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The Vestibulitis Diary – Part 8: Saying Goodbye

2 Days Before Surgery

Vestibulitis Diaries, part 8  - Saying goodbye

On an online forum discussing sex for people with disabilities, someone once asked, “What do you get out of your disability?” It seems a strange question to ask because one usually thinks of disabilities in wholly negative terms. But really it isn’t, life is more than the pain one has to deal with, and coping mechanisms extend further than what drugs to take and how many hours of sleep per night.

I thought about this question for a while before I could finally come up with a good answer. Before I dealt with VVS, I could really disregard caring for myself. I could push myself pretty hard. I was everybody’s best friend. I could drive halfway across the state to help a friend take medicine that she was afraid but needed to take. I could wake up in the morning, run to a friend’s to counsel her, run off and go to school, come home, run to work, go to another friend’s and finally crash at home wake up and do the same thing over again.

Stress takes its toll, but until it knocks you flat on the ground, that statement can be ignored. My body proved to me that I could not go on pushing myself without taking care of myself. The initial skin irritation was stress involved, the physical therapy itself was stress reducing, and the whole experience taught me to stop and pay attention to what I needed.

I have learned more about my likes and dislikes in the last few years because of this disorder, all the alone time taking care of myself, my inability to help people until it hurt, because now it -will- hurt to not take care of myself.

I learned that although sex was an art for me, it couldn’t be my only art. I started writing again, I took classes on freelancing, I bought myself my digital cameras, I joined Flickr, I took on the project of doing a photo a day for a year.

Before I had VVS I wasn’t completely satisfied with my life, but I figured that if had a decent job, and could express myself through amazing sex, and maybe settle down with kids, that might be close enough. But when one compromises on the things she really wants, asking for 3 solid things instead, her whole universe can toppled over when one leg of the that 3 legged table is broken off.

It just wasn’t enough. I couldn’t live off of so little. VVS oddly enough brought back my dreams, goals, and ambitions. It made me realize that life is short. I may be broken in a thousand pieces in my body, but if I have a whole universe of thoughts and dreams there is the wholeness.

To express this feeling of being more than the sum of my problems, today’s picture is of me saying goodbye to pre-surgery self, feeling both grounded and frightened, not knowing what is to come.

 

Next: The Night Before

This is the story of Arashi, visual artist, writer and sex-positive vestibulitis patient and her surgical choice to heal her condition.


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