I do not like being touched, especially by strangers. I don't like strangers trying to hug me. I'm not even keen on handshakes. I hate it when you are on the bus and the thigh of the person next to you rubs against yours. It makes my skin crawl. Crowds give me anxiety. I don't like it when people tap me on the shoulder. I hate it when someone I barely know touches my arm. Touch is not a comfort to me.
I wish we had a better relationship. I have been trying since I was a teenager to feel better about you but our negative relationship still haunts me every single day. I have tried everything to hide you. Extreme corsets, tummy-slimming undies, control top pantyhose, baggy shirts, those horribly uncomfortable tummy-tucking Lycra shorts thingies that just end up rolling down and creating a weird lump under my clothing... you name it, I've tried it. And still, there you are like a creepy stalker following me everywhere I go.
This entry is going to stray into some very personal and fairly painful material for me. I am going to come out publicly as a self-mutilator in an attempt to make other people understand what it means. Self-mutilators are pretty darn misunderstood.
I have recently read Caitlin Moran's How to Be a Woman. I was struck by her chapter on body hair, specifically pubic hair and our present cultural obsession with female pubic hair (or the lack of it). She suggests that having a nice hairy muff might even be a political action. It got me thinking about pubes and the ridiculous amount of thought women put into them. Women are no longer meant to have a "dark tangle of pubic hair" between their legs. We are meant to be bald between our legs, smooth as eggs, not a stray hair out of place that might find it's errant way between someone's teeth as they go down on you.
For years I have struggled with an unnamed illness that just didn't seem to have a cause. My test results would come back clear. There was no diabetes, Lupus, STDs or arthritis. I'd been diagnosed with interstitial cystitis, IBS, gastro-reflux, severe sleep apnea, depression, and anxiety. Even with treatment for all these other conditions, I still felt constantly sick, achy and fatigued to the extreme. Finally, after a barrage of not so great doctors (who treated me like I was stupid, lying or didn't know my own body), I found an amazing clinic with doctor's who would actually listen to me. I've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
I've tutored a lot of teenage girls in English Literature and I'm often asked what books I recommend for young female readers. Here is the list of books that impacted my teenage life in some forceful and empowering way: