Great blog Clare, thank you. I didn’t have the bravery to post my photo, and I am filled with the utmost respect and gratitude for the women that did. I am late 30’s now and have, finally, learned to love myself, including my long inner labia that are frilly and tinged with dark coloration. I was aware growing up that I looked different from my sister, but didn’t really think about it a great deal. Then, at 19, a frank conversation with my first long-term boyfriend and sexual partner in which he described my vagina as “huge” started me on the road to insecurity, to thinking I was so abnormal and different to other girls. He didn’t mean it hurtfully, we were just being honest and open, but it left its mark! I felt self-conscious about it for years and years and always came around to asking subsequent partners whether I had a weird-looking one. I think my favourite answer was something like: ‘well, they’re all different, all great’. My husband, goes one step further and actively prefers this type. Yes, there are plenty of us out there 😊
I am not sure if it will help anyone else, but it helped me to hold onto the thought that we are all completely unique: there is no-one else in the world who is the same as you, with your own particular brand of personality and beauty. First, strive to understand its depths, then embrace it, enjoy it, and surround yourself with people who recognise it in you. This latter bit may take some time (it has for me), but life is long, and you’ll cross many paths, gradually building up a loyal entourage along the way. And… please don’t have surgery solely because you think you’re ‘abnormal’. I am so glad I didn’t in my 20’s (which was, I fear, mainly a result of never having heard of labiaplasty in those days). On this point, I think ‘The Perfect Vagina‘ documentary (linked in a previous posting) is definitely worth a watch.
Thank you for sharing your story and wonderful insights 🙂