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A few months ago I decided that I wanted to send in a photo of my vulva and become a model for Vulvalovelovely. I did, and it was one of the more monumental things I’ve done in my life.
Shortly after I did so, I started making some other life changes-such as purchasing my first bicycle in years.
However, in a few short months, I feel the need to share more of my story-because it’s made some changes.
My first experience with my vulva was being sexually abused when I was 4 years old. I had no idea what was going on, and I didn’t understand why it was happening. All I know was that I knew it wasn’t right.
My second experience was with my first ex, who I lost my virginity to; a gift that he didn’t deserve, and I was too insecure. I enjoyed the attention, but ultimately turned into a tool for him to get what he wanted, when he wanted. I wasn’t worshipped, I was used.
My second ex also used me for sex, or so I was told from a third party. My soul just wanted someone to love, and love me back. All I seemed to be getting were toads instead of princes. Lessons learned, and I for once, stood up for myself.

Eventually I met my husband, who turned my outlook on life up. I was 18 and he was 23-I graduated high school and eventually moved in with him. I wish I could say that my life stayed wonderful.
I had positive experiences with him, but what I wasn’t ready to share were the negatives. He is a person who gets into deep depression; and with depression I found that I was replaced by porn and adult chat sites. I was young and in love, only to be scolded for wanting sex “too much.” During those months, I was hardly touched. Then I found photos on the computer from a woman who he had chatted with earlier in the day-yeah, that hurt. I pushed on, and I kept going, and I figured things would eventually change.

Eventually I experienced my first orgasm (first with myself and a vibrator, then eventually, with my husband.) I felt like a woman!
Then more depression on his end, and porn; the lack of understanding on his part to see what it was doing to me and my confidence. (Porn is a common thing among men, but for me-it was replacing our intimate relationship with something tangible and fake. That’s why I had such a problem with it.)
Another bought of severe depression, porn, and dating site charges on his credit card statement almost crushed me. Why did I stay? I can’t say. I just so desperately wanted to believe him…I had spent (at that time) about 5 years with him…that was a long time for me…and I wasn’t a quitter.
A couple years ago I woke up feeling so uncomfortable and painful-I felt like my lower half was on fire. My gut reaction-“herpes”…I said. I felt so ashamed. I went to the doctor, who tried to tell me it likely wasn’t herpes. A few days later I got a call while my mum was visiting me “You have herpes”….my heart stopped. Where the HECK did this come from?!?! I’m not sure I’ll ever know.

It took me awhile to get over my reaction, my shame, and my fear that I would be unlovable. What the hell would I do if I were not married to my husband? Who would want to be with me? Who would love me? Then I just shrugged my shoulders and told myself to “get over it.” Herpes is something that many people have, and it is what it is. It doesn’t define who I am as a person. I also had to go onto anti-depressants for awhile….just so I could grasp life and keep on keeping on. The doctor told me that it was likely more based on my husband’s depression-not necessarily my own. Eventually I got back in control of myself, and have since been off of anti-depressants.
I made some life changes over the course of 2012, and then that brought on more life changes. Consisting of a new bike, new friends, and then ultimately having that same gut-pulling feeling in my soul that said “enough is enough.”
I made the most tough decision I have ever had to make in my life, and that was to tell my husband that it just wasn’t working anymore. We filed for no-fault divorce at the end of August. A decision that was a long time coming, and one that he always put on my shoulders; no more “if you’re so unhappy, why don’t you divorce me” conversations.
Thankfully it wasn’t a drama-filled process. Initially I know I shocked him, but after that was able to be processed he realized that if we really were going to stay friends (or at least, amicable human beings) he had to act differently. I finally had the strength to do what I should’ve done (but couldn’t) almost 5 years ago.

I’m starting over, all before my 28th birthday. I’m scared shitless, but also excited and hopeful for the future. I’ve never lived on my own for any period of time, and I can finally rid myself of the cloak of pornography that has been covering my spirit for so long.
My spirit can finally breathe.
And it’s all because I started with some life changes; started accepting myself.
Who knew that showing the world my vulva would give me the courage to be myself? Stop settling for a relationship that wasn’t fulfilling any of our needs. To have the strength to cut the chords and do what needed to be done so the both of us could thrive instead of survive.

So my journey continues, my vulva and I are now free. Free to live without so much doubt, my spirit is less stifled, and no more eggshells to walk on. Free to be me, and to be loved for who I really am-not what I couldn’t be.

 

-Jo imagesh