Saturday, September 27, 2008

If It Were My Back, You'd Get It

Perhaps the hardest part of this whole experience -- besides the pain itself -- has been feeling like because it's my crotch, no one takes me seriously. And because it's my crotch, I can't tell everyone about it. And because it's my crotch, let's just leave the subject alone.

If it were my back that hurt chronically, I could say, "my back hurts," and people would know why my mood had suddenly sunk. If it were my back, people would ask about it routinely not only because they'd know about it, but because it wouldn't involve foul language. If it were my back, they would grasp the burden of it. They'd understand it to be a legitimate problem and not some obscure condition that can't hurt that bad, can it?

But no, it's my crotch, and it's a bad word. Let's not talk about it; it's impolite. It may not even be real, for all we know. It's probably just melodrama anyway.

To all the cowardly people out there who'd choose conversational comfort over providing support: grow up.

I don't know how to express how far just a little bit of outside investment goes when you're struggling with something like vulvodynia. The pain has changed my life. It's changed the way I exist. It's doused my sex drive, made me dread the toilet. It's intruded on movies, on music, on work and thought. It's changed the way I see dating and absolutely barred me from having sex. It's changed my self-image and my perception of the future. It's dragged me down with its slow tug: when it started, every day was the day it would end.

A single phrase from another person can stand up to all that assault -- even something so simple as "how are you feeling today?" It means I'm not going it alone. It means that somehow, through some spiritual mechanism, other shoulders join mine in bearing the pain's weight.

To those out there who know exactly what I'm talking about: I promise that once I get all this angst out of the way, my zillions of upbeat thoughts will pour forth.

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