Updates and Triumphs
Content Warning: Mention of sexual violence.
Howdy y’all. It’s been a minute!
You might have noticed I didn’t post a blog in August. I kept meaning to, and then suddenly it was September. I might make up for that by posting two blogs in September, especially if I get some good news publishing-wise. We’ll see.
For now, an update: I don’t miss social media at all. In fact, I feel like I’ll never create another social media account unless I’m required to by a publisher/literary agent. It’s very obvious to me now that social media was no longer contributing to my life in a positive way, and I’m so glad to be rid of it. That said, I did download and then almost immediately delete a few dating apps recently. I thought I might be ready to dip my toes back into the dating pool, but I guess I’m not quite there yet.
Another update: Charlie is doing super well, and he’s getting along great with the adult cats. Charles and Smuggz are cuddle buddies, and he and Maddie like to chase each other around the cabin. I’ve got to get him neutered soon and just thinking about it gives me separation anxiety. He’s so sweet and affectionate, and he’s growing like a dang weed!
I’m also happy to report I’ve experienced some personal triumphs since I last posted. I’ve been getting back into stretching and yoga, and it turns out I can still do cartwheels!!! I’m so proud of that. Also, got to love that muscle memory.
To get even more personal: I recently had my first successful pap smear in over 6 years. I say “first successful” because the last time I tried to get a pap the practitioner couldn’t complete the procedure. My body straight up wouldn’t allow it, and I couldn't stop crying. As some of y’all know, I’ve experienced quite a bit of sexual violence – much of it at the hands of intimate partners – so the already uncomfortable procedure of a pap smear is A Very Big Deal for me. I’m so proud of myself for finally getting it done, though, and I’m so thankful to my nurse practitioner for all the ways she made the procedure less difficult for me. I also wanted to share some tips for anyone reading this who might need them.
Tell your nurse practitioner/OB GYN you’re a survivor of sexual violence. I waited to tell mine until it was clear the exam wasn’t going to be “successful,” because sometimes it’s hard to share that with a stranger; but she pleasantly surprised me with her response. She called me brave, and then together we made a plan for the next attempted pap smear, which ended up being successful.
Ask for the smallest speculum possible. (My nurse practitioner had to use a child-size speculum during my pap. Yes, sadly – but also thankfully – those do exist.)
Ask if your practitioner can write you a one-time prescription for Xanax (one pill, low dose) to take before the exam. (My nurse practitioner did that for me, and it made a HUGE difference.)
Have someone you trust who knows your history, and has validated your experiences in the past, drive you to and from the exam.
Dress in comfy clothes.
Bring your smartphone and headphones so you can listen to calming music during the exam.
Plan to pick up your favorite coffee or meal after the exam, regardless of whether it’s successful or not. You deserve to celebrate! You’re brave!
In related news, I’ve been feeling the desire to dress more femme, like I used to, and I’m having a lot of fun with it. I say “in related news” because I feel like the successful pap experience has contributed to me feeling safer in my body than I’ve felt in a long time. As a result, I’m having so much fun with fashion and beauty lately.
Something less exciting: my writing has been getting rejected A LOT lately. It’s a bummer, but rejection is part of the deal when you’re a writer. It’s a numbers game. Hopefully I’ll have some acceptances – and links – to share with y’all soon.
In an effort to expand what brings me joy and creative fulfillment, I entered the Margaret Harwell Art Museum’s “Pictures by the People” exhibit at the end of July, and one of my photos received an “Honorable Mention” ribbon. So, that was fun.
Me with my photos:
Last but definitely not least, it’s fall y’all!!! I mean, I know it’s not technically autumn until September 22nd, but my cabin is decorated already and I’m 100% on the pumpkin spice train. I’ve also started watching Halloween movies, (I watched Halloweentown for the first time yesterday – with my nieces, mom, and sister, of course) and that makes me very happy.
Alrighty. That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. :)