Tag Archives: feminism

Taking Care of Yourself

I’m not really sure why, but I struggle sometimes to put myself first. I constantly think about and worry about the loved ones in my life, and it truly comes second nature to prioritize them over all other things. And when one of those loved ones is having some sort of problem, I’m quick to remind them to take care of themselves and put their needs first. But when the script is flipped and it’s me in some sort of distress, I can tend to approach it with this “maybe if I just ignore it, it’ll go away” mentality.

Don’t get me wrong– I’m not saying I don’t complain. I certainly don’t broadcast problems to any and everyone, but I definitely vent to my husband and occasionally family and best friend. But if I am totally honest, I do a lot of my suffering in silence. I have this thing where I worry about bothering people, being a burden to them, or wasting their time. Recently I learned a really valuable lesson that I need to do a better job of taking care of myself despite those worries.

I am currently recovering from a little medical thing. I hesitate to call it an emergency because it was definitely not like my life was on the line, but let’s just say I was not well. Nope, you know what. I’m going to share it because I often feel there is silence around women’s health issues, and they can frequently be brushed under the rug. I had an ovarian cyst rupture, and it was TERRIBLE.

It all started about three weeks ago, when I noticed that I was just not feeling great. At all. I kept thinking it’s nothing, it’ll go away, but with each passing day I would feel a little worse. Although I could pinpoint a few symptoms, the worse part was that I just didn’t feel like myself. We all know when we are sick, like with a cold or the flu or sinus infections, we don’t have the same energy or appetite as usual and that we don’t feel super well. But this was different. I didn’t even feel the way I feel when I’m sick… I just felt… off. Not like me. It’s hard to explain. When I told Tim this, he was pretty insistent that I make a doctor’s appointment. My friend’s and family were the same. After some hemming and hawing, I did finally make one– but I couldn’t get in for about a month. I accepted this and tried to move on. I went on about my days per usual, but I kept feeling worse. And then, I developed some pretty intense pain in my lower right abdomen.

After a few days of this pain, everything finally came to a head. It was pretty clear I needed some immediate medical attention, but I continued to put it off, not wanting to “overreact in case it’s nothing.” Luckily, those close to me who knew what was going on kept gently encouraging me to go ahead to the hospital to get it checked out. Friday morning, I finally listened, and went to the ER. After an awful lot of time in the ER where the doctors and nurses around me felt certain it was my appendix, I finally found out that it was a ruptured cyst. I felt relieved knowing what was wrong, but I don’t think the doctor I saw there fully prepared me for how long it would take me to recover and how bad I would continue to feel. I left the hospital thinking I would be better in a day or two, but that was just not the case. Several more days passed of the same amount of pain and feeling really bad.

Finally, I decided to take the time off work and do what I really needed to do– rest and take care of myself. I laid around with a heating pad for days, wondering if I’d ever feel normal again. I made an appointment to see my gynecologist, and she could not have been more helpful. It’s not like she gave me some miracle cure (because with ruptures, all you can really do is wait to feel better), but she listened to me and reassured me that my pain and discomfort were totally normal. She also did something so nice: she apologized that I had to go through something like this. She encouraged me to keep resting and taking it easy, to listen to my body, and reminded me that it was still going to take time to fully heal. After about 4 straight days of rest, I’m finally really feeling on the mend and have been improving with each passing day. Thank goodness.

This whole situation has really been a huge learning experience for me. I’ve learned a valuable lesson about listening to your instincts and putting yourself first sometimes, especially when it comes to your health. I’ve learned a whole new level of love and care from my friends and family and especially my husband. I’ve learned the value of rest. I’ve learned that sometimes women’s health issues aren’t taken as seriously by some, but also that there are really great doctors out there that do care.

I tend to be a little more private, and I went back and forth about whether or not to write about this. I mean, I know that only about 5 people read this, and most of those 5 people are close enough to me that they already knew what I was going through. But still– this was sharing some personal stuff. Ultimately, it just seems like my experience was real, and it deserved a voice. And maybe even one person will be reminded to take better care of themselves.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • Three weeks ago, I made this glorious cacio e pepe. Due to not being well most of the last 2 weeks, I didn’t make a new recipe, but Sunday was Tim’s birthday so I made him dinner Saturday night with this awesome recipe for grilled pizza dough. I also made this amazing Milk Bar birthday cake on Sunday.
  • Having lots of bed rest recently gave me time to watch 1927’s Best Picture winner, Wings. It was the first ever Best Picture winner, and also the only silent film to win until 2011’s The Artist. I also watched 1971’s The French Connection.  I totally should have watched more Best Picture winners, but I mostly watched trashy television and slept.
  • I tried to keep up on writing, but I definitely dropped off on taking very many pictures. I’m barely over a month left and I still have so many things to tackle on my list….I’m getting nervous I won’t make it!

This One’s For the Ladies

Ladies, I need to rant for a second.

In so many ways, I am shown daily how far we’ve come. I know that it’s an uphill battle to educate the ignorant that feminism is for EVERYONE, but lately there has been a lot of positive activity that keeps me hopeful, from Emma Watson killing it as the UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador to #askhermore and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. But sometimes right when you feel like there could start to be a paradigm shift, cue the infuriating jerk to walk in and act like it’s 1950.

I won’t get into the specifics, but the other day I was completely incensed by a conversation with an older man that was filled with callous, chauvinistic questions and comments directed at me in the context of my gender. I was so stunned as it was happening that I could barely react until much later on in the day. I couldn’t believe that someone still looked at the world– and women– in such a backwards and inappropriate way. I was utterly dumbfounded, and then, as time went on, I grew to a place of extreme outrage. Who does he think he is?

I wish that was the only time something like this has happened to me. I have countless other stories, but here is one that really sticks out. My old job consisted of working with a mostly male-led athletic department, and after accepting the position, a WOMAN said to me, “I can’t believe they’d put a woman in that job.” When I asked why, she said “Because you have to deal with all those men. You’d think they’d want someone with balls.” And to that, I simply smiled and said, “Don’t you worry about me. I have plenty of balls.” I wish I’d been able to see out of my shock enough the other day to stick up for myself in a similar way.

The sad thing is, I know each and every woman out there has several stories just like this. It’s hard sometimes to get lost in the negativity, and we do still have a very long way to go. But I just want to take a moment to say a few things to all the ladies out there:

First, you’re awesome. You multi-task in ways a man could never even dream of. You are terrific daughters, mothers, sisters, aunts, friends, wives, and human beings all while being amazing leaders, game-changers, homemakers, professionals, and teachers. You’re smart, funny, and powerful. You can do anything you want, EVER. And anyone who ever doubts or tries to diminish you is an ignorant asshole. And that’s the truth.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • Last weekend was my dad’s birthday, and I made him and my whole family a delicious lasagna based on this recipe.
  • I watched 1985’s Best Picture winner, Out of Africa, with Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. It was good though exceptionally long and a little slow-moving, but I’d pretty much watch anything with either of those two actors.
  • Tim and I took a day trip to Indianapolis on Saturday for a little shopping for the house, and we doubled it as a weekly date, too. Really fun, and great to get away– even for the day.
  • I’ve kept up on both photos and writing in my journal still– on a streak!