This past Friday, August 22 2014, I did something that was very scary:
I came out of the pelvic pain closet - on Facebook.
Some of you may not think that is such a big deal, seeing as I write a blog about pelvic pain for the whole world to see. But I dragged my feet about writing anything about it on Facebook. Somehow, writing about pelvic pain for strangers is easier than telling the vast circle of family, friends, acquaintances, and random people I took a workshop with once.
I started using Facebook back when it was only for college students. It was a place to share a lot of things, a club whose select few members you handpicked. Then it opened to the rest of the population, and suddenly another generation - parents - joined the fray. Facebook went from being an extension of campus life to something that you edited, whether the content, the friends list, or both. Personally, I have given up on trying to keep Facebook the tight circle of real-life friends it once was, and have shifted to accepting requests I once would have balked at: people I haven't seen since the third grade, and yes, random people I took a workshop with once.
My list of Facebook friends is therefore an amorphous field comprised of people who see me in so many different ways. Most of them only know me in one context. They have known me since birth, as their niece, someone who will forever be younger and of another generation; they know me as the hazy memory of the girl they sat next to in the third grade; or maybe they know me as my body's movement, as a fellow yogi or dancer. Choosing one way to deliver intimate information across a past with so many pathways to human connection was a daunting task.
Coming out on Facebook doesn't only affect my digital life. Many of my Facebook friends are people who I will actually have to face in real life at some point, perhaps regularly at family get-togethers, or unexpectedly, in line at the grocery store. Whether at work, in a networking group, or across the Thanksgiving table, I am now the Pelvic Pain Lady, the story of my lady bits having been officially ushered into the realm of acceptable, indeed encouraged, topics of conversation.
In the end for my Facebook post I chose video. I was honest, and direct, and to the point, reminding myself that by showing our vulnerabilities we can help others heal. Yes, there is a slice of me that is completely mortified that my private parts are no longer private. But there is also a part of me that is proud I am instigating the change I wish to see in the world.
So. I did it.
...Now my mom is asking when I will do an email blast.