The uncomfortable of seeing you.
Recently I came across a article on Facebook from Self Magazine talking about the Beautiful Cervix Project. I have to say that when I looked at the initial images in the Self Magazine article i winced and felt as if i should not even be looking at these pictures, it was to be honest uncomfortable. My insides clinched up and for a moment froze. My solar plexus flipped and caused physical pain it my gut. I honestly had to take a moment and ask myself why did the sight of a female body part cause me so much discomfort? I made myself go back and read the article and what she was trying to accomplish, two points in the article really made me think and look at what information I had been given in my youth and even my adult life. Starkey says
“Many women do not even think about their cervix or reproductive health until they get an abnormal Pap smear or they are pregnant” and . “While some sex education teaches about menstruation, rarely are the days between periods discussed and women are left clueless about how to care for, interpret, and advocate for their own vaginal and cervical health.”
Coming from generation of women who did not speak as openly about our bodies and how they worked I can see how that information was not passed on. I remember my mother giving me a set of three books on reproduction. It was a in a case that was red at the bottom and gray at the top. I always joke and tell the story of when my father found out and took the third book which was about sex but now I realize this was her attempt at insuring that I had some knowledge about my body and how it all worked. I remember taking nursing classes in high school and being able to tell you what type of tissues lined it and all the medical terminology that comes with it but we did not really speak of it in relation to ourselves it was as in the sense of it being someone else.
As I write this I begin to see the areas where there are gaps in what i have passed to my daughter and my sons. I could could easily sit and give her sources and information but it would be coming from a place where my information well was limited. In order for me to fill her well with knowledge of self I must first fill my own and pass it on to here from a place of confidence and self love. Kids have a way of sensing when you are not passing information from that place and tend to wave it off as hallow words. Starkey’s second point
“Messages and advertising target our insecurities and fears about our own bodies: We are taught our vaginas need to be perfumed, douched, bleached, surgically made smaller, are incapable of birthing, etc”.
In looking into my discomfort with the idea of seeing a cervix I began to realize that many of the messages of insecurities and fears are so subtle and ingrained that we hardly even notice them. Growing up I remember commercials about FDS , Douching and the all to often comment if it smells like fish ….all eluding to a negative image of our vaginas. I never noticed it because it played in the background, fortunately my mind could not wrap around the idea of spraying perfume on a are that was so sensitive and the idea of douching was abhorrent to me. I am greatful that over time I learned that the body does not need your help with a douche as it was created to cleanse it self and works perfectly fine as long as we wash with a clean wet rag (no soap needed) eat the proper food to support vaginal health and wear proper fitting clothes and let her breath at night (no underwear).
I had one time thought I had not been affected by societies subtle yet negative hits of the female body be it through religion, t.v. or lack of information passed on because of taboo and shame, but the wincing pain from looking at the images of a cervix tell me that is not so.
I carry the insecurities and fears of seeing, relating and exploring these aspects of my body that so many other women care, the ones my daughter carries by way of my teaching or lack there of. I realize that the simple step of view a picture of a womens cervix has shown me a hidden and uncomfortable place within myself that I must look into in order for healing to begin. Looking into this space not only do I heal but I teach my daughter to do the same and generation to come as well. If there is anything to be learned it is that by begining with our own personal healing, by looking into our fears that we teach those who follow how to truly live and grow even in the face of the uncomfortable.