Dragging my bum out of bed at often very early hours at weekends, before work, at work, after work and even on holiday to train has been a challenge in itself but the end is within sight as I will be doing the challenge on Friday…this Friday (weather permitting).
I’ve motivated myself with the thought that I am making a difference not just to me but also doing my bit to raise awareness and also perhaps more selfishly motivated myself with the thought of a hot bath at the end of each long ride.
I’ve been humbled by the comments from friends and family who have not only been supportive of my crazy endeavours this year but who have also been inspired with their own exercise goals. I hadn’t anticipated that particular outcome at all but it’s an unexpected pleasure to think I may have had a small part to play in helping them make changes to their life or perhaps rediscover a lost love for a particular sport.
I am reminded often why I am doing this through the ongoing conversations on the always very active support groups, to those through MRKH Connect or to reading shockingly poorly understood comments to a to be honest overly sensational article (apparently written by a woman, shocking in itself), about the struggles of an MRKH woman raising money for surgery. Comments written by men who don’t understand the female form. I don’t feel the need to rehash this when my friends at Global MRKH have written an open letter that so beautifully does that already (which can be read here) suffice to say that what it highlights is the need to continue to raise awareness for and of MRKH (and for biology of female genitalia and its formation to be better taught in schools).
As more of us are open semi-publicly or otherwise with the reality of MRKH there are still plenty who discover they have this condition and just don’t know where to turn, those that perhaps will never be comfortable with talking about it and of course on the flip side those who are perhaps not open but yet comfortable with it to the point they don’t feel the need to reach out for support in the same way as others.
There is still a long way to go here and a lot that is being done to improve that situation not just for us MRKH women but also for general public and more importantly the medical profession. The same medical profession that can misdiagnose, not be aware of, or if they are, have absolutely no idea who would be a specialist for that girl/woman to speak to. An already heart-breaking time can become scarier and more isolating than ever before. Clearly something needs to change here – and of course MRKH is not the only condition that can be affected in this way and I am by no means saying it is special or a priority but it is one of the reasons to highlight the need for improved understanding particularly of a condition that isn’t really that rare.
I’ve said the word ‘vagina’ probably more times in the last couple of years than I ever did before that point. I’ve said it in pub, over email, in blogs and even conferences (not MRKH related!) and on the London to Brighton 100km walk to my walking buddy Angela.
The more things are talked about, whatever they are the less taboo they become. ‘Lady parts’ and their function are often in that ‘delicate’ category and of course the upshot is the effect of a condition in that delicate category does have a very real effect on the person who has it and therefore often talking openly is something very difficult and upsetting.
But there will always be some who are willing to put themselves out there and try and make a stand which is what a number of us have done in our own little way whether its through setting up charities, blogs, global organisations or crazy challenges to raise money and awareness. It doesn’t take much when you think of it like that but it does take courage to get to that point. That courage is inside all of us if we want to grasp it.
I am always happy to speak to others about it (those with MRKH or not). Everyone is different and deals with things differently but I am happy to share how I have handled certain situations (good or bad) or whatever is required to help support someone or continue to improve people’s understanding of the condition whoever they might be.
I will be doing the Downs Link cycle route on Friday which runs from Guildford to Shoreham and then tagging on a bit to reach Brighton Pier (plus of course getting to Guildford in the first place). Then back to Guildford then back again finishing on Brighton pier sometime Friday evening – totalling ~130 miles – it’s a route I’ve wanted to do for a while having lived in the area for some time. A disused railway track converted into a truly picturesque, multipurpose and almost completely flat trail with quaint old stations. I’m excited scared and looking forward to starting but also very much looking forward to it being over.
I will be trackable on the route most likely via Instagram / facebook – keep those messages of support coming in they really do help!
Nothing of what I have done has intended to inspire but it’s wonderful that has been the case. Sometimes you just need to believe in yourself, make that change you have been dying to do, do that challenge and just find something that motivates you. Never give up. That amazing feeling, that drive and passion may be a slow burner but its there and it will make a difference.
This girl will
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