My Endo Wardrobe

In a way, I was lucky that I was living in New York City when my endometriosis was at its worst. Not because of the medical care, as that was extremely disappointing for me. Rather, New York City is a place where you can, and might even be expected to, wear head-to-toe black.

Granted, I was never someone who wore white shorts or jeans, and nor have I ever wanted to. But, before endo, I had a massive collection of clothing. Plaid miniskirts. Orange corduroys. Pale blue shorts. I loved my wardrobe. Dressing was such a fun way to be creative.

Endo bleeding limited my style

But with endo, everything became too worrisome. I remember this faded red skirt I had back then. I remember being in a packed bar one night, and all I could think about was if anything was showing through on the skirt. I couldn’t think about anything else, even the cute grad student who was talking to me about his marine studies in the Galapagos. (It has been almost two decades since that conversation and I still remember what he was talking about!)

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That night, I stood in line for 20 minutes to use the restroom—because what bar ever has more than one stall for women. By the time I checked my appearance and came back out, he was gone. So was my taste for a colorful wardrobe. I gave it all up. Almost overnight.

I started favoring black pants, black skirts, and black dresses. Luckily, they’re professional enough, and easy to transition into a night out. They took away the fun of clothes, but also the worry. I completely forgot about clothes. Then, a few years later, I had the surgery that stopped the random and excessive bleeding.

How surgery made a difference

At first, I didn’t trust that the surgery had changed anything. I still religiously wore black, just in case. Then, a few menstrual cycles after the surgery, I realized that maybe something had shifted. I hadn’t noticed any in-between-periods bleeding since the surgery.

I didn’t go shopping right away, as that would have felt reckless. But I did dig out a few dresses patterned with tropical flowers. Stripes. I absolutely love patterns that are bright and loud and screaming for attention. To be able to wear what I wanted may seem like a trivial thing... To me, it was and is anything but.

Today, I wear what I want!

Living every day in mild stress over a health condition takes its toll in so many ways. The clothing was just one small, visible indicator of that bigger undercurrent of worry.

When I was able to exercise freedom again in dressing, I had tangible proof that I wasn’t worried or scared anymore. The clothes reflect my outlook throughout the whole journey, from the dark, pessimistic black to the carefree, happy bright prints. In time, I was able to start shopping again. The wardrobe grew every year. Today, I am the proud owner of a mostly not-black wardrobe, including hot pink yoga pants and mint blue shorts.

But still nothing white. That just will never be me.

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