MY PUSSY AND OUR JOURNEY

(For the record, I do not equate womanhood to vaginas. Plenty of women do not have vaginas and plenty of men do not have penises.)

As I sit here writing this, a day after my colposcopy, I cannot help but reflect on this thing between my legs.

I remember when I lost my virginity to my long-term boyfriend in high school. I remember being told that I was supposed to bleed when my hymen was broken but I did not. I remember how he looked at me accusingly. I remember how I felt dirty and I felt used – because he accused me of lying about my virginity. I remember the shame I felt due to this thing between my legs.

I remember my first miscarriage. I was married, young, and I wanted nothing more than to be a mother. It was easy getting pregnant. It was hard losing that baby. I remember my contractions as my body passed this dead fetus inside of me. I remember puking in the bathtub while I sat bleeding in the toilet seat experiencing some of the worst pain coming from my womb. I remember feeling betrayed by my body. I remember feeling ashamed, when my mami told me, "Eso nunca me paso a mi," as she looked at me with anger in her tone as if I had done this to myself. I remember the anger I felt due to this thing between my legs.

I remember my divorce, and my imminent sexual liberation that occurred in tandem. I remember that I used sex to feel less pain, but also I remember using sex and orgasms to feel more in my body than in my broken heart. I remember consenting to sex in a way that I had never done before, and wanting and making demands of partners like I had never done before. I remember feeling free and happy and confused. I remember how wonderful it felt to learn to separate feelings and sex, love and sex, intimacy and sex. I remember how powerful I felt and how in control I finally became. I remember loving this thing between my legs like I had never done before. She was not for reproductive purposes, but for pleasure and I remember learning that.

Today, I think about all these things, I think about the fact that I was never taught to value myself in all of my essence. I was never taught to love all of myself, naked, raw, and there was no language for how to make love to myself. Now that I finally feel at ease and on good terms with my pussy and my vagina and my cervix, I have been diagnosed with HPV 16. This strand is aggressive and can oftentimes lead to cancer. I have been told that this thing between my legs can kill me, and I am stopped dead in my tracks because I wish I had been told the worst and best feelings were to come to me from this one particular region. As I sit here and write this, while I bleed into my panties from being biopsied just yesterday, I cannot help but think of this journey I have been on with this pussy of mine. And I cannot help but cry, for her and for me.