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******* Trigger warning *******
This entry contains a sexual coercion situation. This is sensitive stuff for lots of us. Please, I don’t want you to end up in therapy because of whatI wrote. If sexual coercion situations upset you, please read with caution.
No, no, not someone into BDSM. Someone abusive …. like Christian Grey.
So, no big secret, I decided to get out from under my rock and read all 3 Fifty Shades over the weekend (honey was our of town for a bit, so that gave me plenty of free time). I’d heard all sorts of comments about it, from love to hate and everything in between.
This is by no means a comprehensive discussion (and I may spoil it for some people); I just want to get some of my impressions out and share some of my thoughts.
I didn’t want to pay for a book that a) was originally conceived as fan fiction of Twilight (and I am against Twilight), b) had been e-published, c) probably depicted violence against a female based on comments I’d read.
Lucky me, I found the pdfs of it and read it on my iPad gratis.
Some aspects of the book I enjoyed, in a weird way, I guess: I’m a brunette, so seeing having one as the main character was somewhat good (but she’s a while brunette, not a latina like me) . She was interested in British Literature, as I used to be (somewhat) at her age. She met her “prince charming” at nearly the same age as I did meet and date my Mr Grey. I did find erotica appealing and the fact that in some way, the main character, Anastasia owned her sexuality, her desires and (eventually, somewhat) asked for what she wanted.
That’s the extent of what I found “positive”. Everything else, from the writing, the plot, Christian’s attitudes and behaviours … it all made me shudder.
Nope, not the supposed BDSM scenes (which I kept waiting for and never really got … sure, a butt plug here, a whip or flogger there … that’s about it). So, the comments I’d read about people turning bright red upon reading the sex scenes were … overrated, IMO. The true problem is Christian’s abusive, manipulative behaviours and the fact that the same “prince charming” crap keeps getting bombarded to us. That we need a man to complete us, to validate us. But above all, that with just love and patience and submission, we can fix what’s wrong if we end up with a physically or (in this case) mentally abusive partner.
Having said all that, and somewhat setting the stage, I want to share my story.
In 2001 I was a sophomore in college. I had my life planned out, I was going to start applying for med school in the fall of 2002 and life was going to be awesome. In March or April of that year, at the last minute, I decided to apply for a summer research program out on the East Coast and was accepted. That summer I ended up going to a well known public school in New England and doing a project which I hated with passion. That same summer, I met my very own Christian Grey. He was a bit taller than me, a bit pudgy and very smart. His smarts and looks instantly attracted me and I was taken by his smile. I could see a lot of pain in his eyes and I wanted to heal him, to make him smile for me and for the world (sounds familiar?). We ended up dating for almost a year, then he broke my heart the first time, but we patched things up. I will spare you most of the details, but he was very controlling (what I could and couldn’t wear; my contact with my family (eventually I turned against them)). It all started slowly, with a timid but forceful ‘If you break up with me, I promise you I’ll disappear, you’ll never find me and you’ll never, ever know about my whereabouts and it’s going to drive you crazy’ spiel. But I just shrugged and continued with our relationship. He was the first boy I’d ever let into my heart, truly into it, and I didn’t want to give up on the promise of a bright future (I was 19 at the time and I’d lived a very sheltered existence up until that point, I thought the first man I’d kiss would end up being my husband). We did many things together, from studying for exams (he was in the same school as I was), to going to family functions.
Then the summer of 2002 came about. We ended up in separate states and he promised to visit.
In one of those visits, a friend drove him to the dorm I was staying for the summer. We went out for dinner and then hung out, and because my room had an extra bed, they spent the night there. My sweet Mr Grey slept in my bed and our friend slept in the bed across ours.
We’d ‘played’ with each other, gone almost all the way, but I’d been able to stand my ground and avoid having intercourse. Up until that night.
That night my very own Christian Grey used all his power and charm to subdue me and
beg coerce me into sleeping with him. I remember it like it was yesterday. We were in bed fooling around and I was half naked. He drops his pants, drops his undies and starts asking. At first he asked, that he did. Then he used a bit more force. I was still saying no. I said no … so many times. I said no. Eventually, after much begging, bargaining and promises (that we’d get married, that intercourse would help me get rid of my painful periods, ha!), I relented. I said yes. In a soft voice I agreed to let him in. I cried. What convinced me was that he said he wanted to lose his virginity with me. He wanted to be my first and only. He knew that was my weak point. And I relented.
I was in pain. I wanted him out. But I had just agreed to go forth. I couldn’t turn my back, could I? This is the first time I’m openly admitting it. My heart is racing as I type these words … I couldn’t back out. I’d already given my word. Who was I to back out?
I can’t remember how fast things happened. But I remember the tears. I had a bit of pain and discomfort … but more than anything, I couldn’t believe that the special moment I’d been told about by my mom and by movies and magazines had a) gone that fast and b) gone so awry. I wanted hearts and flowers. And I got none of it. I had a friend passed out in the bed across mine, I had a very hormonal boyfriend who had just convinced me by breaking my will, that it was OK and that we’d be OK. That sure, it wasn’t romantic or special, but it happened. I was his. I remember him saying that, I was his, I was all his.
Throughout the year before that night I’d been systematically broken down. He always complained about my big mouth and about not being able to keep it shut when I was with his family. I’d begged him to correct me. I wanted to avoid pissing him off, causing any sort of issues or conflicts. I begged to be disciplined so I could become the perfect girl he wanted. I opted not to wear certain clothes, for fear that he’d have a hissy fit and accuse me of being a slut or of capturing the attention of other guys and make him look like an idiot. Christian Grey did that. His weapons of choice, of power, were his penis .. having sex … and the mind games he played. And it was the same with my Mr Grey.
I eventually learned to like sex, to use it as a weapon to quiet my Mr Grey whenever I pissed him off.
Eventually his promises died. He cheated on me (I only learned about it 3 years after we broke up … but as usual, I suspected it). He eventually got married and I believe he’s had progeny. I pray that his progeny will never meet someone like him. He’s still probably not aware of the damage he did to me or how he broke me down.
I wasn’t aware of it until I learned about sexual coercion and about how I had the power to say no, but I didn’t use it. Because I didn’t know that it was a possibility.
I had all these patriarchal ideas in my head, and that didn’t fit into what I was experiencing. In a way, I felt like I deserved it, because I was being a ‘slut’ in the eyes of my family and my church. I was throwing away everything that was good and wholesome … thus I deserved to have my first sexual encounter be one in which I was coerced, in which there was another person in the room, someone that could wake up and perhaps could have stopped. But I was afraid of disturbing his sleep with my cries.
Reading 50 Shades helped me realized that having someone controlling, someone exerting power over you, especially if you’ve not given your consent, is toxic. It is damaging.
I applaud that we’ve made progress into helping women own up their sexuality, say what they want and under what conditions, and hopefully be respected. But I do not applaud the glorification of a control freak, a stalker, as Christian Grey is, and how many of us swoon over this “ideal” man.
My ideal man listens to me, rubs my back when I’m tired, is my nurse when I’m ill. My “prince charming” loves hearing me laughs and hates when I cry, and does everything in his power to make me smile. He cares for me and for our cats. Helps me with the dishes, offers to cook for me, and washes my clothes when I’m out of time. He’s a good, respectful sexual partner and is interested in making me feel like a queen. He doesn’t stalk me, or disrespects me, and would never belittle me … and I am so glad I married him instead of my ex, Mr Grey.
This clip is very awesome, and is one of the few that help put everything in perspective when it comes to 50 Shades and how the relationship of these characters is.
I just found out today that, in more ways than I thought, I’m the token latina at work. I’m still in shocked and confused. I’m very disappointed, at being silly enough to think that at some point in my life I’d stop being looked at as more than a token. I need to think a bit more about this, but with cuts happening left and right, my job may be in jeopardy even with the token latina tag on me. I know a lot of this doesn’t make sense. Like I said, I’m still processing things. I learned many things today about one of the people high above me and it has a direct impact on me. I’m not sure how to handle it. All I can say is that it became clear that if I do not conform to being more “American” and less uppity, I’m getting canned, and fast. I’ve been deep in thought since the news this morning (try getting that instead of a good morning when you first come into the lab). That, plus some family problems, and my poor hubby’s bad luck on the job front, have made me realize that perhaps I haven’t deviated as much as I’d hoped for from academia. That whatever love and respect I had for my institution and some of the heads above, is be forever lost. To the point that I’m finally ready to accept that my link with academia may be severed for good. And that I don’t need to be deep in academic research to be of value and to feel like I have value to myself and to the society at large. My job and what I’ve done in the last 10 years cannot define me. And I have a year or less to make peace with it. And I may be facing economic hardship by this time next year. And while I had lots of fears and doubt about what I would do, I am not my job, I am not my publications, I am so much more than that. It is sad the way things have transpired, how things have changed in just a few hours. It saddens me, but my mental well being and my ability to take care of my family, without being judged, without invoking the token latina tag, take precedence over my job. I am not made for academia, and the news this morning only served to cement that knowledge.
Finally, I may at some point close the shop here and on the Twitts. I love you all very much, but I am tired. I am tired of a system that sees in me $$ signs, and that the moment I raise my voice, or say ‘hey, this is not fair’ the “safety” of my job is threatened. That is not kosher with me. Forgive me if I’m silent … I’m not brave enough to call bullshit and out people for being unfair. What I fear is that the women behind me, the younger generations, will see me as a quitter, not as someone who stood up for injustice. I’m sorry. I’m just not powerful enough, american enough, and brave enough to make a statement. It’s bad when the ripples of doubt finally hit you. I’m sorry.
So, over the weekend, the much beloved Ed Yong tweeted this. That’s why we don’t put people on pedestals. Undoubtedly, they always end up falling (remember Borazgate?).
I want to take a few minutes and write to Ed, and to however out there reads me. I may be considered a failure. If I was being judge by the standards of 2003, when I entered grad school, I’d be (or am) a total failure in science. A waste of a PhD. Why? Because I’m not a tenure-track professor, or at least a postdoc on her way to PIdom. I am a lowly lab manager.
In 2001, after finishing an internship, I took Physics 101. I hated every second of it. Physics didn’t make any sense. And I was pretty sure I was going to grad school to do a PhD in mol bio or biochem. Truly, physics would be useless for those two, right? I got a B, and I hated the class. Plus the prof was a misogynistic ass who was always being accused of harassment, but was never actually prosecuted. Every time I went into his office, I cringed. Luckily for me, I was not his type. I was not blonde, I was average and had short hair. Lucky me. When physics part deux came about, I hated it even more. Optics? Magnetism? What in the world? I got a D. I had to take it again. I aced it. I don’t know how, probably it was because the prof was young, knew what he was talking about and was enthusiastic about teaching physics. He helped me achieve the impossible, enjoying physics. But still, I was pretty sure physics were useless and I’d be a damned biologist for the rest of my days. Oh ignorance is bliss.
Come 2004, after finishing all my rotations, and I ended up doing 3 of them in a biochem and biophysics department. I joined what could be considered an applied biophysics lab (VERY broadly speaking) and off I went. I failed my qualifying exam. I eventually passed it. Oh, and physics was pretty important here. I sucked at my defense (or at least that’s how I felt). I went to do a failed postdoc in biochemistry. I went back to my field of study and joining a lab as a staff scientist. I was most definitely out of the tenure track for good. And I was (am) to this day, eternally grateful that I got out.
I’m not smart enough or clever enough to write grants. I suck at reviewing papers, and I still suck at discussing them (unless they’re in a subset of very specific techniques and even then, some of them go way above my head). But I am good at collecting data. I’ve kept a lab running, and people doing for over a year. And I am enjoying it. I’m trying to learn a lot of things that I only skimmed when I was student, thinking that I wouldn’t stay in the field for long and that there was no use learning stuff I’d soon forget.
I just had my first year review and it went well, considering some of the obstacles I’ve faced throughout my first year as a lab manager. I still consider myself a pretty dumb biophysicist. I still roll my eyes when I see derivatives and currents and all that stuff. I still don’t understand much of the math. But I understand well enough how to collect the data, process it and prettify it make a compelling story, a story that helps my PIs craft scientific poetry around it, and make it a storybook.
I am happy and fulfilled with what I do now. I don’t know if or how long I’ll do it. But I am happy knowing that I’ll never be a PI. I was never interested in being one to begin with. And it took me a LONG time to open up to people and show them my true colours. I’m still in academia, but at the fringes. I have a PhD, and I could very well try my luck at being a PI, but I don’t want to. I don’t feel like putting myself through that. I’m happy being in a supportive role, to PIs, to students and postdocs. I still get my chance at mentoring them a bit, and that is OK with me. And I teach them, one-on-one, my favourite form of learning.
By old standards I may be a failure. But since I’m content with what I do and the TT was never my dream, I ask you Ed, am I really a failure?
I know it’s been a month since I last wrote. Life has gone fast at times, and at other moments it’s gone too fast to even think. I’m still busy with work, lots of it, which is good, but it also means I’m tired (as usual) and I’m facing the last minute crunch of everything and everyone that needs to collect data before their grant/paper/presentation/defense are due.
I’ve been off and on on Twitter due to personal issues. I will share a bit, so you know what’s going on. And if you have any words of wisdom, I welcome them.
A month and a half ago my dear husband went to a NP at a counseling office, as he’s been diagnosed with panic syndrome. Hon is very panicky and anxious by nature and since his first panic attack (in Canada), he’d been on a mood pill to help with the panic attacks. The pill had worked well for the last couple of years. But this summer, after having two major medical procedures, and having to take an adjunct job that left him very dissatisfied, things came crashing down. He started getting panic attacks more often (a couple of times a month, when they had been absent since 2010) and we thought that perhaps he’d developed some sort of “resistance” to the drug. He tried getting to a psych doctor at school, but turns out they’re really swamped with new patients. Instead he was referred to the facility I mentioned above and after the intake interview, he saw the nurse practitioner who suggested he upped his dose, since the drug had been working for 3 years.
Little did we know that upping the dose would sent my hubby on a downward spiral, which culminated with a visit to the psych ER on Thanksgiving. We’d planned to have a nice dinner, cook delicious (non traditional) food, stay home and rest from the hectic weeks we’d had. But it wasn’t meant to be. On Thanksgiving Thursday, hon woke me up in panic. He’d had thoughts of hurting himself, and me. And though he didn’t act on them, the mere thought sent him in a downward path. We tried everything, from watching funny shows, to driving around, but his anxiety wasn’t budging. Finally at night, when I realized we were sleep deprived and he was still panicked, I took the same decision I did in Canada 3 years back … I drove him to the ER to see if there he could find an answer or some form of treatment to whatever was going on.
We ended up staying the night after he was first interviewed. Once he told the nurses and doctors in the ER of the thoughts, that was enough for him to be taken to the psych area of the ER and for him to get even more interviews, more vitals and more questions.
It was a hell of a weekend.
At least in the ER he was being observed. His mind had a million thoughts, all being fired up at the same time. He was anticipating the death of his careers, blaming himself for choosing to study a topic that apparently no one has interest in these parts of the country, mourning the loss of the career he thought he’d be in by now. He was afraid I’d have him committed, them have the key thrown away. He was afraid I’d think he was crazy.
I didn’t think we was/is crazy. I just knew that my husband wasn’t the same man he was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. That he was anxious, panicked, terrified. And that just talking about things wasn’t doing shit.
The next day we saw a doctor. I had to leave for work for a few hours. My bosses were understanding, though I didn’t give way too many details. I went back and the doctor assured him he wasn’t crazy. That in all likelihood, the change in dose of his med, and the fact that he hated the job he was doing, plus the stress from the surgeries and recovery had made the perfect storm. This wasn’t just another panic attack. He was depressed. This was serious. And before he could act on his thoughts, he needed to be stabilized and needed urgent counseling.
The last couple of weeks have been a mix of good news and progress and the occasional set back. But mostly it’s been moving forward. He’s being weaned out of his med, changed into a “classical” one. He’s taken powerful meds to try to get his stress levels down. Though he’s afraid of what will happen once he’s off of it (there’s no history of addiction in his family, but still, he’s scared). I’m scared of not being a supportive wife and of “dumping” him on the doctors at the ER when things get stressful.
I’m sure it will be a long recovery for both. Hon seems to be doing better now that he’s in counseling every day and that there’s a plan of action. But still, I know that any “little” thing could destabilize whatever “normal” we’ve had until now. I’m eating my feelings away. We’re both going on little sleep.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayer. They are felt. If I don’t write before the end of the year, I hope your 2013 ends well and that 2014 is even better.
I used to be dazzled by superstars … be them in sports, music, movies .. even in my own church. It probably stemmed a bit from my mom being enchanted by them, and looking up to them. They were out super stars. They were blameless, and in a different sphere. Special. Spotless. Pretty much non-human.
I can’t remember the first time it happened, but I do remember that a decade or so ago, as my faith in the Catholic Church was crumbling, how the accusations of pedophilia within the ranks of the church still managed to surprise me, to upset me, and to horrify me. Surely there must have been some mistake. How can people that vow to be celibate, even consider a sexual thought, let alone an action. I now realize I was sorta brainwashed. I tried for a long time to reconcile being a strict adherent of my faith, while still trying to make excuses for the horrible, horrible acts that happened for god-knows-how-long to hundreds of thousands of kids and adults. How people in positions of power abused that power, took advantage of their position within the church, and moreover, the faith that people had (mis)placed in them, and caused so much hurt. It was a rough awakening. I learned that idols do fall. When they do, it’s painful. For them and for everyone that vouches for them.
It took me years to process and to try to reconcile the faith I grew up in, and the horrible acts that had been committed (sometimes) in the name of Jesus. Today I consider myself a (very) lapsed Catholic. I hurt every time a new accusation comes up … not because of the damage that it (supposedly) inflicts on the institution, but because that institution has some really well paid devils that will try to quench the desire for justice for all the victims. I hate that people have lost their faiths, not only in God but in the goodness of the human spirit whenever you see the snakes (ie. lawyers) try to defend the indefensible.
The next big blow came when an ex I dated throughout my last few years of undergrad, broke not only my trust, but my faith in him and in everything that I thought we’d built. Many things happened. And just recently I realized that some of what had been done to me had a name … it was called sexual coercion. When that “idol” fell, my soul was crushed. I was crushed yet again. Some I trusted, love and who had some power over me had again broken that trust, and broken something sacred within me.
Sadly, I’d been, slowly but surely, trying to desensitize from the hurt it causes when someone I admire, someone I look up to, falls from grace.
The most recent events are (very sadly) one of the few things that has caused me that pain, that feeling in my stomach, and reminded me that no matter how much or how hard you try to suppress a feeling, or how much you want to be “ready” (if you can even be ready) for when the next wave of idols fall, you never truly are. The blow to your trust in that person just breaks.
I don’t know what to think, other than I feel truly, deeply sorry for each and every one of the women who in one (or more) instances have been affected recent events. I can’t begin to wrap my head around how uncomfortable they felt and feel, the guilt, the pain. Because no matter how much you try to repeat it to yourself, somehow, you’ll feel guilty, when you did nothing, nothing to bring unto you the treatment, the harassment, the moment or moments of inappropriate behaviour. Sadly, as women, we’ve been socialized to feel guilty each and every time someone breaks our trust, someone interferes or invades our personal space and boundaries. It is yet another way in which society, our parents, our community, still fail us.
I also feel sad for his family (esp. his wife). I know I’d be devastated if someone ever divulged very personal and private information about my relationship with them … especially if that someone were my spouse. I know that if honey every talked about our intimate details I’d be broken, sad beyond belief. I know how frustrating and painful it can be to deal with issues our spouses have … and I recognize that I am not perfect. And that sometimes you feel a link to someone, a special connection and you want to unload some of what feels like a burden. That said, it is never, ever correct to do so in a professional setting, especially when you first meet the person. It is not right. It hurts. It traumatizes.
I’m saddened by it all. I’m saddened by the other people out there who may have experienced the same treatment. I’m saddened for the pain and hurt this is bringing to each and every woman that was harassed.
I can only hope that in this same SciX community, they feel welcomed and cared for. There are lots of people who want to offer a sincere shoulder, and all of our support, to help in your moment of need.
I know what it is to have your space invaded, to have an unwelcomed hug (or heck, even a kiss planted on you on Xmas day, at church!), your trust broken. I can only tell you that it will get better. It won’t be easy, but it will get better.
I am sorry. I am here for you.
It’s called diet and exercise. Or fitness regime. Or whatever the fuck you call losing all the weight you gained while doing a PhD and a postdoc.
Soooooo, back in the first trimester of 2013, as I was on my way south from the shire of York, I decided that I needed to lose these pesky 50, or 60 or 80 extra lbs I have hanging around me. Around my boobs (I used to be a 36C and now I’m a 42D …. da fuck, it’s worse than if I was preggers). I have a waist circumference greater than that of Mr Dr 27 and I’ve got even more stretch marks than a teenager, all due to rapid weight gain. I’m at a loss. I feel tired all the time. I don’t sleep well. I snore. I feel like a giant blob. Ugh. Yeah, ugh.
I started going to the gym. Was doing both cardio and weights and was losing one pound or so every week. Then I fell off the wagon. And gained it all back. Granted, I’d only gone from 206lbs to 195 … but still.
I know, I know, that we shouldn’t necessarily believe the BMI numbers and percentages. But I see pictures of the time I was below 160lbs … and I look so happy. My clothes fit. My posture is much improved. My boobs don’t look like they’re overtaking my chest. I even had a waist, regardless of what my UG mentor thought.
I wasn’t a size 14 going on 16. And I was 1.5 shoe sizes less. WTF is wrong with me! And I was in a physiology and anatomy department during my PhD!!! Fuck, there were like 15 million seminars on belly fat and good body fat vs bad and cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome every single day of the week in my former department!
I’m killing myself and I don’t know how to stop!!! I eat all sorts of crap. Sure, I do eat meatless on most days. But I eat just as much as my husband. And he’s 6ft tall. And just because I don’t eat meat, it doesn’t mean I don’t have the need to fill my belly.
I’ve done weight watchers in the past. I did lose some weight. Almost 20lbs. But gained it all back. And 20 more pounds. I can’t afford a personal trainer. And to top it all off, I need to fit in a certain dress for my wedding next year (I’ve already bookmarked another dress that can be shipped in my size, in case I don’t drop all the pounds by the time I need). Good thing I only spent $230 on my wedding dress (though you wouldn’t believe me if I showed it to you). I can always sell it. But it would suck BIG because honey has already seen it and loves it and would love to see me wearing it.
Soooooooooooo, today, Tuesday Sept 10th, 2013 … on the 18th anniversary of my paternal grandfather’s death due to a massive heart attack (he was 64; due to complications of diabetes … even though he regularly checked his blood glucose levels, and measured and weighted everything and was slim) …
I Dr 27 and a PhD, do solemnly (but begrudgingly) swear to eat better and exercise. (fuck)
I can’t promise I’ll lose the 50lbs needed to fit in the dress (and not have the gut just take over in every single wedding picture) in time for the wedding. (double fuck)
But I do think I’ll lose some of the weight. (oh, who am I kidding … fuck).
I promise to eat fruits and veggies, lean meat and more veggies.
I promise to stay away from my regular soda.
And eat hummus and low fat cheese.
And drink water (clear coloured, not with HFCS, soda, ice and a lime wedge … aka Coca Cola or Pepsi .. regular please)
I’ll try to work out 30 mins every day of the week, so long as my legs and arms cooperate.
And I’ll try to give it my best.
But I anticipate I’ll give up more than once.
And run into the arms of my two friends Ben and Jerry.
Or anything that’s on sale at Publix. Or Kroger. Or both.
I promise to complain every day until the blessed day in 2014.
Ugh … who am I kidding … this is like climbing Mt Everest, naked, without oxygen, or boots.
And somehow I hope to make it.
Who am I kidding … I’ll fall flat on my face.
This is like imposter syndrome .. but worse.
Because I’ll have to look at my mirror.
And see the disappointment in hon’s eyes when I don’t reach my goal.
I’ll never be fit again …
I. just. want. to. be. healthy. and. look. hot. once. again. Srsly.
I hope I’m not kidding myself. Well, maybe I am. I’m lazy and I get bored and tired easily.
But fuck, I need to see this gut gone. I need to get down to a C-cup (though I’ll balloon again to a D should the husband and I have a spawn).
I’m tired of being another statistic. Another unhealthy Hispanic woman. But fuck, this is tough.
And this is how I’ll look from now until early next year:
Attention: This post contains the words period, blood, bloody tissue, ladybits, vagina, et al. If you’re not curious, skip it. If you faint at the sound of the word blood, feel free to skip it too. If you can’t ready about ladybits … well, you know the drill.
Today marks the first month I’ve been on this form of birth control. It’s weird. Not the bad kind of weird, not the good-ish one either … just neutral weird, if you can call it that. In the month of August I spent only a handful of days where bloody tissue wasn’t coming out of the ladybits. I’ve never had this happen, not even when my period started back in 1992. I did skip it a few months, part of my body adjusting to puberty. And I usually have a month, every year for the past 10 or so that my period doesn’t make an appearance. For the most part I’m regular, with a period lasting 5-7 days.
I got the Mirena right at the end of my period in August. It involved pain and discomfort and after looking at some videos on the procedure over on YouTube, I felt bad for my poor vagina, cervix and uterus. But I’m doing this for a reason. I’ve had bad cramps since I was in 6th or 7th grade (92-93) and they’ve gotten progressively worse. I used to get bad cramps in middle school, to the point where I felt that my legs would collapse. And it got worse as I got close to college (they were bad even after starting to have sex .. which is the excuse my ex used to get me to have sex with him … silly 20yr old me). In grad school, my boss had bad cramps too, so she understood if I had to stay home one day every month. And I’m just tired of this pain. I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with feeling like I want to yank my inner bits so that I can get some peace. It’s not only my inner workings, but also my mood is horrendous and I can’t sleep well 2 weeks prior to my period. Thus, after trying at least 3 other types of birth control and having horrible side effects (including gaining 10 pounds in single a month and sore boobs which felt like they were going to explode), I decided to give a shot to Mirena.
Other than the initial discomfort of measuring and putting it in, I feel OK. I did get a bit of a headache during the first night … which reminded me of a few conversations I’d had with my lady peeps on Twitter about how a few got worsening migraines. But after that, it seemed to be sort of smooth sailing. I got a heavy-ish period two weeks after, and I’ve had what looks like a very light period since. Enough to require a pad, but not like my usual period which requires changing every few hours, continuous access to a heating pad and as many non-NSAID drugs as I can get into my system without messing (too much) with my liver.
I’d give a 10 to Mirena if it wasn’t for the constant light period and having a pad in between my legs for the last 3 weeks … but for now my boobs are not tender and in pain and I don’t have headaches or pain in my tummy.
If after the 3-6 months wait I’m nowhere near finished with the light periods, I’ll get it out and brave the pains, once again. Unless I decide to forgo the option of having children, in which case I’ll get all my internal ladybits yanked out because the pain is THAT excruciating.
If you’re on Mirena or Paraguard, how has your experience been?