Living Life Purposefully

Where Purpose Meets Passion

Monthly Archives: May 2013

Here’s Why You Should Call Me a Woman

I’ve noticed an interesting trend on the internet and it’s this idea that Women who prefer being called women, as opposed to females, are irrational and should really stop voicing why the term “female” is offensive.

I’ve noticed this the most on Tumblr, which makes sense because that’s the place I just “hang out” on the internet. Surprisingly, I’m seeing it more on Twitter and I can’t put my finger on why because I actually work very hard to ensure that my Twitter timeline doesn’t piss me off. So it is with a bit of confusion that I find myself even having to write out these thoughts.

The title of this is “Here’s Why You Should Call Me a Woman.” The most obvious reason? After being born, I was assigned the sex of “female” based on my genitalia. That’s right! I have a vagina which is awesome about 23 days out of the month. As I grew older, I was socialized as a “normal and acceptable” girl. I wore skirts and bows and shirts with the rounded collar, my socks were ruffled nine times out of ten and I enjoyed games like Jacks and Double-Dutch.

Pause…I’m only 26.

However, something really weird happened over a three-year period from the time I was 13 until I was 16. Wanna know what that was?

I was introduced to the descriptor of “female” and at the same time, I was experiencing puberty. Now, I’ll save y’all the story of the first time a grown man actually used female to describe me because this is not about street harassment. I’ll just say that what’s even crazier is that around the same time I’m going through puberty, my older brother (only older by a year and some months) was also experiencing this life change. What made us different?

He was growing into a Man.

I was apparently only growing into an incubator for smaller humans, or a “female.”

And this is why I have a fundamental problem with being described as a “female.” I look at myself and I say, “Hmm, I’ve matured into quite a catch!” I think of the traits that make me awesome, among them my charm, intelligence, ability to think, speak, and write well; and I say to myself, “Funny how all of these traits are encompassed in the descriptor man but not in the descriptor female.”

But it’s not funny.

When you use the word “female,” what you are saying to a whole person that identifies as a Woman is that they are just their genitalia. Some people may say that explaining the word this way goes a bit too far, but I don’t think that it does. When a friend of mine uses this term, I point out that they shouldn’t because it’s disrespectful. When guys hear that Women find this term offensive, they get upset and today I asked this question of men:

Should we be quiet because women saying they don’t like that word bothers you OR is it that we are vocal enough to challenge your authority when you feel we shouldn’t?

There are a few things that are going on when men get offended that a woman says she’s offended or feels disrespected but I’m not here for your feelings. Here’s what people who use “female” so freely need to understand:

  1. We are adults and have gone through the process of maturing –> this makes us Women.
  2. We want to be called Women –> so call us Women.
  3. We feel disrespected when you don’t call us Women –> so call us Women.
  4. You don’t like calling us Women? –> Call us by our names.

And I know that there are some people who will read this and say, “Well the military uses female” and “You have to call yourself a female when you fill out paperwork?” or some other ludicrous shit like “Not all females are Women.” Just stop because you’re wrong. You’re so wrong that you’re dead ass wrong. If you even feel the need to come up with a reason why it’s okay to still disrespect a woman who has said don’t call her a female, assess yourself.

At the end of the day, call Women what we are – women. And if you can’t do that, learn our names and refer to us that way because what’s so hard about respecting a person?

~Ms. C. Jayne

Denying Others for Your Self (Crossroads, pt. 3)

This is it.

This is the piece that’s taken so long to share because it forced me to recognize a lot. It’s one thing to stand in a mirror and view your reflection; but it’s a completely different thing to feel as if your soul has been cracked open and you are beginning to spill out for everyone to see. In growing older, I always wanted to feel like I was in control of my happiness. In coming to this point, I realized that to understand what makes you happy, you have to understand you.

And I don’t mean the you that everyone has told you that you are but the real You!

For me, I’ve learned that even in my darkest and most confusing moments, music makes my soul dance. I’ve learned that silence is where I feel most complete. I’ve been shown that I’m capable of quite a few things — and possibly succeeding at all the things I wish to undertake. I’m strong and my strength isn’t like those closest to me.

But perhaps the most confusing, and ultimately the most important, thing I’ve learned is that it is okay for me to speak up for myself.

Here’s why that’s important: I’ve lived a life where I’ve always thought of the comfort of others. I’ve always viewed myself as someone whose sole purpose was to help others achieve their dreams. In my heart of hearts, I don’t mind this but lately a piece of me has been struggling to step forward.

And that’s what these particular posts have been about.

I used to say to myself that my biggest fear was being forgotten by my loved ones. Lately, I feel as though it’s to live life as a coward. I’ve stopped myself from experiencing life because I’ve been afraid to fail an I’ve been afraid to disappoint those close to me. I’ve been afraid to say no and to live and to walk away from those closest to me. I’ve been afraid to let the pieces in other people’s lives. I’ve been afraid of letting others feel the way I’ve felt for the majority of my life – unsupported.

And in that, I’ve been quiet. I’ve made myself smaller and convinced myself that I have no dreams. I’ve done some things in life simply because it was expected. I’ve swallowed my hurt and I’ve quieted my needs. I’ve been the person that people have laughed at. And I told myself it was because it would make them happy. And it would fix things.

Now I see that it won’t. That it doesn’t and that it never well. I don’t want to fix other people’s problems. I don’t want to be the one that has all of the answers. I don’t want to be the one that stayed behind because someone needed me to. I don’t want to be just that.

I find myself asking what happens when you break the bonds that have unknowingly been placed on you by loved ones?

What happens when you say “no” and your real self starts to show?

12 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My Surgery

The other day, I was approached by a young woman on Facebook. She sent me a message because she’s going undergoing a similar procedure (well, actually the same procedure) and she wanted to know what were things she should look out for. I sent her a pretty lengthy message and I’ve cleaned up my answers here.

If you’re going through this, I hope that this helps! Happy reading! 🙂

1. Ask lots of questions!

This is for everyone! The hospital staff, your insurance company, family, etc. Specifically, you want to know about hospital procedure (especially with the anesthesia), how many days you’ll have to spend in the hospital, visiting hours, and other things that might concern you. I didn’t think of this until after I had my procedure but ask things like, “Will I be in a recovery room alone or will I have to share?” Another thing that I didn’t think to ask is whether I would be at a “teaching hospital” and if any of the staff have shadows or students. If so, ask if this will this impact your procedure or your recovery, and if they say yes, ask them in what way?

2. Take it easy!

It is a major surgery so only do as much as you possibly can without getting too fatigued. Do NOT (under any circumstances) push yourself or allow someone to push you to move or do something that you may not be ready to do. I didn’t take it as easy as I should have and as a result, I pulled some of my internal incisions/sutures opened. Because of that, I was put on bedrest (which was absolutely boring) and I have to be watched for more scarring. So rest!

3. Do everything you can to avoid constipation.

People tell you this but they never tell you how. Drink lots of clear fluids (preferably water and apple juice) & take 1 Colace pill before every meal. One thing they don’t tell you is that your pain relievers may cause constipation and you can get ahead of that by taking the colace before you eat your meals. Also, if your hospital lets you pick the food that you’ll get to eat (we had a menu and could choose our own combinations), pick the vegetables. Always…pick the vegetables! If you get nothing else from this, you want to make it as easy as possible for you to go to the bathroom because you can’t push to urinate faster or evacuate your bowels. You have to sit there…and wait. And if your nurses are anything like mine, they’ll keep asking you if you’re okay (which gets annoying). So up your fiber intake and drink water.

4. Rest up…rest up!

When you get home, rest. Rest on your couch. Rest in a reclining chair. Rest…don’t do anything except rest (okay, actually do what your doctor tells you to do but rest). I’m not sure how high your bed is but I learned that if you are lying on something, you want it as low as possible. You won’t really be able to use your core muscles for the first few weeks (they’ll tell you to use your arms to lift yourself) so you’ll have to be creative in getting up. Beds are generally higher than couches, so you increase your risk of tearing your incision and you don’t want that.

5. Eat smaller portions.

The portions that you normally eat should probably be reduced. You won’t be moving that much for the first few weeks, so don’t eat like you normally would. It only leads to constipation and unnecessary weight gain.

6. Snack and snack on soft stuff.

In addition to making sure your snacks are easily digestible, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t have to work hard to eat them. Your meds will make you sleepy. Nothing worse than struggling to stay awake while eating a snack. So what do you do? Get lots of snacks that are easily digestible (i.e., pudding, jello, applesauce especially, etc.) because those will help when you have to take your medication and it is not meal time. One of the things I experienced was vomiting due to taking meds on an empty stomach (don’t do that) and I learned that you use your stomach when you vomit. So everything about that experience was painful.

7. Wear comfy clothes & super pads!

That might be a bit TMI but who am I kidding, everything about this procedure is TMI. Wear loose clothing and invest in some heavy-duty sanitary napkins. You will experience some bleeding and this is normal. But you want the overnight or super absorbent napkins for the bleeding because they hold more and you can’t use tampons.

8. Don’t lift anything heavy.

Heavy here really means like you have to strain your arm muscle. They’ll tell you twenty pounds, so you definitely want to only pick up anything under than weight. But if you ask me, just stay away from holding small kids or heavy books anything.

9. Pillows as props are the rule of thumb.

Especially when you’re sleeping. They’ll have you start to sleep on your side after a few days. When they do this, use a pillow or two behind your back. It helps with the pressure. And it also helps you in getting up.

10. You’ll have to roll to get up…but not really.

When you go to get up, use your legs and arms. I started to do this trick where I would literally pull my knees to my chest, scoot to the edge of whatever I was on, and push up with my arms. If you consider yourself to be of the “I have no upper body strength” club, then start doing push-ups. You’ll thank me in the end.

11. Ask if they’ll give you Benadryl with your pain relievers.

The pain relievers while great will probably make you itchy . That’s normal. If you feel that, ask for Benadryl IMMEDIATELY! I now have scars on my legs because I scratched them after I would take my pain relievers (not realizing that it was the medication making me itchy). Once I figured that out though, they gave me the Benadryl and it was no problem.

12. Shower time & washing your hair can be tricky!

When you bathe or shower, I suggest getting a bath chair and sitting, but that’s only if you have a problem with standing up for a long period of time. I had that issue. Try to get your hair done in a style where you won’t have to worry about it for a few weeks. I couldn’t even hold my arms up to wash my hair until like week 3 or 4 of recovery (I had braids so it wasn’t that bad).

Other things that I shared:

  • 6-8 weeks is a normal recovery time.
  • Be careful because with an abdominal myomectomy because your lower abdomen WILL be numb (they cut your nerves so you can’t feel anything).
  • Wearing heels is out of the question — for a few weeks (just thought I would throw that in as a freebie).

Here’s to happy healing! If you have any questions, post them in the comments section.

~Ms. C. Jayne