Firstly if any of you get the reference in the title, then you are my spirit animal. If you didn’t, I still like you and I’m glad you’re here, but I just question whether you have been living under a rock. This Country. BBC. Go and watch it now! Because this post is going to be all about the three T’s, “talking talking talking”. (Thank you Kurtan for the inspiration.)
We’ve all established by now that I like to chat about my minge. Your minge. My Mum’s minge. I have no filter when it comes to bodily functions and I never have done. My friends and family know that I am going to let them know exactly what is going on in my body at least once a day. Mainly for reassurance that I am going to live to see another hour but also to ease off the niggling anxieties that creep into my brain on a regular basis. Here are just a few examples (soz for the gory details):
On the phone to Papa D: “Dad, I’ve got to go, I need to try and do a poo. I didn’t manage to have one this morning because I was hoovering and I think I might be constipated anyway. Maybe I should get myself some Fruit ‘n Fibre or prune juice. I’ll let you know, speak to you later, love you!”
On the WhatsApp group to my girls: “Oh my god I am having the heaviest period of my life ladies. The rivers of Babylon are constantly flowing and my ovaries feel like they are exploding everywhere! Already been through 2 tampons. Send help and Kit Kat Peanut Butter Chunkies.”
Text message to my best friend: “Okay so, I just stood up in the bath and the window was wide open, I banged my head and shouted at it for hurting me. I then decided to get out because I started panicking that I would faint. I’m now lying on my bed in my dressing gown and think I’ve started feeling sick. I’ve just looked up the symptoms of concussion on google and now I’m convinced that that is what it is. My head hurts and I think my vision is blurry. I can’t go to sleep tonight in case I don’t wake up. Anyway, hope you’re okay and your audition went well today! Cba to be concussed. Xxx”
Those are just a handful of the bombardment of messages my poor loved ones receive from me. Yes I am a self confessed hypochondriac. But over the years this has become quite the issue. My anxiety around health has been a constant battle between my brain and I and it reached a point in my early 20’s where it was stopping me from living my life “normally”. If a family member was in hospital, I would either sit in the car and wait or spend the whole visit trying to block out the noise of beeping machines rather than being present in the room. I would have panic attacks in my GP’s office. My heart would race in the waiting room so that when I got in to the doctor’s chair and she took my blood pressure it was sky high. I would then have a full blown meltdown, tears, snot, the lot. I found a lump under my armpit that turned out to be a swollen gland, but spent the whole morning imagining what my life would be like with breast cancer. Any tightness in my chest and I’m having a heart attack or there is a problem with my lungs. A head ache is a tumour or a bleed on the brain. And once I fainted after doing an Insanity workout at 6:30am in the morning and didn’t exercise for 6 months after in fear that I had an un-diagnosed heart condition. Yup! Those who know me are shaking their heads vigorously. I’m a wee bit silly I will admit that. However, I do think there is something to be said about the way we are conditioned to talk about our health and the issues we may be encountering, in that we are told not to talk about. Is is no wonder some of us have white coat syndrome or are terrified of our own bodies. Either it is TMI or appears weak and wobbly. So most of the time we suffer in silence and let the fears manifest, become irrational and ridiculous. Example D: Me!
I haven’t been able to change my worried ways, I’ve come to terms with the fact I’ll always be a Worrying Wendy BUT I have learnt how to shut Wendy up when she is not needed. It is simple. Talk. Talk to your heart’s content to whoever will listen and I guarantee those fears and worries will subside. This is the whole reason Gash Gossip was born. After months of stewing over what was happening inside my body, a lot of crying myself to sleep and finding it generally hard to be a happy person day to day, I decided enough was enough. If I was feeling this pain, so should everybody else… nah I’m joking of course! But I knew I couldn’t be the only one. I needed to reach out to people who were also telling off their vaginas for making them miserable. I wasn’t wrong. I have had messages from some of you either just wanting to chat which is fab or you have been going through some really challenging stuff downstairs. I’m here for you ladies. I have been positive and upbeat on here so far which has really helped me handle my situation but prior to Gash Gossip’s birth, I was (I hate to say it) extremely negative. I selfishly thought I was the only one having trouble and that all of the worst possible things that could happen were going to happen. It was pants. But, continuing to talk about how I was feeling channelled all of my negative energy and made it positive. Opening my mouth and sharing all my most personal mental and physical states is the main reason I feel good again. I felt good when the results came through. I feel good about moving forward. I feel good about my gash. I even feel good about going back to the hospital in 2 weeks time. And those feelings are all pretty new to me.
Although this blog is of course dedicated and in honour of the vagina and all those that have one, this is a problem for both genders. We don’t talk about our health enough, let alone our sexual health. That needs to change. I have been having a lot of crazy pipe dreams about what this blog could potentially do for people and for the way we look at sexual health. I’m going to share those things with you now. Let me know if you think I’ve missed anything out that you want to see change too. I reckon we can do it if we do a whole lot of gossiping. It may take us a while and I may not get to sit Theresa May down to talk about fanny, but in the words of Cher, “Believe”.
- Let’s talk about lowering the age restriction on smear tests in England. In Scotland the age you receive your first test is 20. In England it is 25.
- A better quality of sex education in schools. Amen! Revisiting age groups as they transition through the school system with lessons dependant on age. One lesson at the age of 9 is not enough and as fun as putting a condom on a banana is, it would have been far more helpful to know about what the hell is going on inside my cervix.
- Sexual health workshops in schools. Integrating sexes where appropriate. Sometimes I think it would be beneficial to know about each other’s organs, not just just our own and learn not to feel embarrassed about talking about them in front of each other. I really want to create some specially designed Gash Gossip workshops and for that I need a troupe of my very own Fanny Friends who too would be interested in hosting workshops with me. They would be for girls of all ages to talk to them frankly and openly about their vaginas, sex, female masturbation, contraception, the list goes on!
- A talk surrounding HPV. For every girl receiving the HPV vaccination, there should be a consultation with a specialist about exactly what HPV is, how it can be contracted, what strain(s) the vaccination protects against, how many strains of the virus there are, the dangers of contracting the virus and how best to speak to your sexual partner about it. This would be one of the topics in the Gash Gossip workshops without a doubt.
- Erasing taboos around sexually transmitted disease. We should be careful and aware not ashamed.
- Keep pressing the issue that menstrual products are STILL not tax free and classed as a necessity. Why? In the words of the Guilty Feminist Podcast ladies, Jaffa Cakes are classed as a necessity so maybe women should start shoving them up their when Aunt Flow visits instead!
- More research into the effects of the contraceptive pill. What harm is it doing to our bodies? If it causes post-coital bleeding after a certain amount of time, why aren’t we letting young women know that? Does being on the pill for a prolonged amount of time effect our bodies to the point where our cells are changing without us knowing?
Phwoar. It is going to be quite the task, and I’m sure some of you you will have some more suggestions to add to the list, but my god am I feeling positive about pussy right now.
In my case it was my vagina that prompted me to open up a conversation, but I hope that this helps other people with other parts of their body whether it be boobs, bum, brain, balls to speak up and connect with others. Sometimes our bodies do their own thing and it can feel like we have no control, but we cannot live in fear of them doing so. We have to try not to freak out when they start changing, we have to keep calm and carr…. No. I’m sorry I cannot use that phrase. Instead I’ll use what my Mum always says to me, which I think she stole from a fish, “Just keep swimming.” I’ll add on to that. “Just keep swimming and just keep talking.” Because there will always be someone to listen. Talking talking talking and we will get there, I can feel it in my bones!
Throwing not only pussy positivity at you today, but all the positive vibes I can muster.