I did there? A joke! Haha! Sigh.) One minute I was taking this goofy pic, the next I was uploading it to the world, revealing the fact that I’m having some probs in my girl parts.
Which SO MANY of us do. After all, most of us own these parts. And most of us have issues at some point or another. And while I’ve watched babes with bags show off their pouches; while I’ve watched paralyzed babes show off their feeding tubes; while I’ve watched diabetic pals show off their glucose injection sites… I’ve somehow thought it was unladylike, indecorous to mention if I have a problem with my girl parts.
Which just goes to show there’s always room to learn.
As a ChronicBabe… as THE ChronicBabe… I believe it’s my responsibility to continue to be open, honest and willing to share much of my experience with the world, with the goal of creating more dialogue that normalizes life for all people with chronic illness, disease and disability. Although I’ve previously thought that for me, that meant placing a figurative big black bar across my midsection, I think I’m lifting that bar a little bit. Just a weeeeeee bit. Enough that I’m OK with y’all knowing that among my many other chronic health issues, I also sometimes have gyne issues. It comes with the territory of having multiple autoimmune issues piling on, and it’s part of my life.
So there… it’s out in the open. Feels a little scary, a little weird, and a lot vulnerable. But also OK. Because I know you understand, and I also know that sharing this is enough to help us connect even more without getting TOO personal about my situation.
How much should you reveal?
As much as you’re comfortable with. That’s going to be different for everyone. I know ChronicBabes who reveal so much that I sometimes cringe, but it works for them. I know other ChronicBabes who tell me years after the fact about an issue they dealt with and my heart breaks because I KNOW I could have been more helpful if only they had let me in just a little bit more. But it’s up to them to decide what’s comfortable (especially since everything on the Internet lives forever).
Moving forward, how much will you reveal? I’m curious to find out. And what did you think of MY reveal? I bet that for some of you, it was no biggie. Maybe some of you cringed. I’m so curious to know. Tell me in the comments below, won’tcha?
Now it’s your turn:
How do you set and guard boundaries in your life as a ChronicBabe? I would love to know! Join the conversation below.
Want to watch more AWAP Wednesday videos? I’ll be back at you next with a fresh video, but meanwhile: Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has more than six hours of guidance, advice, and bloopers.
Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email.
Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches!