Skip to main content

Blood and Lipstick: My Body, My Wound Care


I am beautiful, even when I am bleeding.
*

I was wiping off my lipstick the other day and I paused with the red stained cloth in my hands. For a moment I thought the lipstick looked like blood. Thing is, I’m so used to seeing my own blood, I found this moment more poetic than morbid.

Wound care has always been a part of my life. I was born with nerve damage that has had a huge impact on my body: I can’t feel over half of my body. I have issues with circulation, and the nerve damage makes it harder for me to digest food. I’ve been under-weight my entire life and have to work hard to get the nutrients my body needs.

Because of all this, I’m more likely to get hurt and when I do, it is more difficult for me to heal.

I have frequently cut or hurt myself in places I cannot feel and not known until someone tells me I’m bleeding or I see the blood on my clothes. I wear leg braces to walk and when I get new ones I often develop multiple pressure sores during the process of fitting and adjusting them until they are right. And even though I can walk and move independently, the lack of sensation in my body means I also get pressure ulcers on the backs on my legs and ass. I had to have a flap surgery to correct one of these ulcers when I was eighteen. The surgery required 60 surgical staples, two drains, two months on an air mattress in a hospital, and months of recovery time after where I had to either stand or lay down. I stood at a podium in the back of my classes my first semester of college because I started school during my recovery.

In the past few weeks I have developed a new pressure ulcer on the inside of my thigh—something new and mysterious as I have never had a problem with this area before.

And as always when a new wound presents itself, I went through a period where I felt like I was a bad person for having a wound. I felt like I did something wrong, didn’t take care of myself properly, and that I deserved to feel less than human.

But then I acknowledged that I have the tools and experience to take care of myself and started the process of healing. Again.

Living with a wound is a strange and often exhausting experience. Of course, people around me don’t see the gauze, the antibiotics, the vitamins, the salves, the bandages. The blood, the coconut oil, the protein supplements, the worry and fear that the wound will get worse or become infected. But that’s my life every day with a wound. For months.

I’m grateful that aside from my having to dress my wound and be a little more particular about the fit of certain clothes, the wounds do not impact my life severely. I can’t go swimming and have to be careful about sitting on hard surfaces, but both those things are relatively minor.

Of course, this is a sex blog, so you’re probably wondering when I was going to get to that part. Thanks to a loving and understanding partner, my sex life is still vibrant and pleasurable. We have to adjust things and be careful, certainly, but we can make it work, bandages and all.

My wounds do impact other areas of my sex life. I don’t participate in kink nearly as much when I have an open wound, or if I do, I only participate in scenes that are mostly psychological, or ones that I am a top. Often, I’m just too fatigued to really have a good time exploring sexuality when I have a wound, and I am hesitant to share the information with others unless we are very close. This narrows my opportunities for BDSM and polyamory, but it does not eradicate them.

For the most part, I can make adjustments and still enjoy my life, even with a wound. I have to say no to some things and I constantly have to make the best decisions for my body. But this doesn’t stop me from doing the things I love with the people I care about.

I didn’t always feel this way.

For a long time, I just felt disgusting. I felt like I was carrying a dirty little secret. I felt like I was faking my life. I felt a shame in looking fine on the outside, when in reality I had to apply layers of gauze to keep my body from weeping defensive fluids onto my clothes.

I felt like as long as I had an open wound, I could not, or should not, feel pleasure. I didn’t want to go to the coffee shop with my friends. I didn’t want to dress nicely. I didn’t want to masturbate. I didn’t want to travel or write books.

I can’t tell you when exactly things changed for me. The journey and experiences that brought me here to writing about sex and being open about my kinks and disability helped changed my attitude about my wounds and wound care.

It didn’t happen overnight, but now I find vitality and empowerment in taking care of my body.

My wounds made me develop a hypervigilance, or perhaps you might call it an obsession, for cleanliness. It used to be fueled by shame, but now, my shower is my sanctuary. It’s a place where I can forget about the worries of the world and feel relaxed, feel like I am an active agent in taking care of my body. And I get to do that every day. Sometimes twice a day!

Caring for broken skin, open flesh, and blood has also given me a new appreciation for things like facial moisturizer, body butter, and lipstick. Lace-ups boots and cardigans. Jewelry, feminine. Delicate pearls or bad-ass metal studs nested in the top of my ear. I’ve recently made a job change back to being a real-life librarian and I am loving the ways I can dress up and take care with my body and appearance.

People compliment my boots, my necklaces, my lipstick. And I say, thank you, I love it too. I’m not hiding. I’m not keeping some dirty little secret. I am taking care of my body. I am nurturing myself. I am taking control, so that I will get better, even if the cycle will inevitably start all over in the future.

My wounds don’t dictate my body’s ability, desire, or right to feel pleasure. To dress up. To feel sassy in my boots, to powder my lips with a matte shade that tastes like sugar.

I still feel pain, deal with fatigue, and worry. I have to take antibiotics to fight infections and they can make me feel sick. I have to be careful. I have to spend my energy on taking care of my body even if that means cancelling other plans or writing less.

I’m dealing with all that now, but I am managing. I am feeling good in my body when my body doesn’t feel well. I am growing as a person when my body is healing. I am bringing my passion to life with the full force of my body, even when that body must rest, must breathe, must stop and take care.

Wound care is a part of my life. But it does not define my worth. I’m going to write and work and love and put on lipstick. I am going to take care—and I hope you will, too.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Excerpts from "Cast From the Earth" a polyamorous romance

I had so much fun sharing inspiration photos and excerpts from my novel Booked that I wanted to do one for Cast From the Earth, my polyamorous romance with zombies set in the 1890's. This book features a F/F and M/M/F pairing and lots of fighting... for love ;) Check out some snippets below!

*

Dust billowed up as the wagon ambled down a worn dirt road reserved for indigents and invalids. Curled in the back of the wagon clutching her satchel, Cordelia was certain she was neither. She had been offering a perfectly legitimate trade on that street corner back in town. Yet someone still turned her in for begging in public.

Cordelia found herself with no means to pay for a room at the boardinghouse and not a single establishment in White Spring would let her wash dishes or sweep floors for even one day.

Without any further discussion, Cordelia was shoved into the back of a wagon to be hauled off to the Clay County poor farm.

There had been a brief exchange in which the man entrusted with…

Ways Porn Has Helped My Life

Earlier this week @KelseyObsession on Twittier (SexuallyAwkward.com) posted a poll asking if porn has helped people’s lives, hurt people’s lives, or been a neutral force. I answered that porn has helped my life... because it has!
I see the sentence “porn ruined my life” so often but I can honestly say that in many ways porn saved my life. (It’s a bit too click baity even for me to use as a headline, but it doesn’t make it any less true). On top of that, there has been another anti-porn wave on social media lately, so I thought I would go ahead and dedicate a post to the ways porn has helped my life.
First things first. When I write about porn, I usually get a lot of the same questions so I’ll just preface by answering those questions now: 1. No, I don’t work in the adult industry. Aside from one erotica story I wrote being published in an alternative porn magazine and a few erotic photoshoots that have never been published except as cropped header images for my blog posts, I’ve never be…

Happy Masturbation Month 2018!

It's MASTURBATION MONTH, lovely readers. I'm so very excited because masturbation is one of my most cherished sexual outlets. Unfortunately, I didn't always have such a good relationship with masturbation. I saw it as something shameful, as something "less" than other sexual outlets, and the subjects of my sexual fantasies often left me confused or once again, ashamed.

Examining sexual fantasy, learning about my body, and understanding more about how erotic media is produced were all processes I had to work through to have a better sex life and to enjoy all my sexual outlets. Which is why I still work to promote great non-fiction sexuality books and sex-ed resources as much as I can.

But for today, I want to offer some further reading for masturbation specifically.

As a person who can think myself off, I rely on sexual fantasy and erotic media like erotica and porn to masturbate and own relatively few sex toys. But that's all right! Part of my message about …