As a synopsis of my background (for those who haven't read everything I've put up on this site), my relationship with the Feminine has been one of struggle, conflict, disappointment, grudging pleasures, glimpses of acceptance, growing comfort, synthesizing disparate factors, glimmers of the divine, stepping in (pulling back less and less) to embracing and allowing it to flow -- though I still feel more room to grow.
None of this journey has been easy and countless times, my body has born the brunt of a negativity which started at childhood. I went from identifying more with boys than my own sex, to being forced to shed those alliances in return for the pains of puberty, within the framework of a dysfunctional family.
Since my first period at age 13, the following 10 years of that cycle entailed regular pain for 2-3 days each time. I remember at 16, I'd missed the school bus and was biking the 5-6 miles to school on day 1 of my cycle. I was struck with a stabbing pain that almost felled me and had to walk the rest of the way, arriving late to my first class. I also remember the emotional pain and frustration of trying to find jeans (how are people wearing them so tight and not going mad?), bras (36 D and you want a sports bra?) or worst of all, swimsuits (too many gripes to list) to fit a body that seemed determined to resemble Marilyn Monroe and attract tons of negative attention. I desperately wanted to look as strong as I was (so no one would mess with me) and even considered becoming a body builder, until I learned of steroids. The fact that my 5ft. hourglass figure could accomplish tree-climbing, body-surfing, gymnastics, and pull-up bar feats was my secret -- I felt that I looked like a creme-puff -- it angered and depressed me. Additionally, instead of enjoying some kind of charismatic power from my physique, I had pimples, various stages of bad hair, braces and weird clothes. I was called ugly and was continually picked-on, stared at, and was having my butt pinched by hands that would disappear into the anonymous crowded hallways.
As I grew older and male attention became less of the negative variety, I carried those scars and memories -- which I medicated with sweets (a very ancient crutch) until yeast or bladder infections became my bane. In my mid-upper 20s, I lowered my sugar intake and those symptoms faded, even my skin cleared. I loved sex, maintaining a romantic relationship (from college) and got married at 26.
But, by age 28, my focus had turned to trying to have a baby -- a dream which never came to pass and I had to abandon (see more about this all over this web-site). Every month my body created symptoms of pregnancy (I read several books on it), only to be dashed by the arrival of my very regular period. For about a year, at around 29-30, I tried Western fertility treatments, getting as far as taking 3 months of Clomid, before quitting that approach. The final cycle of Clomid damaged my left ovary -- it ached with every ovulation afterwards.
I've already written a lot about my fertility quest, but what I want to emphasize here is that the frustrated desire to create stymied my energy in new, subtle ways -- who has time to write or draw with a wish so all-consuming? Those old passions were shelved, but in other ways, my life was blossoming with yoga study/teaching, creating a home, having friends/social life and feeling like I finally looked good (mostly). Then my sharp, one-pointed focus would return and return and return to the uterus: what's happening? how am I feeling? when am I in my cycle? what am I doing wrong? As more time passed, I was again disassociated with my feminine-looking body (despite practicing advanced yoga poses with it, being a vegetarian and having a strong immune system). I felt this body ought to give me a baby -- it should be easy and I'd have a natural child-birth at home! I was looking forward to that adventure. I was frequently asked: "how many children do you have?" which showed me that the assumption was shared by others, but it still didn't match the reality, no matter how strongly I wanted, prayed, bargained, relaxed, self-affirmationed.
I eventually withdrew from the fertility quest. At age 38, I was told that I had 3 ping-pong ball-sized fibroids in my uterus. This was upsetting, though I had no troubling symptoms. By then I'd understood that fibroids are common and caused by blocked creativity, a la Dr. Christianne Northrup and are an indicator of a larger social malaise that many US. women experience -- putting others wishes ahead of your own. I thought at the time, is that me? Nah! I'm no push-over. I entertained the idea that they could be caused by my fertility search, but then thought they should go away by themselves, because I was no longer making those demands. Except for being disturbed by the thought of nourishing something in my body with no function, after a bit, I forgot them. I was between international travels, deciding to adopt children and mulling entering Shamanic training and moving. I'd also discovered Belly-Dance and was enjoying learning this beautiful way of expressing and celebrating the feminine body without society's usual double standards or harmful judgements about shape/size etc. Surely this would make them leave, right?