The Vagina Brigade


In the past month, I’ve learned to appreciate people with vaginas just that little bit more.

And it’s not because someone’s had a baby or (more likely in my age group) a hysterectomy. It’s because during the past few weeks, a number of people with vaginas have held me up when I very momentarily felt like falling down.

To be fair, there were also a few men, who clearly don’t have vaginas of their own, who did the same so I think I will make them honorary members of my Vagina Brigade (VB) whether they want to be or not.

Now before you start to get a little squiffy at all this talk of vaginas, it’s worth remembering that the name of this blog is OMV, which stands for Oh My Vagina. The thing is, over recent years, I haven’t talked much about my vagina due to it, well, not receiving enough action worthy of writing about at all.

I’m not too sure that situation is likely to improve overly much in the future, but what has come to pass is a renewed appreciation for the women (and the honorary women) in my life. You see, recently, when I needed them they were there.

There were repeat phone calls, boozy Wednesday nights (and Friday and Tuesday nights for that matter), lunches, text messages, dinners, movies and maybe a little more wine. They listened as I tried to make sense of a situation, which I’ll probably never understand, but one I now accept played out exactly as it was destined too if only I’d allowed myself to see the truth right there in front of me.

They offered advice but no judgment and they reminded me of my smile, my hope, and my courage. Just as they have done during these long years of mum’s battle with Alzheimer’s.

And then as soon as I turned the corner back towards real life, and objective thinking, it was my turn to be there for them. Within mere moments it seemed, one of my VBs lost someone in tragic circumstances and another said goodbye to a beloved pet who had been by her side for some 16 years. In fact, she painfully joked, it had been the longest relationship of her life.

There’s a saying that I like, which is: “Real isn’t who’s with you at your celebration. Real is who’s standing next to you at rock bottom” and the past few weeks have reinforced this truism to me.

When the shit hits the fan and you reach out for help – or better yet your VB instinctively knows you need them – those are the people who are your tribe, either through blood, friendships old and new, and regardless of whether they were born with a vagina or not.

The past few years have sure been tricky for me and so many people in my life – maybe it’s just being in our 40s and we’re not even halfway through that decade yet. But with every upheaval, we’ve stood side by side throughout it all and somehow found our way back to the light again. Indeed, the Maori phrase “Kia Kaha”, which means stay strong, is one that my Vagina Brigade has lived and breathed together. And I know that’s the way we will always be. How awesome is that?

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