Menstrual Hygiene Day - #abloodyconversation

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Today is Menstrual Hygiene Day, and even though menstruation is one of the most normal things in a woman’s life, it's still a big-ass taboo that negatively affects + impacts far too many girls and women worldwide. They suffer because of society’s messed-up ideas about THEIR menstruation. It's why I wrote Code Red, it's why I talk about it in Love Your Lady Landscape and it's why I won't stop talking about it despite how icked out it continues to make people. Now I don't particularly dig the words 'menstrual' + 'hygiene' together, it conjures up images of blue liquid being used instead of blood to promote 'sanitary protection' (yet more vocab that makes me a whole lot of angry - grrr) + personally, I think the day should be totally re-branded and called ' menstrual health day' but sadly I'm not in charge, and I celebrate the wins for womankind where I can, so a day where we talk about periods is TOTALLY cool with me.

Over on social media, I'm busting myths about menstruation, come + check me out on twitter, Instagram + FB + I'm encouraging YOU to have #abloodyconversation too. If you love the idea but are afraid of sharing it on social media, I get it. Not everyone wants to talk about the fact they bleed, some women are totally icked out by their own period, but unless we talk about it, it'll remain totally okay for girls not to be able to attend school because they're bleeding and the misconceptions, the shaming and the fear of a woman’s monthly cycle will continue to be our 'norm'. You don't need to say you love it and embrace your monthly SHE powers if that's not how it is for you, the bloody conversation is ALL OF IT.

These are some of the responses I got when I asked for a bloody conversation with my SHE squad (the women who let me send them SHE mail each week!)

"...In my twenties I moved to New York inspired by Sex in the City, hip hop and Broadway. I'm that kinda eclectic.  I spent the first month seriously burning the candle at both ends and the middle.  When I am tired and stressed I get horrific period pains. So bad I just need to crawl into a dark hole and loudly moan and thrash about. There were no dark holes available to me on the 50th floor of my  skyscraper office other than under my desk. So under I went. This resulted in my colleagues calling an ambulance and me getting taken in the lift on a stretcher to hospital. All the time I was pulling the mask off my face and trying to explain that I didn't think I had medical insurance and I couldn't afford to pay! The following month I decided not to repeat the 400 dollar ambulance trip and when I felt the pain coming on I headed to the subway. Halfway home I was in so much pain I started to panic and my body seized up. A man who only spoke Spanish helped me off the train only to have the transport police try to arrest him because they thought he was mugging me. Talk about a bloody drama!..."

- L

"...I don't specifically remember my first bleed but I remember being excited to try my pads that I picked out with my mom when my friends menstruated for the first time.  We talked about it and it felt exciting until the cramps set in.  I have always had painful cramps unfortunately.

I remember the first weekend I used a tampon.  My mom bought me a box and talked me through it so that I could still swim on the Girl Scout trip.  Ironically this was a tradition that I carried on for years whenever a Girl Scout wanted to try a tampon on a trip I would talk her through it in the bathroom.  It got to the point where I carried a big bag of feminine supplies in every trip so that if anyone forgot or was surprised they could just borrow my black toiletry bag.  I am realizing now that I was blessed to talk and laugh about menstruation at a young age..."

- M

"...I am frustrated with my cycle. I was going regular for a good 6/7months i knew the exact date but then a couple mobths ago i missed a month then the following month it came at a different date, and then this month I have no idea when its coming. I love getting my period it is usually such a relief for me, I get really uptight and annoyed mega mega easily. I eat and eat and eat usually 2 weeks before, and literally feel as though my body is so stiff and stuck. I did have this all under control well the eating part because I started to notice patterns, and realised my eating habits got worse before my period and because I knew it was that, I could handle it and deal with it. But  my body has gone off path and I feel like I'm back to square 1. I know I'm feeling the way I do just now because I can't figure out where I am in my cycle and its driving me nuts!..."

- T

So dare to have #abloodyconversation today - on your blog, with friends, on social media - share one of the busted menstrual myths that you'll find on my social media feeds with your network + lets start the REDvolution!