The DIVA CUP Diaries

So there I was, squatting over the hand-held mirror, that I usually use to see the back of my head when I do my hair, sweating, trying to figure out how the hell this damn thing works. It can't be this complicated, I angrily mumble to myself. I'm familiar with these parts, I reassure myself, as I'm huddled in a crouching-tiger, hidden-vagina pose, with a silicone cup in one hand and a book of directions in the other. "Take a comfortable position: standing, sitting on the toilet, or squatting. Relax your vagina muscles. Insert the Diva Cup, aiming it horizontally towards your tailbone. Grip the base of the cup and rotate until you hear a suction sound..."  #LikeImADamnPlunger

I can't deal with this right now. I hear my phone chime from the other room. I know it's my best friend, checking in to see if I was able to figure it out. I open the bathroom drawer and unwrap a trusty Tampax tampon, do the thing, wash my hands and text her back: I had to take a break. But I'm gonna try again tonight after Yoga and a shot of vodka.

G-d dammit am I the only independent, self-sufficient, menstruating modern women who cannot figure out how to use the Diva Cup?!

Here's the thing, I love my period. As long as I'm not in India or staying at a friend's house or doing Yoga or required to talk to anyone or eat at a buffet or horny or doing anything remotely physical, I really don't mind menstruating. The only time I didn't enjoy my cycle was when I was eleven, twelve, thirteen and fourteen; the years of the pad. Wings or no wings, I'd always come home with ruined underwear, stained Board Shorts/Skorts and soiled dignity. In high school, when I switched to tampons, and no longer needed to wear a diaper (with wings), life seemed better and I felt more grown up...if by grown up that meant that I'd be allowed to carry a purse full of tampons and sprint to the bathroom every 45 minutes on days 2 & 3 of my period, during school.

In any case, as a twenty-nine year old grown-ass women, I've considered myself to be an expert of my own body, in control of my flow and have really nailed it when it comes to tampons. But none of that matters now, because as it turns out, tampons are so last month and the Diva Cup is in. (Well, it seemed to be in everyone except me.)

To anyone who has not yet tried the Diva Cup and is curious about it, it is a small latex-free, BPA-free silicone cup that is designed to "catch" the contents of your uterus and is held in place for up to 12 hours at which point it is removed, rinsed off and re-inserted. The process is repeated for the duration of your period. (Kinda gives "rinse & repeat a WHOLE new meaning.)After your cycle comes to an end, you simply boil the Diva Cup, store it in its drawstring carrying case and tuck it away, until next time. Since it is reusable, it is better for the environment and saves a lot of money on sanitary products.

Here are some suggestions and things I've discovered in the last 24 hours about the cup, my vagina, and how, after a yoga class, a shot of vodka and encouraging affirmations, I don't see myself ever going back to tampons...

1) BUY THE CORRECT SIZE- There are two sizes of the Diva Cup; size 1 & size 2. Size 1 is for women under the age of 30 whom have never given birth. Without reading the box, I accidentally bought Size 2 at first, because I thought the size had to do with flow. But. It doesn't. So I had to go back the next day and buy the Size 1. But at least I'll have the other size for next year or after I have babies, when my vagina is merely a patchwork of what it used to be. 

2) ONCE ITS INSERTED CORRECTLY, DON'T MESS WITH IT for least 8 hours. As long as there are no leaks, only take it out in the morning, afternoon and before bed to wash it and re-insert it.

3) TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW about the Diva Cup. Tell the cashier at Whole Foods, tell your neighbors, talk about it with your friends. Go into detail. Laugh about it. It's funny! The best thing about the Diva Cup, other than the fact you can 'Set it and forget it", is that there's NO smell! No longer do my bathroom visits smell like I chopped up a family member into little bits and then sprinkled those bits over a bed of Romain lettuce, topped it with ranch, let it sit for 4 days and then served it to another family member. I forget where I was going with that...

WARNING: If you are not a Gynecologist by profession, you will be one, by trade, after using this product. The Diva Cup is not for the faint of heart...or the faint. You'll get to know yourself in a way you haven't before, so be sure to take yourself to dinner after your first Diva Cup experience.

That's really all I have to say about the Diva Cup, friends. If you need me, I'll be wandering the aisles of Whole Foods & Target wearing my Diva Cup with confidence, while subtly humming my new parody, "Knock Knock Knockin' on Cervix Door". Karaoke anyone?

Wholeheartedly,

Erica

 

Diva Cup user essentials.

Diva Cup user essentials.



Lay it Down: A Writing Exercise

This morning I was writing a post called, "MTV True Life: I'm an Over-Thinker." And it was packed full of...thoughts. Carefully constructed, funny, witty, cohesive, professionally laid out thoughts. It was beautiful. But it was shit. So, I decided to turn my post (and my thoughts) into a writing exercise; an uncomfortable writing exercise because it's good to be uncomfortable and vulnerable and have word-vomit sometimes. There is no structure, no grammar, really. There was no plan. I just kept typing. I just kept doing the thing. And I feel SO much better!

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So if you have literally 2 minutes and you're looking for a way to get some of the feels out, do this:

  1. Set a timer for 2 minutes
  2. Type or write out all the stuff that's been bothering you for the past 10 minutes, 17 weeks, 25 years...
  3. BUT write it from the perspective of your "stronger" self talking to you.(see my example below...if you want.)
  4. Make sure she tells you to lay it down, get over yourself, calm down... at least once.
  5. SHARE it with me if you'd like!
  6. enjoy laying it down!

 

Here's mine:

Lay It Down,  by, Erica Jacobs

Lay it down, girl. Put it all to bed. The I’m not good enough, all the great ideas are taken, the I lost my Dad when I was twenty and he’s forgotten me. Enough of that. You didn’t really lose him. He’s still right inside your heart. So, you stopped dieting and gained a bunch of weight. Who cares? Lay it down, girl. Let go of the I’m not worthy of being flirted with, I won’t birth healthy babies, no seriously, I’m not a credible counselor. Relax. Let’s stop here, at the first thought of I’m forgettable, I can’t make boundaries, I don’t know my limits. Lay it down, girl. Calm down. This whole I am unappreciated…nonsense. Nonsense. Nonsense. Let us stop with the shame of you being stoned during your last conversation with your Dad. You were not meant to be all there. Enough with the shame. Put it to bed. Stop it with the she’s more important because she had a baby, my friendship is worthless because now she’s getting married, I’m easily overlooked because I’m not married. It’s fine. You’re fine. It’s ok that this is not a structured poem. Let this be a paragraph of free flowing bullshit. Lay it down, girl. You should be concerned about your future but stop letting it paralyze you. Enough convincing your trainers and your shrinks you’re strong, witty. No more with the I’m fat, I can’t see my triceps, I should not be a fitness instructor. Relax. Do away with the I could have loved my ex-boyfriend more, it’s my fault, he can’t wait to forget me. Enough. So your Mother didn’t enjoy motherhood when you were young. Forgive her. Let us move on today. Forgive yourself for everything you’ve ever done to every person you’ve ever met. Get another tattoo. Have some Yoga. Use your oils. Take another trip to India or something and be done with it. Lay it down, girl. Put it all to bed.

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How Eating 500 Calories a Day Saved My Life: Part Two

Happy Friday, friends!
After yesterday's post, I want to say a huge THANK YOU (out from behind the keyboard) for your readership over these last almost two years of blogging! And I also want to clarify some things about the post...so, we're all on the same page...in the same library.
Video is HARD! But I want to step out of my comfort zone whenever possible and show you my face and just do the damn thing <3
Thank you for reading and engaging with my blog and with me. You mean so much to me and the world...like, for reals.
xo,

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pleased to meet you...hope you guess my name.

Dear Loyal Readers, I've become increasingly worried, anxious, upset and terrified of where I'm going, what I'm supposed to be doing, how/where I fit in the world and how I'm ever going to earn enough money --doing what I'm passionate about-- to thrive on planet Earth.

There. I said it.

I lay awake at night, wondering how I will I ever earn enough money as an Eating Psychology Counselor. How can I support myself in the arena of Health at EVERY Size? How can I claim a paycheck as a Body Image expert, writer and public speaker, striving to be a pioneer in my field?

*WILL I EVER HAVE ANYTHING TO SHOW FOR HAVING A LOVE FOR SOMETHING SO GREAT, IT OFTEN SPINS ME INTO A DARK DEPRESSION?*

Am I alone, here? Is the joke on me?

I am an over-worked, vastly underpaid Director of a Children's Fitness Center and I love my job. I have the honor of interacting with and  teaching children every day. I take note of what makes them laugh and learn what they're afraid of. I know their favorite vegetable and I get to play epic games of Hide 'n Seek (even though they end up crying when I pretend I can't find them). I ask them questions, I'm a stickler for eye-contact, an enforcer of kindness toward peers and giver of high-fives and hugs for jobs well done. I know their parents', grandparents' and their nanny's names by heart. I check in regularly with those that have gone off to preschool and Kindergarten. My bucket overflows by the end of each day.

Because I work at a fitness center, and the fitness industry is inhabited predominantly by small, lean, cut, bendy and slim people, it makes sense my boss is interested in only hiring aesthetically pleasing, "fit" looking and slim teachers, to reinforce the notion that a 'small body equals a healthy body'. Don't get me wrong; my boss is more than pleased with my work and can clearly see I have the cardiovascular stamina, muscular strength and the agility to demonstrate all gymnastics skills and run around with kids for eight hours. I was also a lot thinner when I was hired four years ago...because I was chronically dieting, binging/purging and hated myself. So when it's all said and done...did he really hire 'healthy'?

But  I digress...

Yesterday afternoon at work, my boss and I got into our 108th debate discussion on the topic of  Health at Every Size: (And I'm of course paraphrasing)

Me: I'm just saying, if I wandered in off the street and asked for an application, you wouldn't even consider interviewing me, as I do not fit the physical mold of a Gymnastics Instructor.

Boss: What do you want me to say? I was always taught to hire people that "look the part" of a gym instructor. Parents won't send their child to a facility where teachers are out of shape.

Me: So, based on society's, belief that 'Small Bodies =  Healthy Bodies', you wouldn't interview me because your customers wouldn't think I look the part?

Boss: "Erica, it's the culture we live in. I'm a business man. And I care more about making money than changing peoples' ideas."

Just then, the sky parted, the angels sang and God came down, got in my face and shouted, "You get it, now?? Do you see?? NOW do you understand your purpose??" I closed my eyes in that moment and silently answered, "YES! I Understand!"

I am NOT a business woman. I am not driven by money and never have been. So why, and I mean, WHY have I ended up in fetal position, crying hysterically, so many days and nights, questioning the validity of my existence, if I'm not earning 60K?

I know that earning, saving and enjoying money is important. I also know I cannot spiritually, emotionally and honestly stay present and authentic in my passion, while worrying day in and day out about the dollar. They don't work hand in hand and I cannot be consumed with both. If I was, I'd surely wind up in the nuthouse, drooling on myself and mumbling obscenities all day.

I was reminded yesterday that true "Ah-Ha!" moments and life affirmations may be taught at various retreats, seminars and Yoga studios, but are often learned in real life, from real people...for free.

Please allow me to re-introduce myself:

My name is Erica Jacobs. I am an action-inspired Thought Leader, Listener, Teacher, Counselor, Writer, Speaker and Avocado-Eater. I may not possess a passion that naturally generates high monetary income, but I will always advocate for Health at EVERY Size, authenticity, speaking my truth, being impeccable with my word, staying curious and most importantly, helping others change, define and refine their ideas. I'd choose all this over a 401K, any day.

It's heart work...but someone has to do it.

Love Forever,

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"More Details, Erica"

In my formative years, my teachers would assign essays, poetry, book reports and when I was really lucky, short stories. This was all in an effort to master our grammar, explore our imagination, enhance our vocabulary and provide reading material our teacher could enjoy while sipping tea sitting on the toilet. (Just a guess) In the 6th grade, upon being assigned to write an autobiography, I thought, this is my chance. I'm gonna do it right this time. I started brainstorming ideas and picturing the perfect writing environment, which consisted of sitting in my quiet room, writing furiously and with ease. The ideas pouring out of me like a wild Capri Sun when you forget to put your mouth on it. Life would be a movie montage of me writing, thinking, my Mother coming in and begging me to come to the table and eat with the family. Then I'd be done. I'd dot my I's, curl my As and cross my Ts, take a deep breath and sleep the deepest sleep. I'd wake up bright and early and proudly place this carefully constructed masterpiece in my teacher's hand. She'd read it that afternoon. Her eyes would light up and she'd race down to the office and demand the whole faculty read my story. The next day, she'd insist I read it aloud to the class and upon the roar of applause, Hailey, Emily, Kelli, Cassidy, Lindsey, and Jessica, the popular girls, would ask me to be in their group for every single upcoming project. And Dylan, Shawn, Stephen, Jimmy and David would vie for my attention, each of them "asking me out" and I'd have to make the impossible decision of whom I'd name my boyfriend. Oh, yea and I'd be thin! And pretty! My long hair would cascade down my back and my skin would be sun-kissed. My parents would be so proud of me. This would be my autobiography. This would be my life.

Here's how it really was; I got the assignment and walked home to my empty house. I opened the fridge only to find sliced turkey, cottage cheese and mustard. I ate it all. I even munched on raw pasta. I was anxious and I was very hungry. I watched Lifetime for a few hours until I felt the rumble of the garage door beneath my feet. Mom's home. I scurried around the house, tidying things up in a panic and sprinted to my room, pulled out said assignment and pretend to write. I heard the sticky, peeling paint on the front door crunch as my Mom walked in. Tension mounted as I heard her footsteps in the kitchen. The refrigerator opens and I hear, "ERICA!!!!" I knew I shouldn't have eaten all the food. 

I stayed up all night, writing this stupid assignment. The next day in school, I shamefully walked to the basket to turn in half a page of nothingness and shoved it under the pile of neatly printed autobiographies, hoping, praying it would get lost forever. A couple days later, everyone got their papers back, with big red A's on the front and lots of positive exclamation points. Mine housed a big red D and a note to my Mom would be stapled to it; Erica is a good writer, but lacks focus, imagination and detail. She is lackadaisical and is failing in Language Arts. Please make sure she gets all her assignments done and writes to the best of her ability.

How the eff was I supposed to find details in a life that seemed so sad to me? Where are these fabulous details my teacher expected?

My teacher was right; I did lack detail. I did lack imagination. But she also left out some very important words of wisdom on that stupid note with a picture of a smiling apple on it. She should have told me that the details exist in the reality of things, not the fantasy. She should have told me the more I acknowledge the truth and steer clear of what might 'sound good', the freer I am to use my imagination and the more accessible the details become.

In my fantasy of being the most active, spirited, talented and noticed writer, I lost the reality of how incredibly lonely I often felt. In the fantasy of having a boyfriend and popular friends, I lost the reality of never feeling worthy. And in the fantasy of my Mother calling me to eat at the table filled with homemade food, I lost the reality that my Mother couldn't trust herself, or me, with a lot of food in the house. The more I imagined things looking perfect, ironically my writing suffered. I suffered.

When I got older and became a binge-eating chronic dieter, my life existed almost always in fantasy and convincing myself, this is my chance. I'm gonna do it right this time. How with every new diet, every new pill, powder, potion and restriction regimen, I could picture myself turning down "bad" foods with ease, be able to see my abs, run miles and miles without stopping, be able to feel my hip bones, actually see my triceps and back muscles. I decided that forcing my body look a certain way was going to outweigh the reality that my body didn't want to or couldn't do what I begged it to do. I still don't know why I don't have a flat stomach or why I can't run miles and miles without stopping, no matter how much cardio I do. I still don't know why I can't see my triceps no matter how clean I eat. Perhaps the reality is, it's none of my business nor is it my responsibility to know the answer to these questions.

If I keep looking for ways to be thin or pretty or noticed, then my body is merely just a paper looking to be graded and I lose the reality that my body is a wildly complex, interesting, literally life-saving vessel that laughs when something is funny and unabashedly bawls when something is sad. It gives really great, squishy hugs and lets me tell people I love them. My body is an excellent driver that magically knows exactly when to honk at someone. My body helps me remember my Dad, the sound of his voice, the way he smelled and how he snorted when he laughed,  just like me. My body looks my Mom in her eyes and forgives her for not being the mother I thought I should have had and thanks her for the woman she is to me, today. My body can really do anything and is a constant source of comfort. Most importantly, my body is understanding and patient in the moments when I forget everything I've just said about it. That's what I love the most about my body.

Did I miss any details?

Love Always,

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