Period Shame

I went out for drinks and a late night snack a few nights ago with a couple girls from work. 

After ordering, we fell into conversation, as usual. At whatever point, the conversation turned toward birth control. I communicated my personal dislike for hormonal birth control and we discussed how soon one of us should go off of hers (she’s 25 and wants to have kids sometime in the fairly near future). 

Inevitably, this led to PERIOD TALK! One of my favorite subjects. I could tell these girls were not used to awesome talks about their periods because, although they were fine discussing the finer details, they would tone down their voices a little bit when certain words came up. I don’t remember how it started, but I mentioned that I don’t use pads or tampons any longer.

I was met with four deer-in-headlights eyes, and some uncomfortable laughter.

“What do you use then?”

“I didn’t know there was any other option. . . “

And so, I delved into my DivaCup! I explained the basics of what it is and how it works. And I was flooded with questions.

“How do you like. . . get it up there?”

“Aren’t you worried about leaking?”

“No, but really, how does it go up there?”

I answered as best I could, but it’s hard to explain without an image or physical object. 

When the subject of price came up, I gave them the info. 

“Wait what?! That much!?”

Yes, but it lasts up to 10 years if it’s taken care of.

More blank stares.

It’s reusable. . . You take it out and dump it and rinse– 

“Oh, hell no. I’m done.”

And there, ladies (and gents if you’re still here), is where I lost my dear friend. The other girl was fine to keep listening (she’s a nurse so she was more intrigued than anything). But I knew I had lost the other one. And I began thinking to myself, how is it that we still feel this way about our bodies? How is it that something so natural that happens every single month is so horrifying to us?

As biological females, we have the capacity to create life inside of us. We hold the key to continuing the human race (or maybe we’re the lock, if you’re into dirty metaphors). Yet we continue to treat our bodies like TRASH when we should be treating them like TEMPLES. We stuff our vaginas with chemical laden rayon and hide from the world when we’re menstruating. We dose ourselves with enough pain meds to sleep for hours on end and not experience our periods. We eat junk because that’s what we think our bodies need. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Menstruation doesn’t have to be ugly and painful. How do I know? Dude, I’ve been there.

After YEARS of periods where my cramps made me nauseated, doubled over in constant pain, I’m finally opening up to my cycle. My last cycle, I had one day of moderate cramps, followed by four days of bleeding where I was simply another part of my day. To be honest, I kind of enjoyed it. The week before I ate super healthy foods to keep my body and energy in good alignment. I obviously allowed myself chocolate. Delicious, organic, dark chocolate – filled with antioxidants and the flavor I craved. 

My point is that it actually makes me sad when I hear these reactions from people. I just want to reach out and take them in. I want to teach them to be in tune with their bodies instead of being ashamed of their natural cycles. Do I think we all have to adore and look forward to menstruation? No. Everyone has their own take on it. But this self-hatred and shame needs to come to an end. It’s time to stand up.