Saturday, August 8, 2009

How to Rescue: A Lesson from My Hannah

After a while -- and several times over -- I got to the point where I just wanted to be rescued and I didn't understand why no one was coming along to save me. It wasn't a conscious request. My brain just said, wow, I'm done. Where's the rescue squad?

And I'd snap back and say, hey, we're fine. Or I'd say, hey, you know that doesn't happen. And I'd ask myself, what would rescuing look like anyway? You hate feeling dependent on others, so it certainly wouldn't be someone stepping in and taking care of you.

----and you have so many friends and relatives who have voiced support for you. Who have listened to you and done research for you. Is that not rescue? Why is that not enough? Why do you still feel the need to be saved?

And then my friend Hannah posted the picture above and I realized what "rescue" meant.

Knowing other people support you is extremely important -- don't get me wrong. But sympathetic words are fleeting when you're in a hole. They lack the physical interruption of another's presence, another's hug, and after a while you start feeling like a pity case and that just makes you even sadder. You spend time with people who know about your condition but if you live alone you're nearly 100% of the time dealing with it solo. You feel like the center of everyone's anguish because that's all you talk about with them anymore, and you know you're more than your disease but you don't remember how.

Hannah posted the picture above and dedicated it to me "Because I love hers just as much as I loves mine. :)" You might remember Hannah's coochielove from the vulva she sent me for my birthday.

So, what is rescue?


Because I am not a whiny-ass victim of vulvodynia. I have never been. YES it gets me down and it's exhausting and I try not to whine but then I do anyway. But fuck it, I am a rock star. If I can sit through the pain I've been through, I can do absolutely anything.

I hate that the social side of vulvodynia has turned into a cesspool of Esther pity. I never wanted that. I wanted support, yes -- to feel heard. Because for a long time I didn't feel heard. But then my tantrums to get heard resulted in this festering sob story that makes me think of myself as an object of pity. Ew.

Hannah rescues me by calling me up from my algae existence into the realm of celebration and laughter. She's dealt with her own shit in life and still, fifteen years later, she's as shiny-eyed as I've ever known her to be. She may not always feel like it, but no matter what she keeps her spirit with her -- and shares it with those around her. And I don't know whether she sees it in herself, but she's one of the most unstoppably upbeat people I know and one of the most sincere.

I tried to rescue myself the way Hannah rescues me -- with my Mariah, my Ace of Base, with my coochie jokes, with my fantasies of a vulvodynia movie (a COMEDY OF COURSE) -- but it's different when someone injects that kind of energy into your life. That's fuel. That's something new to burn.

It helps that Hannah and I have known each other so long, concocted (heh heh) so many inside jokes between us and with our other friends, and gone through so much together. It also helps that she's the most unabashedly sexual person I know. Like, c♥nt is a form of worship. (Hells yeah!)

I think, in the end, the "rescuing" I needed was to be reminded of what is real. Vulvodynia is a fact, but reality is whatever I decide it to be. I can't, as some assholes have suggested, decide not to be in pain any longer (the word "psychosomatic" is a weapon), but my story is only unhappy if I make it so. And my story is not an unhappy one. Vulvodynia has made me a much better person than I ever would have been without it. I've experienced a greater range of existence than I ever needed to and I'm waaayyy smarter now because of it. Living with pain and mystery has made me even more of a badass than I was before.

So there. Fuck you Universe. I love you but I love me more. I'm not sure how that follows, but it felt really good to say.



  1. Yeah! I was feeling kind of sorry for myself today, and this made me feel better. You rawk. :)

  2. I needed this post today. thank you!

  3. You're welcome again! Hope you're both doing okay.