Adventures with the Jaydess IUD

This post contains stuff concerning the female anatomy. Mine, to be precise. If this offends you, please read something else. That said, these are my own personal experiences and may differ from your own.

100_4500

Recently, I agreed to my doctor’s recommendation of the Jaydess IUD to help counter my heavy periods. On the face of it, the IUD sounds like a little T-shaped miracle. Localised hormones, few reported side effects, lighter periods – why wouldn’t I go for it?

And, equally, why would I believe that hormones would stay localised in the body? Hormones on the skin enter the bloodstream; hormones in the cervix will definitely get in the bloodstream. But I digress.

It has to be said, getting an IUD has been sold as something of a feminist action for American women. As an American woman (though one in the UK), I was not immune to these messages. Perhaps these messages are just intended to be for reproductive uses, but I still took them on.

So, I made an appointment. The official leaflet details very few side effects, but tells the user to tell her doctor if ‘these or any other side effects arise,’ just to be suitably vague. Insertion was painful, and I had cramps for about four weeks. After four and a half weeks, the bleeding stopped. My first period with the device was a sharply medicated affair, as my cramps were worse than a usual period’s.

The real fun was emotional, from crying at everything to spending much of my time feeling hatred for those around me. Also, my hair was falling out. And the bloating (plus three pounds of weight gain) meant that only my stretchiest clothes fit. Accepting this, I spent some time selling some stuff on eBay so that size 8 dresses didn’t make me sad by hanging in the closet. But emotionally, I felt anxious and hopeless. I lashed out at my husband, then spent time wondering if I always felt that way, or if it was the IUD. Regardless, its days were numbered.

My experience with the device was not the usual one, and the long and short of it is that I’ve had it removed. I mean, Goddess bless the NHS – I had a removal appointment within 48 hours of requesting it, and my doctor was very sympathetic. The removal was quick, barely noticed by my surprised cervix and very little blood followed. I took ibuprofen in advance, though, because the insertion had been memorably unpleasant.

On the way to yoga after my appointment, my dearest friend asked, ‘So you wouldn’t recommend it, then.’ At first I dithered, saying that some women find it effective and useful and don’t have crazy side effects. But then I realised, having it put in hurts. Like, a lot. And it hurts for weeks. I bled for a month, and this was considered normal. How can a birth control method which hurts women be considered feminist?

Changing Tack

For a while now, I’ve been writing strictly about minimalism and getting my life in order by clearing out my space. This has been working well for me, and gradually I am reducing my possessions to have a tidier home. As much fun as this is, I feel as though it’s time for me to branch out with regards to what I write. I have loads of interests, activities, qualifications, etc., which are currently vying for my attention.

Therefore, I will be changing it up around here. I will be holding space for my spiritual growth, discoveries in the complex world of personal health and progression in my ‘proper writing.’ I’ll be doing more tarot readings and eventually create a library for all the tarot card meanings.

I’m also about to move internationally, so I’ll be sharing that experience with you as I blossom in my new life. Things are getting exciting!

100_4674
Let’s do this.

Evaluating a Purchase

As a shopping addict, I have to admit that not buying stuff is harder than I thought it would be. Also, learning the difference between a necessity, a replacement and a decadence has been surprisingly tricky.

At the moment, for instance, I am in the process of replacing a black skirt. The one I’ve been wearing since I was 13, purchased for my grandpa’s funeral, has become too short as I approach 30. I donated it, deciding I would wear a much longer one already in my closet. However, this plan appears dowdy with my no-heels look. And so I’m looking for a mid-length skirt to suit my needs. Not schoolgirl short, not ‘only fashionable with stilettos’ long. It also needs to fit me well, and look good with tops tucked in or a sweater lying over the waistband.

It’s the type of purchase I have always avoided. My shopaholic tendencies have always leaned towards the flashy, and I was reluctant to spend money on a plain item. This skirt is a basic, not a statement, so why would I have bothered?

Now, though, I’m operating a strict ‘one out, one in’ policy and want to make sure I get it right. I feel it’s ironic that I didn’t learn how to shop until after I tried to shop in a non-addicted way.

‘Women can’t handle money.’

I’ve heard these words several times in my life, and I’ve even believed them to some extent. How could I not, when I had consumer debt, student loans and a shopping addiction?

There is no shame in a woman spending her money in the way she wishes, but I am aware of the fact that my habits have been poor. Thus, my decision to spend less does not come from a place of dependence and denial, but rather in the hopes that I’ll be able to see my own consumption more clearly.

As a married couple, the Laird Hamilton and I have a joint bank account, as well as our own separate accounts. He can’t see my outgoings, and I cannot see his. In this way, we have privacy in our spending. However, I swing between wanting financial autonomy and believing that I’ll be unable to spend any funds wisely.

These thoughts are coming up as I reflect on my most recent read, The Year of Less, in the wake of my ‘no spend’ March. In truth, March was probably one of my most expensive months in a long time, and I expect it was spurred on by a sense of deprivation for all the things I wasn’t going to have. Purchases on 28 February slowly spilled over into the first week of March, and what was the point of stopping then?

It is in this spirit that I’m considering planning a no-spend year, complete with lists of approved, necessary items. It makes me slightly uncomfortable to think of justifying each item to myself, but I hope that this practice will lead me on the path to more mindful consumption.

Progress with books

In the past, book clutter was a real issue for me. I’ve had as many as five bookcases full of books, justifying their general disarray by telling myself that it was okay to have this many books when I was doing my Master’s.

Even as I started decluttering everything else in my life, I never thought I’d touch my books. They are too emotive to me, reminding me of all the historical and fictional journeys I’ve taken. And yet, it was the book Paris Letters that first started me on this path, making me think that there was something more to life than the mindless purchasing I’d always done.

The ‘one in, one out’ rule has been in force around Hamilton Hall, but books somehow started getting overlooked in this regard. It was true visual irony to see The Joy of Less lying horizontally across the top of a shelf of alphabetised, categorised non-fiction. Something had to change.

Slowly, I’ve been able to part with quite a few books and am now down to four bookcases. Some of the things I sold were on subjects I was no longer interested in reading or writing about. Others were simply read and unlikely to be reread.

In the past month, all the books I’ve bought have been digital. Though I’ve been resistant to the Kindle in previous years, I think it’s time to embrace it now. It’s not quite the same as reading a physical book, but I still have plenty of those to read when I get the urge. In the meantime, I’ll settle into a world where I know the exact percentage of Start with Your Sock Drawer that I’ve read and that my most recent purchase resulted in zero tree deaths.

What is the goal of minimalism?

So, I’ve been decluttering for a long time now. I started this project ages ago, first to fit more comfortably in our previous flat and then to fit more comfortably in our current house which has less storage space. I’m at the point where I don’t need to own less, but still find myself encountering things I no longer need. It’s made me wonder, where is this leading, and what will happen when I get there?

I know that minimalism is different for everyone, and it isn’t my goal to live out of a backpack or have 100 items. Still, every journey leads somewhere. If the goal was to not have things spilling out of cupboards at me, I have arrived. So, too, if the goal was to have a perpetually clear dining room table or to own no clothes that I hate. I’m still decluttering, though.

If I thought it was to have a simpler life, I’m a long way off. Since I started decluttering, I look on everything with a harder gaze. My threshold for clutter is lower and I find myself unable to stop wondering what else can go. It has not made things simpler.

The goal can never be to have all rooms of my house completely clear of excess clutter because my husband is a true ‘just in case’ type. It also can’t be to have the pristine white apartment because I have dogs.

Is it to learn my signature style? To get down to the core of who I am? To only see things I love and don’t resent caring for when I move through my home? To not have unfinished projects lying around, taunting me? Or is it something much more pedestrian than that: to simply stop buying stuff I don’t need?

A Shoe-Based Existential Crisis

Last night, I was finally prepared to deal with all the things I’ve put aside to sell on eBay. The lighting was ready, the dogs were miraculously quiet and I had the house to myself for the evening. However, I fell at the first metaphorical hurdle: listing the shoes.

I could picture myself wearing the boots I was about to list. I knew that there were things in my wardrobe that they matched. I also knew that the last time I wore them, they got quite a lot of attention in Brighton. So why had I earmarked them for selling? I’d always thought them perfect for me.

At the risk of sounding dramatic, this one act of decluttering made me question my entire self. Who was I if not the girl who wore those colourful velvet boots? How did I dress if not in those boots with skinnies and a bouse? Despite my slow indoctrination into a flats-only life, I still saw myself as a dramatic heel wearer. I’ve accomplished things, but have such a visual mind that I’d have difficulty believing I had a doctorate unless I got to wear a white coat.

When the Laird Hamilton returned home, I asked him to describe me to myself so I could somehow remember that I have a personality. He laughed, saying that he couldn’t tell me who I was. Also, he reminded me that my stuff is not my personality, but it can make an impression on others if I wish it to. Did I want my clothes to speak before I did?

Ever the introvert, I decided I prefer for it to at least say something. A murmur of introduction or a quiet greeting. My outfit doesn’t need to shout at others, but I do like for it to be noticed.