By the time I was 16, I was a puberty superstar. I had bought my first bra, I could insert a tampon in my sleep, I had body hair, and I had just bought a bright blue razor to conquer said body hair. I thought I was done. I thought I had made it through the hormonal jungle and into the paradise that is womanhood. But then all my friends started taking birth control pills and I didn’t.
My friends growing up were pretty sexually active, and they talked about it. A lot. As a young blissfully closeted queerio, I was under the impression I just wasn’t ready to rustle the sheets. But I desperately wanted to fit in. I wanted to set that secret alarm and label it “baby preventer” or “take yo drugs” or something covert like “PILLZ.” I wanted to feel that untouchable coolness that came with pulling out that little silver pack of pills at sleepovers. I even told my doctor I had crazy bad cramps so she would suggest oral contraceptives, but my mom nixed the idea, and alas, my hormones remained vastly unregulated and I remained seemingly uncool.
Let me just say: Birth control pills or IUDs or arm implants don’t make you cool. They do prevent pregnancy, which is great if you are having penis-vagina sex and you don’t want to be pregnant. They can also do cool things like control your hormones if you have ovarian cysts or regulate your cycle if your periods are painful or irregular. But, I promise you; birth control won’t make you cool. In fact, as a 22 year-old woman (who exclusively sleeps with other women), not being on birth control makes me feel unique and free.
Sometimes, it does make me feel isolated from my straight cis female friends. It can feel lonely to be the only person who doesn’t have to think about IUDs or pills or implants. And this isn’t just for queer cis women. A lot of people with vaginas aren’t having sex with penises for a variety of reasons. So instead of feeling isolated, here are a few things you can do.
1. Educate yourself.
Be that person who can answer all your friends’ questions. All it takes is a simple Google search to know the pros and cons of each method. And if you end up going on birth control, you’ll thank your past self for teaching you the difference between the patch and the pill.
2. Bask in the glory of saving money.
Birth control can be expensive. Thanks to Obamacare, a lot of oral contraceptives are free, but without insurance, IUDs and arm implants can be hundreds of dollars. So instead of birth control, buy yourself that pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing.
3. Instead of setting an alarm to take your “PILLZ” set a daily reminder to love yourself.
Every time the alarm goes off, tell yourself one thing you love about you.
4. And finally, remember your self-worth doesn’t have to be based on other people’s opinions.
Whether it’s right now or in 10 years, if you need to be on birth control, you will be. And if not, you can join me (and lots of other people) in the very cool and inclusive Unregulated Hormones club.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.