I am on my period and I am not ashamed.
Bodily functions tend to be something that isn’t talked about much. However, with generations getting older and opening up books like Everyone Poops for children making bathroom activities a topic to accept and be okay to talk about, opens up room to talk about other issues and needs people have with their bodies.
The topic that is discussed in this blog today will be about menstruation.
Menstruation doesn’t been to be defined on here, we know what it is. Some of us deal with it regularly or irregularly. Here is my journey on how my body and mind have changed over the years on the topic of menstruation.
My first period started the night February 7, 2006. I will never forget that date and the shame that accompanied it for several years after. I woke up in the middle of the night after celebrating my dad’s birthday with my family, my stomach was in crippling pain, a pain that I had never felt before. I got out of bed and found my mom, asked for some ibuprofen, she told me to go to the bathroom and I found a scene that scared me. I knew what it was, I knew that I was not to talk about it, not to complain, or show that my body was in pain, that this pain and suffering was something that I had to deal with silently.
I would hide the fact for years that I had gotten my period. I was so ashamed that my body was doing something natural, I would hide pads in my room and go out of the way to dispose of them. Tampons weren’t an option because my mom didn’t use them, and I only could steal what I could from the box in back of the bathroom cabinet without my mom noticing.
I hid my changing body until 2011, when a friend wanted to go swimming when I was on my period. I had to turn her down, even though we were going to go to my favorite spot. After some uncomfortable conversations with her, she introduced me to tampons, and to being comfortable with my body.
Now it took me awhile to be where I am at now, on birth control, knowing exactly when my period is going to start, not ashamed of any part of my body and it’s functions. If I have an issue and it is bothering me, you’ll know. I am a firm convert to menstrual cups, I know how much I produce, when my cramps are at their zenith, and I am not scared of my body or anyone else's.
What I Want To Do About It.
Most women, and trans-men, are affected by their period, some more than others. Most of us were told to be embarrassed about it, some were told that it makes them a woman, and others were told to just deal. The lucky ones had others in their life that make talking about their bodies comfortable and acceptable. But the general public tends to shame women about being open with their bodies, there is tax on necessary items, tampons are slid up sleeves, we get told to not talk about it, to suck it up. It’s not our jobs to suck it up, that’s what tampons are for.
Here is what we can do about it. Let’s help spread the acceptance to talk about our bodies, our issues, to know that it is okay. We deserve the right to be able to have access to feminine care, to not have to pay tax on pads, and tampons. Condoms are given away free, but yet to get a pad or tampon a box is $5 or above. This is saying that for men to have safe sex is more important than for a woman to take care of her body.
There are people on the streets that have to free bleed, use socks or whatever they can find to deal with their bodies. Some who do have access to feminine care tend to use the products for longer than they should, which increases the risk for infections. If feminine products were treated like condoms, given out more frequently, or even sold at reasonable prices women would benefit. If everyone was taught about our bodies, taught that we have pain, informed and not ashamed, all sexes would benefit from being educated about all bodies.