And you can too!
We can love something and still get annoyed by it from time to time. We can love something and not stand the sight of it. We can love something and not treat it the way it deserves to be treated every single day of the month.
That's absolutely what my relationship with my own body, and my vagina, in particular, was like for a very long time.
I am feminist, always have been, but have I always been a feminist who fully embraced the awesomeness that was her vagina, that most sacred of stanky lady-caves? No, absolutely not.
I was embarrassed by my vagina. I am a fat woman, and yes, that extends to my nethers. My vagina is fat. It's big. It's wet. It smells. It bleeds and stinks and seeps like some kind of godforsaken volcano.
I tried powders to make my nethers smell better. I tried stripping away all of my pubic hair in the hopes of making my vagina less unruly. I used a tampon and a pad and still had days where that unmistakable blotch of blood would mar my sheets or my jeans.
Every day felt like a war against my vagina, which is crazy because, for many (not all) women, our vaginas are kind of central to our experiences as women on this planet.
Until I made a decision: The world is hard enough on women and it's definitely hard enough on our vaginas. I do not need to contribute to that culture. I do not need to part of a world where girls are taught that their vaginas need to be odorless, hairless holes any more than I needed to be a part of a world that insists women be quiet, subservient and make less money than their male coworkers for doing the same amount of book.
Like YourTango founder and CEO Andrea Miller says in her new book Radical Acceptance: The Secret to Happy, Lasting Love, "If you don't take care of yourself and develop your best self, how can you give your best to others?"
And it's 100% true. How can I go about my business of educating women about their general awesomeness all the while hating my own vagina? How can I fight for equality and the right to make my own decisions about my body when I cringe every time I stand up from a chair on a hot summer's day worried my sweaty vagina will leave a mark.
My vagina isn't odorless or small or dry or convenient. It's messy. Like me. It asserts its presence, just like me. And you know what?
That's fine. It isn't just fine, it's good. It makes the reality of my gender impossible to ignore, and that's something of which I couldn't be prouder.