Learning to Love Your Scent: Vulva and Vagina Edition

This is the single best article about the scent of vulvas and vaginas.
The article is called

“Vulvas and Vaginas Smell Like, Well, Vulvas and Vaginas” 

I think this topic is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT.  I have wayyyyy too many girlfriends who don’t like cunnilingus because they are insecure about their scent.  If any guy or gal going down on you thinks you’re going to smell like peaches and strawberries, they are mistaken and need to learn that vulvas smell like vulvas.  (SPOILER: Most people who go down on women know that vulvas smell and taste like vulvas.  Those of us on the receiving end need to learn this fact and learn to love our scents.)

Martha Kempner wrote this article.  She deserves a serious low five.

She starts with a very important anatomy lesson:

VULVA = “everything on the outside between your legs – your labia majora, labia minora, mons pubis, clitoris, clitoral hood, urethral opening, vaginal opening”

VAGINA = “the muscle that connects your uterus to your body”

My biggest pet peeve is when people call vulvas “vaginas.”  VULVA is an awesome word.  We should use it more.  Especially correctly.

Kempner goes on to talk about what vulvas should smell like and how vulvas should be taken care of.
(SCENT SPOILER: However you smell is normal.  Be concerned if your smell changes – then something is up.)
(CARE SPOILER: Taking care of a vulva is easy peasy.  Do almost nothing.  Read the article for more info.)

Which Menstrual Cup is Right for YOU?

A few days ago I wrote a post about having an eco-menses.  All of the products that I recommended are based on my personal experience.  Not everything that works for me is going to work for you.  Here’s a great article a friend shared with me about alllllll the different types of menstrual cups!

If you’re considering a menstrual cup, this article is a great guide to figuring out where to start on your journey!

Some things to think about when choosing a cup:

  1. Have you had children or are you over the age of 30?
  2. Where does your cervix sits – is it high or low?
  3. How heavy or light  is your flow? (Cups work great for both!)
  4. How firm do you want the cup to be?

The article explains each in this list and even has come awesome comparison charts and photos.

Ch-ch-ch-check it out!

Learning to Love My Breasts: Going Braless 101

Three years ago I decided to stop wearing bras.

Yeah, I just stopped.

First summer going braless. Look how happy I am! FREEDOM!

Growing up, the demarcation of being a woman was having breasts.  Like, BIG ONES.  I figured because everyone in my family had BIG ONES that I’d have BIG ONES.  And, girl, was I mislead.

For a very long time, my breasts were a great source of insecurity.  They were the focus of my comparisons with other women.  I thought of myself as less of a woman because I have small breasts.  I never believed a lover when they said they liked them or when they said that they preferred small boobs.  Nope, in my mind they were just saying that to make me feel better.  It never did make me feel better because I didn’t like my boobs anyway.

When I was 21, I decided that I was going to start liking my boobs.  I noticed a customer at work had small boobs like me and she didn’t wear bras.  I had an epiphany!  I wasn’t going to wear bras either.

So I stopped wearing bras and decided that I was going to start thinking nice things about the small lovelies on my chest.

I stumbled upon this article about the perks of going braless (get it? perks?).  Besides going braless to feel better about my chest, I learned that there was a good chance I was doing my humps some good!

It took me a long time to accept them.  For a while, I liked them when I looked at them in the mirror, but the minute I could compare them to anyone else’s, I did and I would not feel happy about them.

Now, things didn’t just magically get better after going braless.  For a while, I was comparing how my braless boobs looked to chests that were wearing bras.  And I was like “Oh, poor me.  My boobs are so small.  Waaah waah.”  But then one day I put on an old bra just see how it looked and WAAA POW!  My boobs looked BIG!  And then I realized something I already knew – bras are an illusion.  DUH.  All this braless time up to this point I was down in the dumps comparing my boobs TO PEOPLE WHO WERE WEARING BRAS.  THIS MAKES NO SENSE, SELF.  And this was the tipping point for me – I realized that I didn’t really know what other women’s breasts looked like.  I only knew what the media was showing me in porn and Playboy and magazines.  THIS WAS MONUMENTAL FOR ME.  How could I compare myself to other women when one – they are all wearing push-up bras or regular bras, two – I didn’t know what anyone’s boobs actually looked like, and three – I didn’t wear bras to even know what I looked like in a bra.

So then I had to actively decide to stop comparing myself to others.  Which was hard, but a very possible thing to do.

Life with my chest got ONE MILLION PERCENT better after this.

Living braless is a way of life for me now. I don’t even think about it. Unless I’m writing a blog about it, of course.

I still have moments where I find myself thinking negative things, but they are few and far between.  When these times happen, I have to actively tell myself to be kind to myself.  It works. And then I pat myself on the shoulder for being nice to me.

EVERYONE LIKES LISTS, SO HERE’S A LIST ABOUT GOING BRALESS

  1. Do it for you.  Don’t do it for anyone else.
  2. Do it because it feels good and right.  Don’t do it if it doesn’t feel right for you.
  3. Sometimes people will notice, especially when you’re cold.  In time this will not bother you.  Guys’ nipples poke through their shirts all the time and no one cares.
  4. Sometimes undershirts are nice (like when you were a little girl, before you needed to wear bras).  They’re nice when a shirt is a little see through and you’re not ready to show the world the color of your nipples, too.
  5. You might notice how lop-sided you are.  That’s ok.  Nearly all women are.
  6. Here’s an article about what a woman learned when she went braless for a week.

VIDEO: How to Love Yourself 101

tyrannosauruslexxx made a great video about how to love yourself.

These same nine things are the exact things I went through to start loving me!  I thought she outlined them very well.  I will bullet-point them for you here with some of my own thoughts.

HOW TO LOVE YOURSELF 101 (per tyrannosauruslexxx)

  1. Stop putting yourself down.
  2. Replace negative thoughts with things that you like about yourself.  Or at least follow-up the negative comments with a positive comment about yourself.
  3. Treat yourself.  Indulge in something for yourself. Give yourself “me” time.
    1. KATE NOTE: For example, I take myself on a date at the beginning of every month.  I also take pole dancing classes (find out what they’ve done for me here) once a week for an hour.  As for “me” time, I don’t say “yes” to things when they interfere with “me” time and I choose to sleep by myself a few nights a week.
  4. Look at how you relate to others.  Treating others in a positive way will help you treat yourself in a positive way.
    1. KATE NOTE: This will also help others treat you positively. (Insert cliche saying “Treat others how you want to be treated.”)  
    2. KATE NOTE: This helps me with my road rage. :D  When I am getting angry, I try to be nice and pretend they are in a hurry because someone is in labor in that vehicle and that’s why they’re driving like an asshole and cutting me off (or trying to). So I let them cut me off, with a smile, because in my mind there in a pregnant woman having 10 sec contractions in that vehicle.  And I breathe, in, and out. Just like I imagine the woman in the vehicle in breathing. 
  5. Don’t be afraid to get rid of rubbish people in your life.
  6. Have goals – big and small.
  7. Know your worth.  Demand more from the world and people around you.
  8. Pick certain people who you look up to and emulate them in certain situations.
    1. KATE NOTE: “WWKD?”  What would Kate do?  You can even emulate me if you want.  Find your inner Kate.
  9. Fake it til you make it.  This applies for #1 through #8.  Do these things even if you don’t believe yourself, and you’ll start believing yourself because you deserve to love yourself and be happy.

MY ADDITIONS TO THIS LIST:

  • If you don’t have a mirror – get one!  If you have one and it’s covered up – uncover it!
  • Make eye contact with yourself in the mirror.
    • If this makes you cry, cry. If this makes you uncomfortable, ask yourself why it does.  If this makes you want to punch the mirror, don’t.  If this makes you happy, be happy.
  • Smile at yourself when you look in the mirror.
    • I had no idea that not everyone did this until I was bartending one night and it came up in conversation.  Try it.  Seriously – it works.  :D
  • Stick a positive note on your mirror that will make you smile!  Here are some ideas:
    • You are smart.
    • You are kind.
    • You are important.
    • You look great!
    • All this and brains, too.

Check out the video below!

Body Positive Playlist – Take Two

One of my first posts ever was a “body-positive” playlist created by BuzzFeed.  At the time, I thought it was a good list, but I’ve changed my mind.

Here’s the playlist from BuzzFeed:

  • India.Arie, “Video”
  • Corinne Bailey Rae, “Put Your Records On”
  • Pink, “So What”
  • Jason Mraz, “The Beauty in Ugly”
  • MIKA, “Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)”
  • Christina Aguilera, “Beautiful”
  • Destiny’s Child, “Bootylicious”
  • Right Said Fred, “I’m Too Sexy”
  • Beyoncé, “Check On It”
  • Cyndi Lauper, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”
  • LMFAO, “Sexy and I Know It”
  • Alanis Morissette, “Perfect”
  • Jason Derulo, “It Girl”
  • Lauryn Hill, “Doo Wop (That Thing)”
  • Robyn, “Konichiwa Bitches”
  • Bif Naked, “I Love Myself Today”
  • En Vogue, “Free Your Mind”
  • “Big, Blonde and Beautiful” from Hairspray
  • “You Can’t Stop the Beat” (also from Hairspray)
  • Mary J. Blige, “Work That”
  • Sir Mix-A-Lot, “Baby Got Back”

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of these songs are great and fun to listen to, but I disagree with the emphasis that BuzzFeed put on “beauty” as being “body-positive.”  Let’s take this article, for example – “Not Everyone is Beautiful”.

“Not Everyone is Beautiful” challenges the notion that we should be basing our self-worth and self-positive thoughts off beauty.  As it says in the article, we don’t say “Everyone has a pleasant laugh” or “Everyone is athletic to somebody” or “You are an amazing writer whether you know it or not.”  Why do we say everyone is beautiful?  Why is the standard for making a person feel good about themselves have to be about beauty?  We say “You are beautiful inside and out.”  I think what could meant by this is “You are a compassionate and loving individual” – so why don’t we say this?  Why don’t we base our worth off things that will last a lifetime?  In time, my skin with sag, wrinkles will take over my face, I will lose my teeth, I may get age spots, I will gain weight – I won’t be “beautiful.”  But I will still have a warm personality, a good sense of humor, and compassion for people and animals and the earth.  Yes, I am beautiful, but that’s not the greatest thing about me.  I’m also strong and ambitious and a hearty conversationalist.  So, let’s tweak this “body-positive” playlist to be more “self-positive” – because we need to credit our minds, not just our bodies, for making us who we are.  Any song mentioning beautiful is coming off the list automatically – I’m opting for songs that are more descriptive in defining what makes us awesome. Beauty is a cop-out.

I’m also going to try to make a list that isn’t so heteronormative.  So any song that is about a woman being better now that she’s not with a man – yeah, that won’t fly.  I want as many people to relate to the list as possible.

“I’m not the average girl from your video
And I ain’t built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally,
Because I am a queen

I not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I’m wearing I will always be
India.Arie”

“Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.”

  • Pink, “So What” – Nah.
  • Jason Mraz, “The Beauty in Ugly”
  • MIKA, “Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)”
  • Christina Aguilera, “Beautiful”
  • Destiny’s Child, “Bootylicious”
  • Right Said Fred, “I’m Too Sexy”
  • Beyoncé, “Check On It”
  • Cyndi Lauper, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”

“That’s all they really want
Some fun
When the working day is done
Girls – they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have fun”

  • LMFAO, “Sexy and I Know It”
  • Alanis Morissette, “Perfect”
  • Jason Derulo, “It Girl”

“You could be my it girl
Baby you’re the shit girl
Lovin’ you could be a crime
Crazy how we fit girl,
This is it girl
Give me 25 to life
I just wanna rock all night long,
And put you in the middle of my spotlight
You could be my it girl
You’re my biggest hit girl”

(This one is on the verge of not making the list, but I like that he uses other adjectives besides just saying beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.)

“I love myself today
Not like yesterday
I’m cool, I’m calm
I’m gonna be okay! Uh huh
I love myself today
Not like yesterday
Take another look at me now
‘Cause it’s your last look
Your last look forever”

  • En Vogue, “Free Your Mind”
  • “Big, Blonde and Beautiful” from Hairspray
  • “You Can’t Stop the Beat” (also from Hairspray)
  • Mary J. Blige, “Work That”
  • Sir Mix-A-Lot, “Baby Got Back”
  • Andy Grammer, “Keep Your Head Up”

“But you gotta keep your head up, oh,
And you can let your hair down, eh
You gotta keep your head up, oh,
And you can let your hair down, eh

I know it’s hard, know its hard,
To remember sometimes,
But you gotta keep your head up, oh,
And you can let your hair down, eh”

“Wait a second,
Why, should you care, what they think of you
When you’re all alone, by yourself, do you like you?
Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to bend until you break
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing”

“You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

‘Cause, baby, you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go, “Aah, aah, aah”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colours burst
Make ’em go, “Aah, aah, aah”
You’re gonna leave ’em all in awe, awe, awe”

“Pretty, pretty please, don’t you ever, ever feel
Like you’re less than fucking perfect
Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel
Like you’re nothing, you’re fucking perfect to me”

“You’re vulnerable, you’re vulnerable
You are not a robot
You’re lovable, so lovable
But you’re just troubled

Guess what? I’m not a robot, a robot
Guess what? I’m not a robot, a robot”

“Our bodies deserve more than to be war-torn and collateral
Offering this fuckdom as a pathetic means to say,
“I only know how to exist when I am wanted.”

Girls like us are hardly ever wanted, you know
We’re used up and we’re sad and drunk and
Perpetually waiting by the phone for someone to pick up and tell us that we did good
Well, you did good.

You are worth more than who you fuck
You are worth more than a waistline
You are worth more than beer bottles displayed like drunken artifacts.
You are worth more than any naked body could proclaim in the shadows,
More than a man’s whim or your father’s mistake
You are no less valuable as a size 16 than a size 4
You are no less valuable as a 32a than a 36c
Your sexiness is defined by concentric circles within your wood
It is wisdom
You are a goddamn tree stump with leaves sprouting out
Reborn”

“What’s your middle name?
Do you hate your job?
Do you fall in love too easily?
What’s your favorite word?
You like kissing girls?
Can I call you baby?
Yeah, yeah”

Do you have any that you would add or delete?

Learning to Love Your Period: Inspiring Blood Talk

This image has gone viral, and it couldn’t have at a better time.  Not only did I write my first “Learning to Love Your Period” blog last week, but I’m also bleeding right now.  I think it’s time for me to get back in touch with my photographer side, set up the tri-pod and depict what bleeding means to me.  (And if you haven’t read the article yet or seen all the images —> http://www.scoopwhoop.com/news/insta-photo/?ref=social&type=fb&b=0)   What bleeding means to Rupa Kaur – her images include bleeding on the sheets (above), splattering in the shower, washing these sheets, and sitting on the toilet changing her pad.

Her images all reflect normal life for those of us who bleed.  If you’re a person who has periods, there’s a 150% chance that bleeding on the sheets has happened at least once, if not 85 times before.  Bleeding in the shower – yep.  Washing the sheets – yep.  Changing/cleaning whatever product of choice to soak up your flow – yep.

In my photoseries, I would depict an eco-menses.  I would add photos of:

  • dropping a full Diva Cup on the bathroom floor (but do I really want that to happen again?)
  • my fingers after putting my Diva Cup in
  • handing washing my cloth pads
  • machine washing my cloth pads
  • perhaps watering my plants with my collected Diva Cup blood (would this be called “blooding” vs watering?)
  • wearing my cute bloodstained HareBrained period panties
  • a blood stain I left on my partner’s bed
  • splattering on my really really cute bathroom rug
  • some used cloth pads

Will I share these?  Not sure.  They might just be for me.  But maybe I’ll share them with you, too.

Bleed on, my fellow bleeders!

Self-Love: Pole Dancing Edition

Taking pole dancing/fitness lessons has been the single most important self-love act that I have done for myself in my twenties.  Not only has it been a confidence booster concerning my sexiness and self esteem, but I’ve also slimmed down, gained and toned muscle, gained ab definition, strengthened my Kegel muscles, and increased my flexibility.  I attend Miss Pole dance studio in Madison, Wisconsin, and I have so many good things to say about it.  The instructors are great, the classes are affordable, and the students are supportive, caring, and wonderful accountability partners. Check out their site if you happen to be in the Southern part of Wisconsin.

https://www.misspole.com/

Here’s a little taste of what I could do during Pole Level 2.

Pole 2

I took a step up and did a sit.  My thigh skin is holding me up there – it’s all about conditioning!

Current Goals

  • Touch my toes.
  • Do three reach aboves in a row.
  • Tighten my “Drama Queen.”
  • Do the Flag.
  • Back swing with Right arm.
  • Barrel of Monkeys.
  • One-handed back swing.
  • Rockstar.

I have so many goals in pole – and I reach about one a week.  This makes me feel great.

Having a pole in the middle of my living room is helpful, but so is having the ambition to actually use it.

Here’s some home pole shots:

Pole 3 On the left is the Barrel of Monkeys I mentioned, a Pole 3 move.  I can hold it like this.  The trick is being able to do this in a spin.  I’ll get there.

Invert

This is my invert!  Another Pole 3 move.  Now, going from here is where things get tricky for me.  The move I’m trying to get down is hooking my top knee on the pole and reaching up above it with my right hand.  This is the reach above.  From here I could go into a rock star, stand straight up, and sooo many other things! But first, I need to get this down.  I’ll get there. =)

The biggest lesson I’ve learned in pole is TO BE PATIENT WITH MYSELF.  I was always the Type A perfectionist who wouldn’t do something unless she could do it correctly and efficiently the first time.  Luckily, college happened, I learned I wasn’t the smartest person in the world, and I slowly grew out of this mentality.  Now, I have patience with myself.  I am kind to myself.  I know I’ll eventually get these moves down.  It’ll happen.  Maybe not as quickly as I like, but what’s the fun in progress if it doesn’t take some work to get there?

Climb on, my sisters!