Since my last blog, I had this sugary, fuzzy feeling in my belly for about a week after I saw it posted. I felt so proud of myself and had this immense need to share with anyone who was willing to listen. Though in reality, that would be inappropriate, and have since only shared with one person. The process of sharing my story filled me with a jittery elation and I couldn’t wait to start writing again. I just know that this is my time of acceptance.
Life hasn’t always been like this though. I remember a few years ago, I posted a comment on the MRKH Facebook support page. That day, I must have been feeling vocal and proud and ready to accept this part of my life. I have always felt a bit lonely; an observer of a constantly moving conveyor belt witnessing baby bumps and marriages and wondering if I could ever have ‘that’ life. At that time, by joining this online community of people, surely, I was guaranteed to eliminate these feelings of abnormality and uncertainty. I did post one comment; I couldn’t tell you what it said, but it sounded empowering and liberating. I then chose to delete it two days later in the fear that someone would identify me. In addition to identifying me, would Google MRKH and stumble upon all the encyclopedic details from laparoscopies, to dilation, to chromosomes and all the other uncomfortable facts that comes with an MRKH diagnosis. So, I decided to go back into hiding.
Furthermore (and I am not entirely proud of this fact), I have also been prone to telling some lies around this subject over the years of who I am. And these were not just little white lies, they were great big whoppers. When confronted with certain questions, in what are typical discussions among women, MRKH would creep up out of nowhere. Suddenly, I felt naked and exposed and then the almighty punch to the stomach, “Do you have a spare tampon?”, to which I replied “sorry, not today”, “What form of pill are you on?”, I said “um, I cannot remember the name of it, begins with a ‘C’?”, “Don’t you just hate period pains?” My only reply to the latter is, “just jump up and down” because as a 12 year old, I was handed a pamphlet at school that suggests you do exactly that. I know no other solution to period pains.
I still fib a little to this day. Not through shame, but sometimes my medical history is simply not necessary and to expose this to the people I am with, namely when making my morning coffee, doesn’t seem quite right. Sadly, this is just my reality; however, I can walk away from these moments of utter social discomfort knowing if I had to, I could say the words MRKH with ease and a certain amount of pride.
Over the recent months, I have seen courage in every form. There is the beautiful Jaclyn Schultz, Miss Michigan 2013, speaking to many media outlets within America on behalf of the BYMRKH Foundation. Her courage to openly speak to thousands of people, educating the masses on what MRKH actually is and disclosing that like me, was born without a womb, leaves absolutely nowhere for her to hide. Jaclyn is truly stunning but more stunning than her outer beauty (and I mean drop-down, jaw hitting the floor, wouldn’t want to see her on a bad day kind of beauty), is her bravery knowing that certain comments will be whispered and eyebrows may be raised and all the while, staying true to the commitment of who she is.
Then there is another kind of courage. A courage which may seem subtle and discreet but requires grit and with the clammy palmed hand, a click of a Facebook page. I see more and more women connecting with one and other online; asking, sharing, applauding, and at times just looking for answers. Searching for empathy, sympathy, relatability and at times, just a virtual shoulder to cry on. It fills me with that warm, fuzzy feeling all over again.
I often read, how can I tell my boyfriend? Will he still want me? There are no straight answers. It’s individual and painful and requires usually a pre-written rehearsal. A big gulp type moment naturally ensues. I have presented this information three ways in the past; a quip, followed by a rambled explanation so they could not actually hear what I was saying, a close confidant, who took it upon herself to do the telling on my behalf (we are no longer in contact), and via a text message. I should reiterate, sending a text message is a very bad idea and under no circumstances, should ever be tried at home!! Though seriously, this is a ‘ripping of a plaster moment (AKA Band-Aid for the US audience) and the wound will heal.
But, all I can say is, the man that takes you by the hand and assures you that the future can be pleasurable and hopeful and beautiful, is as special and as beautiful as the woman’s hand he is holding, MRKH or not.
According to my resources, courage has seventy-two synonyms. But I shall add another, you.