January 28, 2005

I'm Too Sexy for My Pump, part 1

I say “part 1” because this is a Big Huge Issue for me, and it will be an ongoing one as I continue down the pumping path. It’s difficult to write about. Body image stuff is hard for everyone I know who has been brave enough to acknowledge it out loud. I’m no different.

For me, the biggest challenge in starting the pump is that it feels--at least for now, pre-start--disruptive of my sense of myself as a woman. Well, in certain ways. I fully embrace the notion that there are many ways to be feminine, or masculine, or both, and any given person can embody those energies in positive ways that are highly individual. What I’m referring to is a very personal sense of femininity, my own deal. YMMV and I hope it does, as variety is part of what makes us humans so cool.

I’m fairly girlie. I like long, flowy fabrics and stuff with lace. I’m a skirt-wearing chick. There are a variety of reasons for this, and I go other directions at certain times. It’s not about buying into a traditional viewpoint on gender at all. It’s about what speaks to me aesthetically and what feels authentic, more like my true self, if that makes sense. It’s how I feel most attractive, a primal thing really.

Enter the pump. Oh dear. It is just not an inherently feminine creature. It can be cute (see the Cozmo) or cool (see the Animas) or just kinda there (see the Minimed, my choice). It can, happily, be many colors (mine will be purple). But it cannot be girlie. It just isn’t. The infusion set is not a lovely thing. The tubing ain’t pretty either. Indeed, these aspects of the pump have an expressly ungirlie feeling to me. They medicalize the body in a way that I’m finding difficult to reconcile myself with.

Happily, there are many, many practical and spiritual counterpoints to this problem. I have found at least 8 websites that feature pump accessories, some handmade and quite creative, to dress up and/or conceal the pump. I’ll be doing that at least some of the time. And you can, of course, disconnect from the pump for sex. But I’m more concerned with the overall picture, how I feel about my self-image when I’m wearing the pump, as opposed to sex itself. A cyberpal on the Salon Table Talk forum Pins and Needles pointed out, when I raised this question in a tongue-in-cheek way, that anybody with good BG control is much more likely to “sparkle,” hence to feel and look sexy. This seems quite true.

I’m working at revising and reframing my sense of the pump as ungirlie. One helpful aspect of my situation is that I have an inherently female motivation in starting on the pump, which is that I want to obtain the best possible control in order to eventually, I hope, have a healthy baby and be a healthy mama. Can’t get much more feminine than that in my book. Hence my pump will indeed embody female energy for me, as it will help me on my journey to motherhood. So I am thinking of it in a personifying way, as a powerful female entity, and I am planning to give it a name that reflects this energy. (Kinda New Agey, I know, but names hold such power.)

Beyond that, I’m still at a loss. I see this as evolving issue that’s sure to change once I actually start the pump.

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