My First Smear Test!

This year I got a letter I’d been waiting on. It was time to book my smear test, also known as a cervical screening. The letter came a little earlier than I expected, about 6 months before my 25th birthday. There wasn’t a question in my mind that I was going to book it as soon as possible.

Now, you’ve probably seen the adverts, you might have even got a letter and you’re a bit nervous. That’s normal but a little bit of embarrassment/feeling uncomfortable for a few moments could save your life.

So, to keep the conversation going I knew I was going to write about having my first smear test. Of course, I didn’t take a camera in to get the gory details, nobody needs to see that unless they’re a medical professional! Either way here’s my experience and answering any questions you might have.

So what happens?

After getting your letter you need to book an appointment, I had mine with a practice nurse, you can request to have a woman if that makes you more comfortable. The only thing you need to make sure of is that you’re not on your period/have just finished it and you can’t use Lube for 24 hours before I think. You get a handy leaflet with everything in it so take a read of that.

What happens in the appointment?

During your appointment you’ll chat with your nurse/doctor first about what’s going to happen, to make sure you consent and let you know the process for results. You will then be asked to go behind a curtain, take off your underwear and sit under a sheet.

Then comes the bit people are a little embarrassed about. It’s worth keeping in mind these people see so many vaginas, yours probably isn’t anything special (sorry!). Then they will use a tool called a speculum to open your cervix which can feel a little uncomfortable but try to relax as much as possible. Then they’ll use a little tool to get some cells from your cervix. It’s over in less that 2 minutes.

Can I have someone come in with me?

Yes! You can have someone in as a chaperone to make you more comfortable, just tell your doctor or nurse.

What about after?

I felt a little discomfort and had a little bit of bleeding but nothing major. I did go and get myself a treat after because, c’mon I did a good thing!

Now, where I live there was a backlog so I had to wait 4-6 weeks for my results. Hence why this blog is late – I wanted to make sure I knew my results before writing about it. Mine came back fine BUT as a note, if you do have abnormal cells this doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer – but there will be further investigation to check everything!

So, there we have it. My first smear is done and dusted and I won’t be having another for 3 years! How did you find your smear test? Let me know in the comments below!

Feminist Friday: 10 Fab Feminist Quotes

“Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”
― Sheng Wang 

“We need to reclaim the word ‘feminism’. We need the word ‘feminism’ back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist – and only 42% of British women – I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? ‘Vogue’ by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?” 

― Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Womanpexels-photo-1

“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists

“Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.”
― Adrienne Rich

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“Feminism is not a dirty word. It does not mean you hate men, it does not mean you hate girls that have nice legs and a tan, and it does not mean you are a ‘bitch’ or ‘dyke’; it means you believe in equality.” – Kate Nash 

“Women are leaders everywhere you look — from the CEO who runs a Fortune 500 company to the housewife who raises her children and heads her household. Our country was built by strong women, and we will continue to break down walls and defy stereotypes.” – Nancy Pelosi 

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“For I conclude that the enemy is not lipstick, but guilt itself; we deserve lipstick, if we want it, AND free speech; we deserve to be sexual AND serious – or whatever we please. We are entitled to wear cowboy boots to our own revolution.” – Naomi Wolf 

“Value yourself for what the media doesn’t – your intelligence, your street smarts, your ability to play a kick-ass game of pool, whatever. So long as it’s not just valuing yourself for your ability to look hot in a bikini and be available to men, it’s an improvement.” – Jessica Valenti 

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There’s just as many different kinds of feminism as there are women in the world. -Kathleen Hanna

Feminism is dated? Yes, for privileged women like my daughter and all of us here today, but not for most of our sisters in the rest of the world who are still forced into premature marriage, prostitution, forced labor – they have children that they don’t want or they cannot feed. – Isabel Allende

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Book Review: Girl Up – Laura Bates

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They told you you need to be thin and beautiful. They told you to wear longer skirts, avoid going out late at night and move in groups – never accept drinks from a stranger, and wear shoes you can run in more easily than heels. They told you to wear just enough make-up to look presentable but not enough to be a slut; to dress to flatter your apple, pear, hourglass figure, but not to be too tarty. They warned you that if you try to be strong, or take control, you’ll be shrill, bossy, a ballbreaker. Of course it’s fine for the boys, but you should know your place. They told you ‘that’s not for girls’ – ‘take it as a compliment’ – ‘don’t rock the boat’ – ‘that’ll go straight to your hips’. They told you ‘beauty is on the inside’, but you knew they didn’t really mean it. Well I’m here to tell you something different.

It’s no secret that I think Laura Bates is a feminist icon. The creator of the Everyday Sexism Project, author and ted talk member has stood up and said enough is enough. It is because of her that I realised that a lot of the ‘banter’ I’d felt uncomfortable with and fought against for years, only to be told I was overreacting, was actually assault. It made me feel better that I wasn’t ‘just overreacting’. After reading Everyday Sexism last year I eagerly pre ordered Girl Up and I’m so glad I did. I felt that in comparison to Laura’s last book this is much more about her finding her own voice within her writing. Not only was it funny but also distinctive in tone as well as topic.

While you could argue that this is aimed more at teenagers in some parts of the book, it’s fine with me because I really learnt a lot from this book. It’s true that there are some chapters that seem to be geared towards teenage girls but if I’d have had this book to clutch in my hormonal hands as a spotty teen I think I would have stood up for myself more. I would have been more vocal about my body, about sexism and about the fact that I have a voice too, something that was repeatedly silenced. Authors like Laura are using humor and wit to bring embarrassing subjects into the spotlight and make it easier for them to talk about. At the same time as a 21 year old, while reading I felt like Laura was an older sister I never had. She doesn’t shy away from the fact that she didn’t always call herself a feminist, that she too shied away from inappropriate comments and behaviour at the fear of ‘kicking off’. 

I one hundred percent feel that books like this alongside, How to be a Woman, The Vagenda, Letters to my Fanny and more will help to create a stronger set of young women who can feel proud to not only be women, but to be themselves. Oh and before I forget there are also dancing vagina’s because who doesn’t want a page of dancing vagina’s. I’m going to stop saying that now, even though I can’t explain how brilliant it is. All I want to say is READ IT, READ IT, READ IT! Of course I gave this 5 stars (*****), absolutely brilliant, well written and inspirational. Go and give it a read NOW!

Remember to connect with me on Goodreads here to see what I’m reading!