Lessons from the Pole

Today one of my co-residents told me a story ( I know you weren’t expecting that from the title but trust this warm up sets the mood). It was about an older friend of hers who thought she would get ready properly before her pap smear- if you haven’t noted from previous posts-I’m a doctor. The older lady properly groomed ( thank you baby Jesus), bathed ( can I get an Amen), and used a spray deodorant ( side eye- quick way to get an irritant dermatitis where you DO NOT want irritant dermatitis). When she got to the physician and disrobed he commented “festive” upon seeing her vagina… When she got home she realized that she accidentally used glitter hairspray instead of the spray deodorant… Yep, marinate on that a minute- I’m BAAAAACK (say it like the drunk in Independence Day when he saved the world by giving it up the ass to the aliens)

I’m sorry I Left You Without a Dope Beat to Step To

But getting to the point of this post: Lessons I am learning from the pole: here is lesson number 1: OWN YOUR VAGINA. I am currently drinking red wine out of a plastic stemless wineglass that is halloween-themed with frosted skull and bones. I bought these originally planning on sending them along with a care package that included candy, lotion, tums, and other haloweeen-themed goodness to my ex-boyfriend. FYI I’m the one with the halloween birthday. Buying presents for your boyfriend on your birthday is NOT an example of owning your vagina. However, drinking out of a skull and bones plastic cup like a classy BIYATCH is.

I don’t expect this to be a lesson anyone picks up immediately. I mean, I am finally at the point where I can order pad kee mow without chomping my way bitterly through it!

Shout out to eat 24 and Santa Barbara Winery for my late night ramblings this time around. And my mother, and my sister- who told me to write again. It feels like stretching a muscle I have not used in years. Like the first time in the diet you are forcing down salad with no dressing, like yoga after a long blissful break where you are only happy you paid for the overpriced classes because you got some comfy overpriced fatty pants out of it. I feel like that moment where your instructor is telling you to be glad you have taken this moment out for yourself and all I can think is I CANNOT TOUCH MY TOES!!!! I think this is why I have moved on o pole dancing instead. I can have a ‘Fuck it all day’ and still be sexy, I can cry my way through the warm up and still be comforted, I can wear every piece of clothing in my wardrobe that is too small/tight/glittery/loud for public consumption but makes me feel yummy.

Tuesday in pole my teacher randomly ( or randomly to me because I was not paying attention to what happened before this) yelled “OWN that BIKINI WAX!” to a fellow student. At which point I began a serious discussion with a neighbor whether or not the girl had actually just gotten a new wax or was my teacher referencing the fact that pole sits feel a lot like bikini waxes. I started thinking then- and now- about whether or not it is time for me to revisit that particular brand of torture myself while pouring my wine. I have officially not gotten a wax in YEARS – ok maybe like one year but still. That is the longest it has been in my adult life. But since I was the only one admiring my own hoo ha I figured why don’t we just save some money and pain and keep it moving! So the decision on whether or not to wax started me thinking about whether or not I was ready to start dating again. At which point the lessons of pole dancing came back in my face– Do It When you Want to Do it, If you Want to do it, For No Other Reason Than Becuase You Want to Do It- which I abbreviated to OWN YOUR VAGINA.

I have always been the one to pay for my own waxing. I paid for the actually process, the pain during the waxing and the pain in the stinging showers later with still open pores. I’ve pretended to enjoy sex the same day when all I could think was HURRY UP before i get contact dermatitis!!! and Praise the Lord and All the Angels for Hydrocortisone cream and cool fans. I distinctly remember asking one of the before people ( I have got to come up with some sort of all-encompassing term for ex boyfriends- I’m getting to the point where saying ex,ex,ex,ex…just starts to sound trashy) which kind of wax he would prefer ” landing strip, heart-shaped, triangle, nothing at all” whilst praying for the landing strip because ladies let’s be honest- that last bit hurts the worst!!!! And clearly landing strip was invented by some awesome lazy, self-loving, and enterprising woman who thought- ” how about I just not do the part that hurts?” But looking back on that moment now all I can think is WTF?!!! You asked HIM how to wax YOUR VAGINA!!! ugh- this is why women have the sexual revolution at 30. I’m not quite there yet but it is about to be EPIC. Seriously, asking you boyfriend how to groom your vagina while you pay for it is an essay waiting to happen.

Let’s be real, it’s a pretty accurate example of how to properly rip the hair out of your vajayjay.

I also felt like I should not bother with the waxing bc my tummy is currently exploring her boundaries and I have been secreting her away from the world- which includes the world of aestheticians. But how Cray cray does that sound? I’m ok with them seeing my vagina but not my tummy?! Like there is literally a moment in all brazilian waxes where they are going for the a-hole and you either have to tuck in your knees laying on your back or hold up one cheek while laying to the side and I AM WORRIED ABOUT MY STOMACH?! So to conclude…I am going to wait on the brazilian- because it hurts, and because I did not budget for it this month. But when I get to the point where I feel like it I am going to OWN THAT- for no other reason than because I want to.  lessons from pole dancing #1 OWN YOURS

ps. This also applies for penile grooming- I have been told setting #4 on the trimmers will do the trick.

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Salvation- GroupMe Style

I am currently sitting at a desk in the hospital writing. I’m supposed to be at some meeting or another but I had to take some time to save myself. Or more accurately- write a bit about how my girls and my God are currently saving me. I think that the biggest lesson in “saving yourself” is that you can’t. All that foolishness about “getting myself together”- it is impossible. I have never in my life (admittedly only 27yrs strong) “gotten myself together”. F the frikin bootstraps! I’m pulling myself up- and being pulled up and together by spirits, and hands, and ancestors, and all sorts of laughter, and shared tears. Among the lessons (re)learned today- was taking time to save yourself. And as such…I’m writing in the middle of the day.

Oddly enough- the ease of the sister-pull up/together was facilitated first by facebook and now by group me. And while I could and will go into the beauty and trappings of using technology to facilitate interpersonal relationships that will be saved for another discussion. This one instead, is about salvation- and its many forms.

blackwomenprayer

My God- routinely, saves me. And this is something I probably take for granted. That’s the trouble with unconditional love- you don’t see on it, it’s always there. You can mess it up and take it back and trip all over it and still- it comes searching for you on happy days to give you a high five, and on bad days to bring you back to the happy ones. Still, this kind of unseen love- this voice that I can’ put a finger on and know- sometimes doesn’t seem to get my jokes. Jesus and I have a lot of “why did I share?” moments. You know, when you are retelling something to someone and you are all excited about it and they just kind of look at you- or worse, chuckle appreciatively, or say lol as a conversation filler when they aren’t really laughing…- those are “why did I share moments” You never hear about Jesus making jokes. Seems like Jesus didn’t grapple with his sexuality, or kinks, or geekiness, or desire to use the f-bomb. Jesus didn’t worry about whether he looked sexy in his tunic and sandals- or if he did he didn’t talk about it in public so I’m missing the example I’m supposed to follow. Jesus didn’t worry about having kids by 30 bc he knew he was dying at 33…didn’t save for retirement. I’m pretty sure Jesus was a socialist and I’m just too greedy for that shyt ( hope Jesus isn’t mad I said that just then). And so while that salvation is real, and is the most important- its intangibility and distance makes it hard to see and feel and love on a daily basis.

Frida Kahlo

The salvation I am talking about therefore- is the one that sounds a little more like this:

” I hate the nuance and blatant perversions of privilege and savior complexes”

” Wait! I can cook! I have wide thighs! I should have gone to an HBC- I want a redo”

” I wore the panties that are like shorts today because I rode my bike to school. Turns out that was a terrible idea. Not only are my shorts riding up my cheeks, but I have twice as much fabric as normal…fml”

“I have too much too much pride and too little commitment for a personal trainer”

” status post workout: I’m out here in LA lookin like Beloved with a lazy eye”

” Are we posting pre and post workout pics? Like I said before my exercise is sex these days…It’ll just be hella photos of me cheesin hella hard”

This is the type of salvation that keeps you from falling off the edge. These women…There are only so many colored girls who were natural before natural was cool. Only so many who will go camping with you, go thrift store raiding with you, and then spend all your saved money on makeup/shoes/ music albums you can’t afford. And perhaps this isn’t what you need to survive. I need someone to yell at the TV with me about how the promotion of the dichotomy of the strong (physically) dominant, unyielding Black man and the submissive, churchgoing, naive, skinny, light skinned black woman is literally killing us (Damn Tyler Perry!). I need someone who will let me love Jesus and sex at the same time ( and find a way to work through that almost polarizing issue given the fact that we are no longer getting married at 15). I need someone who will love Africa and all of her peoples ( including the Jews) but who knows that they have no desire to go move back to Ghana and rough it out against the mosquitoes. I need girls who read, and write, and fall down, and pull me back up daily.

balckwomanart

For your salvation- for yourself- I encourage you to find yours. Find the people with no “why did I share moments”

My real life…in Quote form

Because so many people don’t seem to understand the support and love and hilarity that surrounds my life. I give you these jewels:

Quotes from my girls:

Gurl I haven’t done laundry in so long that I went to work Commando today!. I had to go to target during lunch time to get some panties!

I’m shoving my Nuva Ring in TONIGHT! No! I gave this shyt 3 days! I’m done with this. – that last part was said so calmly and with the sweetest southern accent you’ve ever heard

Me: Girl that Chick in Twerk Team, I had to let my ex-boyfriend know about them. I was NOT HATIN!

Her response: Girl you know she is talented! She needs to be on the Olympics! (this conversation was had while watching Olympic diving)

I was expecting this to taste like Napoleon…I mean neopolitan

Me: Girl God Bless Ryan Bailey’s ( Insert your man of choice here) Parents! her response: When I tell you Jesus is REAL!

The best thing about driving in LA is when you do something ignorant you just put on ignorant music and stare at people. Because there are so many gangs no one knows who is affiliated so I just do the Angry Black Woman stare and they let you through.

You know my secret fantasy is to have a shotgun and shoot out people’s tires when they do something wrong so they have to be a sitting duck and think about what they just did.

You know it’s bad when…: you wake up in the morning…still 20lbs heavier than you thought u would be this time this year- and you’re mostly just grateful the scale isn’t going the other way….and you still eat a biscuit for breakfast. JULIE can I borrow your self control for a minute

and another: ummmm…the moment when you realize your butt looks kinda cute in your scrubs…and 20 minutes later you realize…HOLD UP!!! Why are my scrubs cuffing my butt???

old ladies

Reminder: your girlfriends will probably outlive your husband. So find good ones

Diets Cause Writer’s Block

I haven’t really felt like writing. My thoughts seem to be running back and forth between the extremes of “God I hate diets” to “Praises for the bestest friends and family ever” and all of the highs and lows in between. Intern year is right at that point where you are simultaneously beginning to think you know what you are doing…and then being proven wrong- daily. The weight loss plan has moved from the easy and fast start to the laborious and slow plateaus. My attempts at drawing nearer to God is right at the point of the serious PRESS. It’s like the moment during the bench press where you are all at once thanking everyone for your spotter, who is doing most of the lifting at this point. The trouble is…I’m having a bit of trouble with that thankfulness part. I am not good with the SLOW BUT STEADY…anything.

Perhaps that is the point of these “in between” times; the grey zone- to remind me that clarity comes from within. This will, in all likelihood, not be the only time in my life where I am broke, tired, hungry, bored, and alternatively grateful, excited, and expectant all at the same time.  It will not be the last time I seem to want to write about all the things that I should hold inside for just a little bit longer, and cant find anything else that even makes me want to pick up a pen. And so- in the honesty that you have come to love about me…now that I’ve spouted all I can about the silver lining- a quick rant.

Yesterday I ate:

a protein shake with two bananas and some sort of skinny latte

a kale/pear/havarti cheese salad and lentil soup

fruit salad, tuna and regular house salad,

total cereal and greek yogurt,

and some broccoli/mustard green/pear/carrot juice mixed with flax seed and plain greek yogurt

– and I about STARVED

photo-29

and so, after getting off work- I was a bit cranky during my studying for step 3. I had some trouble forcing my way through my workout Jillian Michaels is an evil beast). It hurt watching my cousin walk away from American Idol (more me than her).  And I managed to trick myself into believing I wasn’t irritated at my man for the combo of ” hey what r u wearing” attitude and “I promise I can pay attention to you while watching the Celtics/Lakers game” lies (I swear I am an old soul. My generation’s complete comfort with the lack of communication in texting is probably NOT coincedent with our inability to maintain faithful relationships unless we are quite literally wrapped around one another) .

In light of the aforementioned crankiness- I turned to my brief slice of sanity these days: a combination of Charles Stanley and The Biggest Loser– and went to bed at 9pm.

This morning- I’m already 1 protein shake, 1 banana, and 2 boiled egg whites into the day. Here’s to hoping that this moment of clarity will last. Am Haiku:

Clarity will last

For just as long as you do

Just outside my grasp

 

I am learning trust

In small doses: diets still suck

Humility reigns

“If you say real talk I probably won’t trust you” – Andre

The next line in that song, I have thought for the past like 8yrs was ” If you wanna go to water-guns my pleasure…Even Jesus had 12 disciples on the level, trigger, whatever”…apparently it doesn’t really go like that. But I like my version better.

Which gets me to the point of my blog rather quickly tonight … my version. It’s amazing how much people throw out the word “real” or “truth” or “honesty” these days. And equally amazing how unfortunately skeptical most are once they hear anything even resembling those terms coming out of a man’s mouth. I’m sure there are those (wo)men who are skeptical hearing it out of women’s mouths as well but I can’t speak for other demographics I do not represent…or the whole of my demographic either, as it were. All I can speak for is myself. And unfortunately, over the past 2 yrs or so…I have determined that “If you say real talk I probably”….will be at least a bit more critical of whatever you have to say next. It’s like saying “No offense but…”, it pretty much warns the audience to listen up to whatever is next going to be said.

I find that I am particularly mistrustful of the aforementioned phrase because of 1) My Diary Of a Black Girl and 2) my namesake. My name, Aminah- means “Honest, and Faithful”. And I think my mother did that ish on purpose- so I would feel some type of way any time I attempted to lie about anything. I can’t even be properly deceitful! Which has resulted, over my entire life…in some unfortunate episodes.

I am the type of person for example, to tell my senior physician, at 3am in the morning       “I really don’t understand why we are admitting this patient and I’m irritated that they woke me up for this instead of going to see their primary care doctor and I DO NOT see the indication for an inpatient rectal exam.”

I am the type of person who will tell you, honestly, when that pair of jeans is giving you the dreaded “muffin top”.

I will tell you when you are hurting me, and why, and that does not necessarily translate into knowing what to do to make me feel better about it.

I will tell you my truths…and then I will sit up all night wondering whether or not you can handle them. Because the last time I heard “real talk” I probably shouldn’t have trusted.

This is just me breaking out of my self-imposed censoring bubble once again…or beginning to.

For the poem I needed to hear this week:

From my sis: Haiku for you

I’ll always love you
its time you loved yourself more
your peace is worth it

Allahu Akbar – for all my girls hell-bent on Mothering

Today I watched a father sing prayers into the ears of his new baby girl ” Allahu Akbar..” All day I had followed the progression of their labor, and while the ending of this story is a happy song, it did not start out as such.

The day started out as days typically have for me these past three years: struggling to wake up. I stumbled my way into hospital scrubs and an ex-ex-ex boyfriend’s comfy sweatshirt. I rushed to work and said my morning prayers in my car after quickly scanning through my daily bible verse on my iPhone.

I felt a bit guilty about that, especially because then I proceeded to get a good stern talking-to from the radio preacher the Black R and B station plays on sunday mornings when only God and hospitals are awake. Apparently a spiritual life that is not worked on very hard, day and night, with all of your everything is one that God requires more of. “Well God needs to give me some more sleep/coffee/hours in my day” I thought to myself…and proceeded to change the station to country music because even I can’t listen to whoever the heck they are playing on hip-hop stations these days on the Sabbath.

        It took a while for me to finish that sentence because I really wanted to insert an Artist’s name in there but I couldn’t think of an artist that I can listen to on normal days either…Come on- Trinidad James? 2-chains? I’m getting old.

Either way as luck would have it my patient had left Against Medial Advice last night so I had time for the hallowed brew that is coffee when I got in that morning. And so fortified, I was prepared for the large-print sign outside a new patient’s door that said No Male Providers. As a female, you might wonder why this would provoke an almost sphincter-like reflex in me–but patient’s dictating their own care is rarely something I look forward to- especially in Obstetrics. And I know that’s not very Leftist, autonomy- ethics, new world blah blah of me but there it is. If you want to come in with all types of instructions of how I need to do my job…and you haven’t taken a biology class since it was called “Science 10”- I am of the mindset that you can stay at home and put in your own IVs as well. Add that to the fact that this was a midwife patient and I had halfway convinced myself that I’d be helping along a water-birth delivery trying not to look as grossed out as I felt the whole time.

As it turned out, the family was Muslim and deeply religious. After introducing myself and cashing in on my Arabic Name I did a quick Jesus shout out for small miracles. Throughout the day I returned for cervical exams, to check in with the midwife, to meet the whole family- who were all exitedly buzzing in and out of the room and to stand in respect and in awe as her mother, her husband, her sister, and her in-laws took turns praying in the direction of Mecca on prayer mats in the room.

The delivery itself was not hugely exciting, for me at least. Everyone around us was so happy and clapping and squealing and had the whole cheerleading squad thing going on. I think we forget that, this exciting moment of new life- just as easily as we forget the pain of old death after being here for so long. And so I am especially grateful for families like these that bless me with the reminder. Momma pushed well, breathed well. Daddy held hands and legs well, cut the cord well. He counted to ten for all he was worth. And wiped her brow, and made sure we cleaned her, and asked questions, and more questions, and more questions. He was truly present. After the delivery, the midwife took pictures of him cutting the cord with my gloves strategically placed over body parts. He then asked for some quiet time please to whisper something in his daughter’s ear. And he sang.

Amidst a flurry of thank you’s afterward and more pictures I felt the need, which is becoming exceedingly rare, to say thank you in return. It was, it is, an honor.

Moments like these remind me, when I’m running on nothing but calories, caffeine, and cortisol; when I’m screaming at God and anyone else near enough or strong enough to take it, why I am meant to be exactly where I am. Help me Lord to be still.

Allahu Akbar 

Reaching for the Toilet

Today was one of those days where I’m staring at the bottle of Crown on my coffee table as an inspiration to get through this week. I knew this would come, at some point. An older student pointed out in medical school that her greatest fear was the day she would snap at a patient- and hoped to avoid this by remembering to be grateful. But is is hard to be grateful when you start adding up the hours, and the pounds, and the dollars, that you are sacrificing and someone has the nerve to be ungrateful that your life-saving intervention wasn’t good enough for them. I managed to avoid the snapping, but probably only my remembering said inspiration for getting me through this week. Still, tonight turned out not to be about ranting. but about a funny story that resulted from all the venting. The ranting therefore, which I would normally expound upon- I present in bullet point fashion for your reading ease.

Things that make me swing to the Right these days

1) being furreal broke and debating on turning republican because the next fool who tries to holler at me when my taxes are paying for the clothes/home/car he can’t afford may be going down

2) my skin looking like attack of the droids ( or whatever, I don’t really remember the names of the Star Wars movies)

3) being tired all the damn time

4) saying F-it to all of this ecetera still hanging around on my waistline and

5) having no time/inspiration to write

Rant over, my mother then has the nerve to ask me

“So have you been drinking enough water?”- I think this is in reference to my comment about my skin needing to take the Retin-A plunge but I don’t quite remember as a red haze obscured my vision and my rant went on…as follows

” Do you know how hard it is to drink water in the hospital?” I started, ” There are like- no bathrooms for doctors in the hospital. They have ones on each station for nurses but you have to first find them and then awkwardly use the bathroom because everyone looks at you funny when you try and use the restroom like we are supposedly too clean to ever have to pee. And then you can’t like, go into a patient’s room and excuse yourself from teaching rounds for a minute to use theirs because that’s just not professional. And so when you finally break down and go pee after having downed the entire county’s supply of coffee and forced some water in there so you won’t be the worst doctor/hypocrite ever you find yourself running down to the resident lounge to pee which is so far away from all the work you have to do. And if there is a resident alive who hasn’t answered their pager/ascom/phone to a nurse/patient/attending- while trying to balance the phone on their ear and pee and strategically use the mute button with their chin I am calling them a liar. Right now. Yes I said it. So to avoid all of that, and/or the use of Depends- I just drink less water.”

My mother responded

“Well they have moved my office to an old elementary school. And my office is where the classrooms used to be but they have not retrofitted the bathrooms.” At this point she paused for effect. Wait. Let the implications of that sink in women. “So there are still these bathroom stalls made for little girls despite the fact that now only big girls work there. And so you have to be really careful to aim properly and make sure you squat down deep enough despite your advancing years otherwise you will end up not only urinating on your clothes, but falling. And then you’re on the bathroom floor in an elementary school after having urinated on yourself and that’s just embarrassing.”

…and because I’m all sensitive and PC and can realize she is empathizing with my story like that, at this point I’m howling with laughter. She continued.

“Well I’m glad I could provide you with some amusement but it’s really not funny. You know I’m trying to do all of this with 1 and a half knees so I have to limp and twitch my way down the stairs before kicking my bad leg out and trying to balance on the one good one left. It’s really all about the timing. And I still drink my water. So remember that when you minimize my disability as not a real chronic illness, remember that when you justify not having to drink enough water. And remember that when you need some creative inspiration to write tonight.” My mother is a habitual line stepper…Gotta love it. Dad gave me the title for the post.

like I said- it’s all about remembering to be grateful.