Fighting Like A Girl: Talking About Endometriosis

Fighting Like A Girl: Talking About Endometriosis

There's no shame in being honest, especially when it brings awareness about a disorder that is rarely talked about.
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About four months ago, I found out that I am at risk of developing endometriosis, if it hasn't developed already.

The news came suddenly when my estranged mother responded to my plea for her medical history, so that I could know what to look out for later. I figured that there wouldn't be much for her to tell, that she may only tell me that her family has a history of heart disease, and I could go on my way. Looking back now, I realize how clueless of a mindset that was.

My mother was so matter of fact about it, admitting that she had a hysterectomy to combat the disorder. I was left reeling, not sure what I was allowed to feel. The things that I associated with my concept of womanhood — my period, my ovaries, my uterus — suddenly found themselves under attack, no longer personal, there in the description I found during a frantic Google search. To this day, I still haven't been diagnosed, because I'm still in denial.

I struggled with the concept the first two days after Mom told me. It seemed so rare, even though one in every 10 women suffer from the disorder, meaning that, on my college campus alone, about 1,298 girls out of the student body of 21,634 students are suffering (assuming that the male to female ratio is 2 to 3). It seemed so implausible that something that lines my uterus, makes it possible for me to have a baby, could be growing where it shouldn't be and causing me pain.

For the first two days, my mind was just a gif of Jessica Day from "New Girl": "I was sabotaged by my baby box."

Then on the third day, Lena Dunham of "Girls" fame wrote about her life with endometriosis. I wish I could say that the sky cleared, the sun shone, that all was bright and beautiful again. I wish I could say that her article brought me comfort and solace. But the article and her honesty was just the beginning of me paying attention.

As someone who suffers painful cramps that keep me sidelined two to three days during my period, I hadn't thought about a disorder as the cause. I was told that bad cramps were a badge of honor ever since my first period, that I was "becoming a woman." Even when the pain has me nauseous and unable to move, I still think, "It's okay, could be worse."

Unfortunately, that kind of thinking is why many women ignore the pain, insisting that it's normal. It's the kind of thinking I've been guilty of and it's a dangerous way to think.

It's March now, and it just so happens to be dedicated to endometriosis awareness. Though I'm scared, I know that I need to visit my doctor and figure out if I, too, have the disorder. But I needed to have this conversation first, to let you know that endometriosis is a real thing, a legitimate disorder. You don't have to quietly suffer just because we live in a society where "menstruation," "ovaries" and "uterus" are seen as taboo words. True, there is no cure for endometriosis — but there is treatment, from surgery to remove the tissue to hormonal treatment via the pill or IUDs. There's still hope, and that hope is strengthened when we become aware of it.

Yes, I don't know if I have endometriosis — but my mom does. My sister might. Girls all across my college campus may be suffering in silence. The girl who sits next to you in class, who asks for notes because she couldn't make it to class due to a harsh pain around her pelvis. The girl down the hall from you, who you never see, because she's usually curled up in bed, wishing that she knew what was going on with her body.

I may not know what the circumstances are for any of you, but it won't stop me from trying to bring awareness to it. Now when I see an article about Dunham, I don't think about needing to watch her show, or read her book (though it's certainly on my list). I think about the battle she's fighting, about the battle that my mom is fighting.

Endometriosis is a battle, but we can fight it like girls: strong, beautiful and, above all, hopeful.

Cover Image Credit: pexels.com

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.

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Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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