Archive for October, 2012

Style save

Posted in Natural hair care, Styling on October 24, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

So, back to regularly scheduled programming.

I went to a wedding a few weeks ago. Initially, I had intended to wear my hair in a flat twist out. The thing was, I had washed my hair the night before and it had not fully dried by the time I needed to leave for the wedding and I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to sit under the dryer. Did I despair, although my hair was a hot mess? No. Because I simply put it in a different style. Instead of wearing it out, I simply rolled and tucked most of it, leaving some of it out in the front for a bang. Frankly, I think the backup style suited my outfit and occasion a lot more than wearing it out would have and it looked way better and more elegant. If your intended style doesn’t come out the way you intended it to, style it a different way. It just may turn out better than you think.

Here are the results:

 

Not bad, eh?

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Standstill

Posted in coping with HPV on October 15, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

I haven’t written about this topic for awhile, mainly because there really wasn’t much to tell. I’ve decided to do it now as I’m coming upon a dubious anniversary with it.

5 years ago this month (or in November, my memory gets fuzzier every year), I was told I had high risk HPV. I would like to say that it’s made me a stronger person and that I’ve learned a lot from it and all that jazz, but I can’t fake the funk. At least, not today. I have learned things from having it, that is true. However, there are certain things about it that I wish I didn’t have to learn. Frankly, for me at least, it has caused frustration and in some instances shame. Why? Mainly because there is still so much that is unknown about it, which results in  stigma and confusion among the population at large. Among most people, the virus usually clears the system within 2 years. Actually, some doctors don’t think it ever clears your system, that it just goes dormant. This uncertainty over just whether it even goes away completely is just one of things that frustrate me about it. I’ve had it for 5 years. And counting. As I am 43 years old, the vaccine is of no help to me. It is possible that I contracted it in my 20’s and it was dormant until 5 years ago when it was detected in a pap smear. I’ve monitored my diet and exercised to no avail over all this time in an attempt to clear it or get it dormant. I started taking vitamins again over the summer but so far nothing. I’m only taking a multivitamin for now. I’ve seen message boards and blogs with other people with the virus who say they take 25 pills a day, but I’m not personally convinced that all those pills really do anything and it’s possible that the companies making them are getting rich off of people’s suffering. I had my latest pap smear a month ago and you guessed it-the virus is still active. I have to go for like my 10th colposcopy next week because the latest pap smear showed changes in my cells. Whether this will show dysplasia or not I don’t know. According to research, once you’ve had CIN I dysplasia there is a small chance of it recurring, but lately, I’ve taken everything I read about the virus with a grain of salt because I’m not a typical case.

It’s caused me shame because I lost a man I was dating last year because I disclosed it and he ran faster than the Road Runner. Since they can’t test for it in men and it’s so ubiquitous, a couple of friends have suggested that I shouldn’t have said anything. At the time, I thought I did the right thing by letting him know all the facts, but now I’m not so sure. There is the thought among some people that the burden for this virus is unfairly placed on women since the test for it is only available for us. The HPV test hasn’t been developed for men and there’s little interest in having one for them. They have literally no knowledge of it and can pass it on to God knows how many people. Some people feel disclosing it to them serves little purpose as they can’t do anything about it and many people get it sometime over the course of their lives anyway. Supposedly, up to 80% of the population will get it sometime during their lives. That’s how widespread it is. Another thing that’s so frustrating about the virus is that there isn’t anything that can be done to prevent it outside of abstinence as coital sex isn’t the only way a person can get it. Condoms aren’t 100% effective as the virus can live in skin cells in your groin or down at the base of the penis where the condom doesn’t cover.. You can get it through skin to skin contact, oral sex, etc.  I’ve come to believe that the reason the HPV  test isn’t being developed for men is mainly for political and social reasons, rather than biological since sexual activity among men is viewed in a favorable light, particularly among those who have a lot of partners. Sexual activity among women is still viewed in a number of circles in a negative light, regardless of how many partners she has. Developing a test that is only available for women, then scaring the hell out of them when they are told they’ve tested positive and then have them shouldering the burden of informing potential partners and making them out to be pariahs is one of our society’s ways of shaming and punishing women for having sex. I’m not dismissing cervical cancer, by any means. In fact, before the pap test was developed, it was the most common cancer among women. The pap smear is mainly responsible for cervical cancer being only the 9th or 10th most common cancer among women now. I just wish that the test for HPV was expanded to include both men and women, that the stigma surrounding it would ease and that shouldering such a heavy burden for disclosure for a virus that is so ubiquitous isn’t placed on only one sex. I’ve only dated twice over the last three years mainly because of this virus. It’s way easier not to go through the drama of whether or not to disclose and I don’t have to worry about passing it on to others. To take it further, I’m not sure I ever want to date or have sex ever again. Should the high risk strain virus I have ever go dormant with me, I don’t know if I can go through years of anxiety and shame again. As there are at least 100 strains of HPV, there’s no guarantee that I won’t ever get another strain if I become intimate with another person. So by not dating and having sex again, that possibility is removed. And honestly, right now, that sounds pretty good to me. Because for something that is so widespread, I can’t remember feeling more alone. Unless you have walked in the exact same shoes I’m walking right now, you have no clue how I feel. How angry and frustrated I am. How I’ve pretty much given up on intimate relationships because I feel as though I’m damaged goods. How much I feel judged by people because I know there are those who think I deserved this because I wasn’t a “good girl” who should have known better and kept her legs closed. I also know of the racist people out there who think I must have deserved it because “all black women are hos anyway.” Unless you have walked or are walking in my shoes, you can’t understand the emotional scars. You are advised to think positive as it might affect how quickly you clear the virus, but at this point, I call BS on that. I’ve lived with this for 5 fucking years. All the positive thinking I’ve ever done hasn’t affected me ONE iota. So right now, I’m coming to a realization that I will have this for the rest of my natural life. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s not the best either. I’m at a standstill and I hate it here.