It first happened when I was 14. Then again at 19. Then again at 20. Then, finally again at 21. Finally, one would hope. I was a happy child, obsessed with butterflies and frogs, loved to play badminton and go swimming. At 14, like most other women unfortunately, I lost my childhood. I had a lot of shame encompassed around it. Was it my fault? Should I not have done this or that? Did I lead him on? – Questions no 14 year old should have to ask themselves.
I do not want to dwell too much into the details of what exactly happened each of those times, because well we don’t want to open that can of worms. However, after the first time, I noticed that my vagina, kind of, I mean quite literally, closed up. I tried to finger myself, insert toys or vegetables (desperation, am I right?), and even have penetrative sex – it was all met with nothing but excruciating pain. When I was 19, I went to the gynaecologist for an annual check-up. She inserted one finger in me and had me screaming in agony. What the hell was going on? After a lot of research and self-reflection, I found out that the condition I had was called vaginismus.
Vagina Did What?!
Vaginismus occurs when there is involuntary contraction of vaginal muscles upon insertion. Basically, things go inside, you subconsciously freeze up, and your vagina is sealed shut. “A sexual disorder with psychological associations”, my therapist said. Well, vaginismus happens for a variety of reasons. This was mine. So, I couldn’t have sex because men were mean to me in the past. How unfair is that, right? All my friends with their missed periods, pregnancy scares, and secret abortions – I felt like I was missing out. I mean, yeah, it was all traumatic as hell for them, I’m sure, but FOMO operates in strange ways that I haven’t quite gauged yet.
Every time I hooked up with someone with a penis, I’d think to myself, “Hmm, maybe it won’t happen this time”. Boy, was I wrong. Pain, pain, pain – why won’t you leave me alone? Was it all just because men were mean to me? I asked my therapist and she let out a small chuckle. “We’ve been at this for 9 years, how do you not know this yet?” she asked. “Know what?” I retorted, kind of annoyed.
“Your vaginismus is related to your trauma of the past, as well as your trauma with body dysphoria.”
Growing Up Heavy
Oh, now it made much more sense. I grew up a fat kid. Very fat kid. “morbidly obese” in medical terms, the doctors would say. So as it goes, I was bullied a lot. Bullied to the extent where I felt completely trapped in my body. I hated the damn thing – felt utterly betrayed by it. Mirrors and cameras were my worst enemies, and even today the slightest fat-phobic comment can send me spiraling for weeks on end. At the age of 16, I went through a life altering surgery and stapled my stomach. Not because I cared about my health or anything, I just wanted to be thin. And thin I was, for about 2 years. I shed 45 kilos, and my BMI was borderline overweight, instead of obese. I had succeeded. Then, well, as I mentioned in the beginning, the past trauma repeated itself – thrice. Alcohol and food became vices I could never say no to, so here I am with all my weight gained back, and a stomach the size of my fist, because of which I will never be able to eat a full meal again, ever in my life. All because at 16, I didn’t have enough knowledge or strength to overcome societal pressures. Woe is me, but moving on.
Trauma and body dysphoria were quite difficult hills to climb, let alone conquer. And how, pray tell, would I ever be able to have pleasurable penetrative sex? Overcoming just those two bastards, of course. So there I was, broken hearted and exhausted – why does everything need to be so complicated, am I right?
Depressed, alcoholic, fat, and failing. I decided that that was it, I was done. My official diagnosis was Borderline Personality Disorder, but my internal framework just yelled “b*tch is crazy”. So, after all that, I decided to end it all. Of course, I survived the stupid attempt, but it was probably the most traumatic thing I have ever been through. The doctors handcuffed me to the bed, pumped my stomach, and then starved me for hours. After three days in the ICU, I finally went home.
The Getting Up
Pretty sad, right?
Well, it has been about a year now, and lessons have been learned. I mean, I didn’t exactly turn myself around in a day with a new positive attitude, thanking God because She gave me another chance. I cursed Her, quite a lot, for protecting me. But I learned to like mirrors and cameras again. Little by little, and now I’m obsessed with them. I learned that life happens to you, and you have no control over it when it does, because well that’s life; but you do have some control over how you can be nice to yourself when the rest of the world is not. I learned that sleeping pills and wine are perhaps not the most selfless combination, and that I have people who depend on my very existence to be happy. So what kind of a hypocrite would I be to deprive others of something that I know I have been deprived of in the past? I also learned that 16 is not the age where people should be making permanently life-altering decisions, but well since that one isn’t reversible, it’s a lesson I’ll have to learn to live with the hard way. But that’s okay. It’s all okay. When life has been taken away from you, when the world as you know it has ended, it actually really hasn’t ended at all; it’s just the beginning.
I still can’t have sex. However, I tried fingering myself the other day. Two, too much. Three, not a chance. But one? Can do! Can do? CAN DO?! HOLY MOTHERFORKING SHIRTBALLS. We all start with one, and I guess I have, as well. So things aren’t all that bad. As for my body, I realised that I wasn’t betrayed by it. The fact was that I had betrayed it myself. I turned on it when it provided me with nothing but care, ability, pleasure, emotions, and so much more. So today, I remain morbidly obese in medical terms, but man I’m a goddess. I’m fat- and fat is not a bad word. I’m crazy- in its most fun sense.. I’m traumatized- but trauma heals and so does the pain. But despite it all, today, I’m my biggest fan.