My body used to be a strange thing. It’s a fragile yet a sacred monument full of myth, which I found out later is not the truth. In some cases the myth serve as the extention of patriarchy, another strange word in my ear. I was introduced to term patriarchal and patriarchy in my sociology class in high school. I was very happy to find the name to point at the reality I experience. But it was only one part. I was looking for another name to provide me with words to explain my experience.
I must say that I didn’t born into my body. I learn to find it. I search the truth about it. I knew my body from what people say and what boys and men think and do to me. The female body that I knew was problematic and the source of harassment. I used to think that my body attract bad intention and ignite men’s libido. I didn’t question the bad intention and men’s libido because most people will only question female body and desire. So I follow the mainstream way of knowing.
I know I have breasts, vagina, anus, and ovum. But they’re meant nothing to me except agony. Each month my stomach will cramp from menstruation. If I complain, everyone including my mother will say that it is normal and it was a training for more pain in childbirth. Poor me! I can’t think any moment when I felt grateful of my female body.
When my breasts are young, there was a boy who mischievously like to touch them. I was angry at the boy but mostly to my own breasts. Because it wouldn’t happen if I don’t have breasts. At one point I questioned God intention of creating female in this world. Either God is ignorant or thing have gone out of his/her control.
I was 11 year-old when I got menstruation and no one told me about sex, pregnancy, risk, etc. They’re just calling it “coming of age”. Very sweet but it didn’t tell me anything. It took 6 years when I finally have one conscious woman teacher to tell straight in front of class on how a woman can get pregnant. My friends were laughing. I was not. I was angry.
How come I don’t know about this? Why is it kept like a secret? What are other knowledge that I don’t know about my body? Am I too ignorant? I can’t forget that moment. I still remember when she drew sperm cells and eggs in blackboard. I remember when she said the word penis and vagina. That was my true coming of age.
It’s not easy to know your body when people around you used to answer “that how it is” to avoid further questions, evenelse critical thinking. Having born with sexuality doesn’t mean I understand it very well. Especially if people around you don’t know about it and consider it unimportant. Books, internet pages, and finally an institution that support critical questions were much needed haven. JASS, among other institutions, is one of those haven. I remember when I met Anne and Eva in 2008, I was wondering of their confidence wearing their bodies. I observed and learned from them but I keep it to myself.
I began to make peace with my body. It was great to build an attachment to my body. I like the sensation of my breasts, my curve, my vagina, my thighs, everything. I feel comfortable and please to have them. It’s not a strange flesh anymore. It’s me.