My Pap Smear Experience

stirrupstrtt

Ill prepared, uninformed, and traumatizing describes my first pap smear experience.

It was summer 2013 and I was gearing up to spend a year in Spain.  I needed the doctor to sign-off on some forms stating I was healthy enough to live abroad. I thought this visit to the doctors’ was going to be routine. I thought she was going to listen to my heart, tell me to slowly breathe in and out, and ask if I had any health concerns. You know, doctor formalities. I thought I was going to waltz out of the physician’s office with forms in hand, laughing at how seamless the entire process would be. Well, I thought wrong. The doctor had a trick up her pristine, white lab coat sleeve.

In the blink of an eye, I was naked, legs spread-eagle in the air, and screaming in agonizing, shrilling pain. An outsider, not privy to what was being done, may have thought someone was being murdered. No lie. The OBGYN got halfway through the procedure before calling it quits.

I was embarrassed and vowed never to undergo this procedure again…until September 2014 rolled around. Photo

do it

Forgetting about the drama that went down the last time, I made an appointment with an OBGYN to check my hormone levels. It was a day or two after scheduling the appointment that I realized I would need to get another pap smear.

Immediately, I meticulously searched the internet looking for first-hand experiences that would help me through this ordeal (sorry that this sounds dramatic. But y’all, I was scared out my mind). Surprisingly, I couldn’t find much information, especially first-hand accounts.

I am telling my story because our stories, albeit, often times, traumatizing and embarrassing, go untold. Almost half of the world’s population are women. This means that 3.5 billion people have a vagina and deal with circumstances involving their reproductive system on a daily basis. Why aren’t there are not more stories? Well…there are a lot of reasons (blog post for another day), but, here is my story.

If you want to know what happened during my second pap smear, watch the video below.

How was your first Pap Smear experience? Anything like mine?

In case you’ve missed it, check out:

Aunt Flo and Running, My Period Story

22 Things I’ve Learned by Age 23

History Notes: This Week in Black History (Oct.12th-18th)

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History Notes: This Week in Black History (Oct.19-25th)

October 19, 1944: The U.S. Navy announces its decision to allow black woman to join the U.S. Navy through the “Women Accepted for Volunteer ServicesWAVES program. Members of the Waves program held the same rank as male personal and earned the same pay. The first black WAVE members served as administrative officers. Photo

U.s navy

October 20, 2006: The U.S. Air Force Officers Training School adds the history of the Tuskegee Airmen to its curriculum. The Tuskegee airmen were the first black military aviators in the United States Armed Forces. These courageous young men, fought to defend their country at a time where many people thought blacks lacked intelligence, skill, and patriotism.

mcnairOctober 21, 1950: Physicist and NASA astronaut, Ronald McNair was born. McNair, the second African American to fly into space, died during the launch of the Space Challenger mission in 1986.

Super Smart: McNair graduated magna cum laude, earning a Bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from North Carolina A&T State University and a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

October 22, 1961: “The Twist” originally written and released by Hank Ballard in early 1959, was a moderate success in 1960, peaking at No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, when Chubby Checker, born Ernest Evans, performed the dance craze on the Ed Sullivan Show, on this day, 53 years ago, the song catapulted to number #1.

Critics called “The Twist” provocative but it swept America bringing everyone, teens and adults, to the dance floor.

October 23, 1903: Samuel Harold “Sam” Lacy, a reporter, editor, and TV/radio commentator, who was credited as a figure that helped to racially integrate sports, was born today. For nine decades, Lacy spoke out against the racial injustices in the sports world. Lacy covered the integration of baseball, Jesse Owens’ medal-winning performances at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, the Grand Slam titles by Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, and other major events of the day. In 1948, Lacy became the first black member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Lacy was also inducted into the broadcasters’ and writers’ division of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.

October 24, 1986: Happy birthday to actor, rapper, singer and songwriter Aubrey Drake Graham. This performer, known by his stage name Drake, started from the bottom as Jimmy Brooks on the Canadian television series Degrassi: The Next Generation. With his own record label, OVO Sound, Drake has garnered a Grammy Award, three Juno Awards, six BET awards, and has set several Billboard records. Photo

Drake

October 25, 1940: Before there was Collin Powell there was Benjamin Oliver Davis, Sr. General Davis became the first African American general in the U.S. army. His career, beginning in 1898, lasted over 50 years, where he served in wars the Spanish-American war, the Philippine-American War, and both World Wars. His son, became the first black general officer of the United States Air Force in October 1954. Photo

In case you’ve missed it, check out:

22 Things I’ve Learned by Age 23

History Notes: This Week in Black History (Oct.12th-18th)

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22 Things I’ve Learned By Age 23

Yesterday was my 23rd birthday. Here a few life lessons that I have learned by my 23rd year of life:

Be yourself

It is easy to conform and follow the latest, enticing trends of here and now. Discomfort is always felt by putting your neck out on the line and saying I disagree, I’m going to do my own thing. It’s not easy to be comfortable in your own skin…to really look at yourself in the mirror and say I love and accept you. For me, being myself, being comfortable with the person God has made me to be has taken prayer, daily reassurance and patience. Some days I find myself saying:

Yes, I am smart enough. Yes, I can do it if I work hard. Girrrl, Chelsea, you look so good today!

While I am not completely comfortable with who I am, I have come a long way, especially in this last year. Living abroad in Spain and China, blogging, and creating YouTube videos have helped me tremendously. Through these experiences I have felt raw and vulnerable because I was forced outside of my comfort zone and connected with my inner most thoughts. I learned that if I wasn’t true to myself, I would be eaten alive and crippled by criticism, doubt and fear.

I have embraced my quirkiness and nerdiness. I’ve learned that it’s okay to say I don’t drink, can’t dance, and that I prefer chillin´ at home, watching my favorite shows than going to a party or outing. There are traits and attributes that I would love to change about myself, but then I wouldn’t be Chelsea aka Rookie Notes, now would I?

pic 1

Success does not happen overnight

As much as I would like to be where I envision myself, I am not going to get there without hard work and consistency. My dreams can and will come true, I just have to grind first.

Last minute

Waiting to the last minute only screws me over. It’s something I am actively working on. Anyone have any tips?

Trust in the Lord

I always want to be in control and run my life’s show how I see fit. When this happens, everything usually falls apart. I have to remember that there is a Director who knows the scenes of my life and His timing is impeccable. I am learning that I am not the first person to have my problems or concerns, and I definitely will not be the last. When I relinquish control, and trust God, I know I will reach box office gold.

the Lord

Definitely

The word definitely is not the same as defiantly. I finally, got the hang of the spelling of these two words.

Listen to your parents

I’m 23 and I think I know how to handle situations, but there are always those who have been there and done that. Those who have earned their “badges of life” know a thing or two and can be useful in providing insight. Although you may be grown, it never hurts to listen to your elders, including the ‘rents.

Don’t wait on others

As a Sociology major, I learned that groups and human connections are essential for survival. However, some of my biggest accomplishments and feats happened when I took the initiative and didn’t wait on others. I’ve learned that if you want to do something, just do it and do not depend on others to get it done. If I waited on someone to accompany me, I would have never moved to Spain nor would I have ventured to the Sahara Desert.

Sahara Rookie Notes

Languages

Know more than one language. You look cooler and smarter.

Travel Solo

With all the fear mongering that goes on in the news, it is easy to view the world as a bleak, dangerous place. I’ve traveled to a few countries and lived in two “developing” countries. Don’t get me wrong, I need to see a lot more of the world, but I’ve found that for the most part, life outside of America is not what is portrayed on the news. Common sense and respecting the culture you’re in goes a long way.

go leftNo life directions

It’s okay to be a late bloomer. It is okay not to go to graduate school right after undergraduate. It is okay not to know what you are doing. A lot of people look at me and think I’ve got it all together. The truth is, I have no idea what I am doing half the time; I make it up as I go and just trust that it will all work out.

Plans A-Z

Although life does not have any directions, always have back up plans. Never get too comfortable because the moment you think you’ve got life figured out, the rug is pulled from under your feet and you look like a deer in the headlights. Be prepared to do something else.

Networking

The adage it’s not what you know, it’s who you know is true.

Birds of a feather

It is easier to stay motivated and reach for the stars if the people around you are doing the same. When I look around and see my friends and peers soaring to high altitudes I feel encouraged and inspired. It pushes me to want the same for myself. The person you are and become is reflective of the company you keep.

Overwork

If there is one lesson that I learned my 22nd year of life it would be to not overwork yourself. Overworking is counterproductive and a recipe for disaster. From spreading myself too thin, I’ve gotten sick and as a result, could not continue to keep working. Not what I wanted! I am learning how to call it quits and put my feet up. What’s life, if all you do is work?

overwork

Why so serious?

Of course, there are times where you need to be serious and focused. However, no one likes a person who is always on task, who cannot let a little loose and have fun. Embrace your inner child sometimes; you’ll age better. Photo

It’s okay not to be okay

Sometimes you just need to allow yourself to grieve and cry. When you are feeling sad or lonely, it’s good to reach out to others. No matter your situation, just know, there are better days ahead.

We are more alike than different

I have been fortunate to travel to unique destinations and interact with people who come from different ethnic groups, religions, socioeconomic statuses, etc. I’ve realized that people are people; there are good ones and bad ones. Across the board we share the same insecurities, fears, hopes and dreams. It’s odd, but sometimes I feel the most comfortable when I am with people who are perceived to be my opposite social mirror.

My class

Make it rain!

Whenever money is my goal I fail. I’ll get excited in the beginning, but then I will gradually lose interest. When I am passionate about an assignment, my work shines through and I can endure the bumps that come with the process. Get involved in activities that makes your heart skip a beat. For me, it is blogging.

Guys

If a guy is interested in you, you will know. If he isn’t he’s not the one for you. Leave him alone.

Instinct

Trust your gut. Your  inner voice is there for a reason.

Smoothies

Smoothies work for me as I get much of my fruit and veggie servings from it. When I drink fruit/veggie smoothies I feel invigorated and my skin looks better.

Anger

It is always the moments after an explosion or temper tantrum (yes, adults have them too) where you realized that you looked like a complete idiot. Be slow to anger. Photo

danger

 

In case you’ve missed it, check out:

Rookie Tips: How to Get a Passport in the USA (Part I)

Rookie Tips: How to Avoid ATM Fees While Traveling Abroad

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History Notes: This Week in Black History (Oct. 12-18th)

ChamberlinOctober 12, 1999: Wilton Norman “Wilt” Chamberlin, one of the greatest and most dominant American basketball players in NBA (National Basketball League) history died on this day at the age of 63. The 7-foot-1 basketball star played the center position as he played for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA. Before playing for the NBA, Chamberlin was a part of the Harlem Globetrotters and University of Kansas basketball team.

Chamberlin was the man! He holds multiple NBA records in rebounding and scoring. He is the only player to score 100 points in a single game and averaged more than 40 to 50 point in a season. Chamberlin was a part of two winning NBA championship teams; he earned the title Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for four regular seasons, the NBA Finals MVP award, Rookie of the Year, and was selected to be a part of 13 All-Star Games. In 1978, Chamberlin was enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame; in 1996 he was chosen as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history.  Photo

October 13, 1914: Businessman and inventor, Garrett Morgan, received the patent for a device called the Morgan Safety Hood and Smoke Protector, otherwise known as the gas mask. Garrett’s gas mask gained national attention when it was used to rescue 32 men trapped in an underground tunnel beneath Lake Erie. A few years later, Morgan’s invention was refined and used by the U.S. Army during World War I.

In the early days of the gas mask, Morgan had difficulty selling his invention, especially in the South where racial tensions were rampant. In order to sell his product, Morgan hired a white actor to pose as the inventor, while Morgan played the role of a Native American sidekick named Big Chief Mason. This tactic proved successful.

nobleOctober 14, 1964: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in the advancement of civil rights using non-violence. At the time of the award, King, 35 years of age, was the youngest person to receive this honor. King was influenced by Mohandas Gandhi as he advocated for a nonviolent approach to racial equality. King, lead the successful boycott of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus system in 1955. As a powerful orator, King appealed to Christian and American ideals as he used intense rhetoric to gain support for the Civil Rights Movement. For example, after his famous I Have a Dream Speech,the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited racial discrimination in employment and education, was passed and the poll tax, which was used to keep people from voting, was abolished. Photo

King donated his prize of $54,600 to the civil rights movement.

October 15, 1991: It’s my birthday today! I want to give a huge thank you to all of my readers and supporters. I feel blessed to have reached 23 years. I hope and pray the next 23 years are as good as my first.

Black menOctober 16, 1995: The Million Man March, a political demonstration promoting African American unity and family values, occurred on this day at the National Mall in Washington, DC. It is estimated that between, 400,000 to 1.1 million people, the majority of whom were African American males, took part in this event.

The event, lead by controversial Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, came at a time where African Americans felt urgency. A republican congress came to power during President Bill Clinton’s first term. As a result, many African Americans felt that issues concerning blacks would be limited and/or not a part of the national agenda. Such issues included environmental hazards, arrest rates of black men, and drug use among African Americans. Furthermore, two weeks prior to the March, racial tensions were high as the highly publicized O.J. Simpson not-guilty verdict was reached.  Photo

October 17, 1871: President Ulysses Grant waged war on the Klu Klux Klan as he suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus in all counties of South Carolina. This suspension made sure Klan members would not be freed from jail by sympathetic legislators. The Klan’s power subsequently declined and did not rise again until the 1920’s.

Habeas Corpus is a legal action that allows a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or a court.  

October 18, 1926: One of the pioneers of rock and roll, Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry was born on this date. Berry, one of the first to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are known for songs including “Maybellene (1955),” “Roll over Beethoven (1956),” and “Rock and Roll Music (1957).”

In case you’ve missed it, check out:

Today’s Note

It’s All About Dem O’s #We Won’t Stop

Rookie Tips: How to Get a Passport in the USA (Part I)

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