I’m going to preface this post by saying that I have the flu, and I’m doing my absolute best to have this whole blog post make sense.
I thought I’d share a story that might be relatable to some of my fellow vaginismus friends. Is that even a thing: “vaginismus friends?” God, I’m so loopy and clearly off to a great start.
Tampons had always been terrifying to me. I used to look at them in the store as a kid and wonder how in the hell those worked. When my older sister and mom told me, I cringed. That sounded weird and wrong.
As I got older and got my period, my sister told me to try tampons since they were easier to use. I remember the horrible memory of going into the bathroom just staring at this stupid little tampon in my hand. My sister was on the other side of the door asking how it was going. I honestly wanted to die. It was traumatizing trying to put that thing in and, spoiler alert, I never actually got it in.
My mom said that it’s not a big deal and not every woman uses tampons anyways. That made me feel better at the time, but looking back I wonder why no one made it a bigger deal that tampons hurt for me.
When I was sixteen or so, I remember having a birthday party at my parent’s house. God, even thinking about it now makes me die a little bit from embarrassment. Aside from myself, one other girl in my friends group had never used a tampon. My other friends thought it would be funny to make me a card and glue tampons to it. They also bought me boxes of tampons as gifts.
I remember the card being funny at the time, but I also had a super weird feeling attached to it. It kind of felt like pressure and that I was the weird one who couldn’t do this supposedly simple thing. I remember feeling like a disappointment to my gender.
The girls pushed me and the other friend, who also never used a tampon, into the bathroom to try to use them. She went first, bless her, and came out saying that it actually wasn’t that bad. She explained that she had imagined it would be much worse than that.
Then, it was my turn. Lord have mercy.
I remember being in the bathroom, again staring down at this little tiny demon in my hand, and wanting so badly to conquer it. I tried so hard to make it work, but it wouldn’t go in and it was excruciatingly painful.
It felt like I was in there for ages, but I’m pretty sure it had only been a few minutes. I remember hearing the girls giggling and knocking, asking me if I had done it yet. What was I supposed to do in this situation? My other friend had successfully done it and I didn’t want to feel like the reject who couldn’t. So, I did what any other 16 year old would do in a situation like this – I lied.
I stuffed the tampon into the bottom of the trashcan and walked out all smiles.
“I did it! It wasn’t so bad!” I exclaimed, hoping that these girls wouldn’t see the mask I was hiding behind.
They all jumped for joy and gave me a hug. I went along with it.
The next day I just gave my sister all of the tampons and never touched another tampon again for a very long time. Another spoiler alert – I still can’t use them.
If I could tell my 16 year old self what I know now, I would first give her a hug in that bathroom and let her know that it’s okay. I would then tell her not to feel like she was less of a woman because she couldn’t insert a tampon. She should simply walk out of that bathroom and let them know it was painful and that she just couldn’t do it. Who cares what they think anyways? Are they going through what you are going through? No. Would they understand? Who knows…
I’m not simply sharing this story to tell an embarrassing tale. Instead, I wanted to share this story to give some of you peace of mind that you are not alone, especially for those of you who are uncertain or feel humiliated by your condition. You shouldn’t be. You also shouldn’t let others pressure you or make you feel ashamed because you can’t do something. True friends would understand that.