I became acutely aware of my vulva and vagina a month before I turned 10. My menarche was a surprise, to say the least. My mom and dad were both very forthcoming with information about the growing body, so it was not that I was uninformed, it was that I was scared. I felt so totally alone and honestly thought that there was something wrong with me. I was bleeding from my vagina, vaguely aware that it quite possibly could be my first period, but so deathly afraid that I was going to have to go to the doctor, yet again, that I suffered in silence. Drop by drop, slowly soaking whatever cloth I thought I could possibly get rid of without anyone noticing. Thus, began my very personal and empowering journey.
From that moment to this, I continue to learn that there is something powerful and wonderful about what I have. From my first boyfriend in high school, to my recent ex husband these lessons have been hard learned and wonderful all the same. I have learned to harness what. I have learned that to be a woman is wonderful and scary, painful and rewarding. I am recently divorce, and that journey from marriage to isolation to abject horror to freedom has only strengthened who I am. I remember being so afraid of my husband and what was going to happen, but knowing that when he was gone there was really nothing that he could do. When he was present, I did not have to be. I knew deep down that he was angry because there was something that I had that he would never, no matter how much he took from me, made me endure, and heaped upon me, gain or break. That was my womanhood. I may not have been able to refuse him, but I did have the ability to, when he was not there, be myself with myself. Hard as he may try to make me feel dirty and filthy, unworthy of love, I still have the power to accept myself, and there is nothing more powerful than knowing that your vulva is what makes you, well, you.
My vulva is a beautiful. She is not filthy, she is wonderful. She has given me happiness and ushered in life. I have never been ashamed of my vulva, because what is the point? A leopard cannot change his spots, why would I want to change my womanhood and deny myself of my vulva. My vulva is mine and no one else’s, and I would have it no other way.