talking about my uterus

I wore my “Fight Like A Girl” t-shirt for Endometriosis Awareness to the volunteer event last weekend as promised. I was nervous before I left the apartment because I haven’t been very open about discussing my surgery or endometriosis diagnosis with most people around me. I am still trying to deal with it internally. It was a very emotionally painful experience for me at the time and not sure how to put all of it into words.

But, I there were several comments about my t-shirt through-out the day. I was glad that it was noticed but I kept my replies to a minimum. One guy said, “I don’t know how to pronounce that word or what it is.” As it was explained by another lady, he exclaimed, “UTERUS! Stop, I don’t want to know anymore after hearing words like uterus.”

I was not offended by the comment because it is to be expected by some people. There isn’t much known about endometriosis and I am learning quite a bit myself lately. I am wearing my t-shirt to raise awareness because it is important to me and many other women who suffer from it every day. I read horror stories about infertility and chronic pain that women are sharing on their personal blogs and websites – it truly breaks my heart.

But, I am disappointed that he disregarded the subject based on one word that made him uncomfortable because it could affect a woman in his life such as his wife, sister, or friend. Having endometriosis is uncomfortable. Explaining it to someone is uncomfortable. But, I want to talk about my uterus! I want to get to the point where I can be comfortable talking about this. Either way, it was a good start for me.

-Holli

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at far rockaway beach….again

It’s supposed to be 71 deg today so I have decided to pack my beach bag and go to Far Rockaway Beach! My plan to do my laundry on a Saturday morning was not as FUN as going to the beach! :)

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I can hear the waves crashing on shore from across the street and I’m eager to get onto the sand. I take off my shoes and the sand is hot on the bottom of my feet – which feels amazing! It’s quiet out here today – just a few dog walkers and surfers again.

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I spend a few hours combing the beach looking for seashells and picking litter, stopping to watch dogs happily splashing in the ocean fetching sticks and the surfers braving the freezing water to catch a wave.

I had a few beach goers approach me today asking me what I was doing and appreciating my efforts. A dog walker ran up to me with his hands full of trash to put into the bags, eager to help. A surfer stopped to chat and thank me for cleaning up. One lady said “We all have to do our part in keeping this beach clean, I think it’s amazing that you are here today picking litter. Thank you so much for doing that.” YOU ARE WELCOME! I was so HAPPY that people noticed what I was doing and talked to me about it.

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DANGER: There may be litter on the beach that your child or dog will step on and get hurt! Please take your trash with you when you leave the beach. Thank you! :)

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I filled 9 small shopping bags with litter from the beach in two hours. I found some really large pieces of styrofoam and metal that have blown in from the construction sites.

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I wandered past Beach 90 where the boardwalk is under construction and closed off to the public. The sand is accessible and that is where I found most of the litter. I couldn’t fit all of it in my bags and there was no garbage cans for me to dispose of what I found so I had to carry all the bags back to the nearest trash bin.

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A list of SOME items I found on the beach today:

12 cigarette butts
38 plastic bags/plastic film pieces
25 plastic bottle caps
9 pieces of cloth
4 large styrofoam pieces
1 construction Danger sign
3 balloons
3 cig lighters
9 random obects
8 pieces rope/cord
1 black styrofoam piece
17 bags of chips/snacks
3 snickers bars wrapper
1 blue plastic kids sand shovel
3 large corona beer glass bottles
3 beer cans
2 tampons
7 piles of doggie poop
1 glove
10 random plastic pieces
and the list goes on…

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The bright pink balloon I found on the beach this morning – and my birthday is coming up in a few days! Is that a coincidence??

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I’m not sure why these mountain bikers are taking their bikes on the break wall rocks but I’m curious if they are doing some extreme rock jumping. Also hoping nobody gets hurt!

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If you want more motivation to get out and make a difference I found this great video last night on the Daily Ocean blog. Sara Bayles has done 365 beach cleanups in her local area with a mission to inspire others all around the world to care about our oceans and their beaches. And she is quite an INSPIRATION to me! Read all about it!

Thank you for reading my blog post. If you have any questions or comments write em down! I’d love to hear from you!

2013 international coastal cleanup

On Saturday, September 21, I joined the New York City Audubon at North Channel Bridge (renamed as the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge ) to participate in the 2013 Ocean Conservancy International Coastal Cleanup!

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This is my first time volunteering with the New York City Audubon and it was a great experience. We boarded a little yellow school bus from their headquarters on 23rd Street for the short ride to the Jamaica Bay area.  All the supplies we needed for the cleanup were provided as well as water and snacks. But, nobody brought coffee???

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The New York City Audubon has many volunteer opportunities, classes, and events such as local harbor cruises, lecture series, and even bird-watching trips to destinations like Costa Rica.

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Our group consisted of 16 volunteers including the staff from the NYC Audubon. We cleaned the parking lot, the beach, and further down into the longer marsh grass covering ¼ of a mile of coastal area.

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CoastalCleanup_14We found the usual items such as broken glass bottles, soda cans, and fishing line. We also found items such as statues, decorative scarves and clothing, that were apparently left behind from a ritual previously performed on the beach.

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The International Cleanup is organized by the Ocean Conservancy, whose strong efforts to keep our ocean clean to protect and preserve coastal-marine life is a heroic act in itself. At the 2012 International Cleanup, 561,633 volunteers cleaned up almost 10 million pounds of trash. Now THAT is something to think about. It’s something I think about. I think about coffee too.

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Several large garbage bins were available in the parking lot and close to the beach entrance but most were overflowing with trash. One parking spot was littered on both sides with ice cream containers and spoons from Coldstone Creamery, as if a car of people enjoyed their ice cream treat, opened their car doors and dropped their trash on the parking lot instead of walking the few steps to the trash can. This lack of respect for the environment by behavior like this is disheartening for those of us who notice it.

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The MOST important thing that I noticed is the determination and hard work that every volunteer exerted during this cleanup. The mood was somber after a few hours of work, maybe because it was a cloudy day followed by brief scattered showers. When it started to rain most of the volunteers only stopped to put on their rain coats. During the break everyone ate and rushed back out to work. I was really impressed that most of the volunteers were families and a few local beach goers that signed up to join us unexpectedly.

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We filled 27 bags of trash totaling 1,8 75 lbs! That’s almost a TON of trash we prevented from polluting this waterway any futher.

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Afterwards, we took a moment to watch the birds scout out the newly exposed sand as low tide set in and breathe in the salty air and remind ourselves that we made one small step in protecting this beautiful area for everyone to enjoy now and in the future.

I want to THANK the New York City Audubon and all the volunteers that day, not just here but internationally because together we can make a difference. And THAT makes me HAPPY!