Get out your ugly undies because it’s that time of the month. The dreaded 3-5 days that comes around to destroy all plans and hopes of your future because the lining of your uterus is shedding and you are convinced this may be the time that your period actually kills you. Let’s take this back to the start; the very first time my lady garden hose sprung a leak. I screamed and my Mum came running to find me crying in the toilet, sobbing about one of the most gloriously frightening parts of being a human with a uterus. I was hoping my big sister Chris would have some words of wisdom, she would know what to say to calm my tits after unlocking the level of womanhood known as my menstrual cycle. She told me that it was natural and normal and that I was just growing up.
While all true, I was still petrified. Could everyone tell that I was bleeding? Could people see the surfboard sized pad that I was wearing through my pants? How was I going to swim? I clearly couldn’t do any of my normal activities while wearing this nappy under my clothes. Now, I wouldn’t even see a real life tampon for a few years yet let alone attempt to fumble my way through inserting one – I was only 9 – so obviously the only solution was to stay home for the entire duration of shark week and hide my period away in shame.As the years went by I learned that I could actually get on with my normal life and although sometimes painful and almost always monstrously uncomfortable, bloated or not. Life went on.
I think back to high school when my Aunt Flow would drop in unannounced regularly. You would think that someone, anyone, would have an emergency stash of tampons but of course I was caught out on more than a few occasions. Folding toilet paper and placing it inside your underwear is hardly a well thought out plan but hey, whats a girl to do?
It was also the time that I discovered the universal girl code of asking your bestie to check you when you stand up from sitting in class or at lunch or in a cinema. If by chance you have managed to misjudge your flow, tying a jacket or jumper around your hips was hardly ‘cool’ but a quick fix to hide whatever mess was going on down south.
You live and you learn. You figure out your flow and prepare accordingly with chocolate, The Notebook, tissues and enough sass to dish out to anyone who dares mess with you while the river runs red.
My period has completely ruined quite a few moments in my history over the years no matter how badly I tried to plan.There was the time (before I was comfortable using tampons) that I sat in a tub for hours before a water polo carnival hoping the water would somehow cork me up and avoid any unnecessary embarrassment. Oh and just in case, I wore a wing free pad too. Let’s take a moment to imagine just how well that went down once I jumped into the pool…
There are the countless times my uterus has totally twat blocked me too, including but certainly not limited to today. A cute human has the hots for what’s in the box and I am out for the count. Of course we could wait, of course we could just take a shower or lay a towel down – I have and probably will do all of these again at some point – but fuuuuuuck! Why today Menzies, whyyyyyyy?!?!
While we are asking whyyyyyyy, why don’t we have a think about whyyyyyy menstrual products are taxed through the wazoo and more importantly, spare a thought for the people out there who don’t have access to them at all!
As Jennifer Weiss Wolf writes, “Around the globe, managing menstruation can be a debilitating, even deadly, problem – fueled by a combination of poverty, misinformation, stigma and superstition. One in ten girls in Africa misses school for the duration of her period each month. In Bangladesh, infections caused from filthy, contaminated rags are rampant. Menstrual hygiene has been linked to high rates of cervical cancer in India.”
So yeah, being bloated during a water polo carnival or figuring out when to plan or re-arrange your hot date seems like a bit of a privileged, first world problem to me now. If this is ringing true for you, you can learn more about how to help women locally here: Share The Dignity.
Moon cups, tampons, pads (self-made or purchased), it don’t matter to me; whatever you’re into my dear. Just please, let’s stop shaming each other for how we choose to go with our own flow. While we’re at it and for the love of all things Carefree, can we actually stop teaching young girls to be afraid or ashamed of their period all together?Now, I have a very cute human in my bed waiting for me to finish writing this so that I can get back to shark week consolation snugs so I’ll leave you with this; having your period is neither embarrassing or shameful. It’s just a part of life and news flash people – without them you wouldn’t even be here! So embrace the blood and focus on just how incredible the human body is.