Summer of Feminista: Crossing to the other side

My name is Kaluz and I am an expert on women’s health and nutrition because I’ve read many books on the topic and I like reading and writing about it.

I decided to write a post about women who suffer vulvodynia, like me. Maybe you haven’t heard about it either, but more women than you imagine suffer it silently, and many of them without even knowing. What has this to do with embracing the role of public intellectuals? As Veronica said in her call for posts, women voices rarely make it to op-ed pages, and not only women voices are neglected but also women’s specific concerns. Intellectuals should talk about women’s health too. I was surprised to find out that few gynecologists know how to treat women suffering vulvodynia. Apparently it’s such a mysterious thing. On the other hand, finding your voice and talking about vulvar pain is not that easy either.

I’ve been actively trying different treatments, reading to learn more about chronic vulvar pain, and I now talk to my mom about it. We both realized that more information earlier on would have been helpful, but also an environment that celebrates women’s body and encourages sexuality, that invites you to explore your body and love it….When I was diagnosed with vulvodynia, started physical therapy, and started looking down there, I couldn’t tell if my vulva was irritated or not, because I had never observed it when I was healthy. I even felt weird calling my thingy ‘vulva.’

It has been a difficult rite of passage for me. I want to embrace the role of Latina public intellectual by letting my voice be heard and talking about an issue that has been neglected and misunderstood. I want that the path I’ve walked empower other women, especially those with few resources and those having troubles finding information. This post is my first step towards connecting with other Latinas and women of color navigating this difficult ailment. I want to be a bridge to help other Latinas cross to the other side, a place free of pain and full of hope.

Kaluz is proudly Mexican and calls the United States home. Besides being a full-time feminist at work and school, she writes a food blog in English and Spanish where she experiments with healthy ingredients to move towards a healthier life.

Summer of Feminista 2011 is a project where Latinas are sharing their thoughts on Latinas as Public Intellectuals. Liberal. Conservative. Academic statements. Personal stories. Learn more or how you can join the Summer of Feminista. This is a project of Viva la Feminista. Link and quote, but do not repost without written permission.