Holy cow! We did it!
I have been writing the YatraYoni blog for one whole year!!! - and then some. My first post was July 24th, 2014.
What a roller coaster.
I've done sooooo much. I went to a blogging conference, and the International Pelvic Pain Society 2014 Annual Fall Meeting. I joined a nascent network of SF Bay Area health professionals who want to provide integrative care for their pelvic pain patients. I started a MeetUp group for pelvic pain yoga classes. I got an awesome accountability buddy. I have done yoga trainings on holistic ayurvedic post-partum care, restorative yoga, yoga and trauma, and in a couple of days I am doing a five day training on yoga and the pelvic floor with Leslie Howard. I won a scholarship to Marie Forleo's B-School. I applied for a sex educator training that will take place next spring. Frustrated with the lack of clear and understandable language to describe what I write about, I even coined new phrases: the straightforward term "v pain" and it's sister "v health."
Along the way I have met and "met" via phone so many awesome women: Sarah Kennedy (sexuality coach serving women with pelvic pain and low libido,) Professor Devavani Chatterjea (researches the link between immunology and vulvodynia,) Melissa Jones (Mormon sexologist, sex coach, and progressive sex toy store owner,) Tianna Meritage-Reiter (pelvic PT and yoga teacher,) and Sarah Mueller (lube maven and progressive sex toy store employee - look for her interview in the coming weeks!) I have also found other awesome v pain bloggers, like Danielle Lavieri at daniellelavieri.com, Sarah4Hope at whensexhurtsthereishope.com, and Jackie at thatsexualhealing.wordpress.com.
The past year has been a learning tornado. In the process of looking for things to help other women, I have found so many things to help myself: practices like Womb Yoga with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli and The Art of Feminine Presence, products like Commandos, Dear Kate's, & Thinx, and newly on my horizons is hormonal education via Alissa Vitti's WomanCode and floliving.com.
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I remember how I felt about all of this last May and June. The nugget of an idea for a website was there, but I was reluctant to pursue it. In the months between the ten year anniversary of the start of my symptoms and the ten year anniversary of my diagnosis, I wanted so much for other women to not go what I have gone through, and yet was still deeply hesitant and scared about opening up and coming out of the v pain closet, held in by the fear of being perceived by others as "broken" or "less than."
But I ripped off the Band-Aid and did it anyway. And again, and again, and again. It is still not easy telling people about this website, but I do, and am reminded over and over why it is needed: people I just met are telling me "What's the name of that site again? My mom is having problems down there," or "I didn't know you knew about that - my younger sister is dealing with painful sex and is really having a hard time," or "I am dealing with this but live in Virginia - can you help me?"
So I hand out my contact info and business cards and scribble down notes - books someone should read, the name of a doctor or PT in their area, whatever I think will help guide them along their journey. Usually I never hear back about whether someone found help, but I keep passing on information, knowing that just because there is silence doesn't mean nothing is happening.
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I am so grateful to all of you who read and subscribe to this blog. You have been the kick in the pants that keeps me going, and knowing that I have to get my post done has propelled me along this learning journey at a speed much faster than I thought possible.
You will notice in the coming weeks changes on this site. All of this learning has made me realize that it is time to say goodbye to the name "YatraYoni" - beautiful though she may be, she is confusing to people, making v health seem difficult and strange rather than accessible and approachable. I love her and will hold her dear - I'm sure she will pop up elsewhere in my work in the future.
A new domain name means a new Facebook page, etc. I am cleaning up house, ditching things that haven't been so helpful over the past year, punching away at the things that are working, and putting plans in motion for new projects.
It has been lovely to take this time to reflect on how far I have come. There have been so many times over the past year that I have wanted to give up, throw in the towel, get a new hobby! Celebrating the positive and the progress is giving me fuel for the next year.
Thank you for your presence and your bravery.
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PS Did this post get your brain gears crankin'?
Feel free to start a conversation below (it's okay, you can be anonymous)!