Oh My Ovaries
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Oh My Ovaries

Answer me this…

I like to think that I’m good at being vulnerable. That I’m brave in the way that I wear my heart on my sleeve, that my glass face shows what I’m thinking or feeling, and that I make little to no attempt to hide it…

I share stories of things that have happened to me, or near me. I share them as unflinchingly as I can, even the bad stories full of things that have been said or done to and by me.

But really, those stories are about experiences that I’ve already processed. I know how I feel about them. I know (as much I actually can) why those experiences happened the way they did.

Is it vulnerable if you already know the answers?

I know a lot of answers. I’ve done a lot of work to find those answers. I’ve spent time with counsellors, psychologists, mental health practitioners; I’ve done a lot of my own research and reading, and self evaluation.

On a general day to day basis, I know who I am. I know what makes me tick, what my values are, why I feel the way I do. My mind loves finding connections between feelings and events. My mind loves knowing.

So, I like to think that I’m “bravely vulnerable”.

But when I’m in the midst of hurt, or confusion, or sadness, I hide from other people. I hide from the people who know me and love me, because I have to have the answers and I can’t function around my people before I’ve worked out the answer.

So I hide.

I “not today”.

I “no, I’m fine, just kind of tired, you know?”

I rearrange furniture, in the hope that a visual change sparks a new idea (which it often does).

I read.

I write.

I draw.

And when I have the answers, or at least the beginning of an answer or understanding, then I can talk to my people.

As coping mechanisms go, it’s not flawless. My difficulty in asking for help when I most need it is sometimes stifling, and it can lead to me being in deeper trouble for longer than is actually necessary.

I know that asking for help or support makes the difficult things easier, or to pass more quickly.

But it still took me five attempts to leave a voice message for Mapland to say that I was feeling sad that he’s going to be away for eight weeks.

I’ve known he was going to be away since the start of the year. It hasn’t been a secret. This isn’t new information that’s been sprung on me with no time to process it.

I’ve sat with it, and I’ve pondered it, and I’ve answered my questions as to why it might be difficult, and why I might feel sad about it; and then I’ve shrugged my shoulders, said it is what it is, I have my answers, crack on etc.

But then the night before he was due to leave, I felt so sad, I was choking on it. Literally.

And I knew that the quickest way to stop choking on difficult words and feelings was to (shock, horror) ask someone else to help me work out the answer.

So I voice messaged Mapland to tell him I was feeling sad, that this was harder than I’d anticipated, and perhaps I hadn’t quite realised how much I was going to miss him, even though I’m from a military family and should be totally used to this by now.

I don’t know the answer.

Let the mockery/derision/accusations of being too clingy or needy begin.

Except it didn’t.

What I got instead was just the right mixture of compassion and logic:

Yes, I’m from a military family and have experience of people going away for prolonged periods of time. But, that previous experience is from the perspective of a child, and what’s happening now is both different and exactly the same.

Serious lightbulb moment. I know that I would have got to that understanding on my own at some point, but it wouldn’t have been until my adult and logical brain had come back online, and that wasn’t happening any time soon.

Because I’m caught up in feeling these things with the intensity of an eight year old who knows that they have to go to boarding school, that things are the way they are and can’t be changed, but who doesn’t understand why.

That doesn’t mean they’re not important, or that they can be ignored or shoved back down to be dealt with at another point in time.

But it does help to break things down a bit, so that they’re lighter to carry, and they’re not so overwhelming.

And maybe it’s ok to let someone else help you to carry these things when they feel too big or heavy, even if it’s just for a little while.



Tales from a slightly sarcastic, gleefully feminist killjoy.

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Laura-Anne Williams

Director of Get Social. Marketing and feminism are my bag, baby. And cake. Big fan thereof.