MOONBLOOD CHRONICLES: LET'S TALK ABOUT IT.
Oh Menstruation. A series of natural body processes that 50% of our current population experiences (at some point in their life) yet still such an uncomfortable, taboo topic. I've always been one of those girls who loooooves to talk about periods. Why can't we just chat about it? I'll spare the gory details for my best friends. I mean, it's definitely not the sexiest topic. How is it any different than talking about farts? When I was a tween, I wanted everyone know I was bleeding. Maybe I'd having a pad wrapper peeking out of my pocket or I might ask if anyone has Midol available. These days, I am no different. I have no problem milking my period symptoms and I want to discuss it all. Why don't my pants fit? How long has this pimple been on my chin? Why am I crying during a Windex commercial? No need to feel ashamed, it's biological. It's 2017 and I believe it's time to break the stigma about speaking openly about menstruation.
After reading The Red Tent in college, I continued to be fascinated with menstruation. The novel takes a minor biblical character and embellishes an interesting life story. It explores sisterhood, child-rearing, and the rituals that are associated with menstruation. So much of the book takes place within the familial menstrual hut. The tradition of sending women away from their communities during their menstrual cycle seems ancient, yet it is still practiced today in many countries. Menstruating women are seen as impure, therefore they cannot touch men or worship or prepare food. Recently, there have been menstrual hut deaths, due to animal attacks and inclement weather. And while I joke about how a monthly getaway with no chores actually sounds kinda cool, this is an antiquated practice that continues to endanger the lives of many young women.
My interest in menstrual health advocacy peaked after a school project led me to The Always Keeping Girls In School Campaign. The objective of the campaign was to encourage school-aged girls in developing countries (specifically in sub-Saharan Africa) to stay in school while they experience menses. With little to no proper puberty education, many young females are confused, embarrassed, and ashamed by their "condition". Lack of access to hygienic products and proper sanitation can create a serious barrier for young women around the world. There are no mf'n quarter tampon machines in the Subsaharan desert! It's not uncommon for girls to miss school for the duration of their period. In some cultures, they are not even able to work or step foot in the kitchen. Sometimes girls have to use leaves or newspaper, in lieu of a pad. Women are being punished for menstruating, which makes it impossible for them to exist in modern day society.
There are some really great campaigns out there raising menstrual awareness. The #PeriodPositive movement supports menstruation education and shame-free period talk. They encourage people to speak openly about menstruation without being shy or using code words. It's an instinct to be super hush hush about period talk. Mouthing words and hoping nobody notices your friends doing a butt check. Talking about periods should not be limited to when you're actually bleeding. The menstrual cycle is made up of four phases; follicular, ovulation, luteal, and menstrual. Our hormones react differently to each phases and there is even a Cycle Diet that encourages women to tailor their diets to their own specific cycle. (It's not all chocolate) So in essence, our bodies are constantly working through the reproductive process, which means we should talk about it whenever we want! Talking about periods should also not be limited to women only. Dudes should educate themselves about the reproductive process. Maybe there wouldn't be shows like Teen Mom or I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, if there were more candid conversations about periods. The more we talk about it, the more we can share with each other!
Menstrual Hygiene Day was created in 2013 as a way to support worldwide organizations that are working advocating for Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM). Celebrated on May 28, the essence of MH Day is the belief that MHM helps women reach their full potential in life. This might seem like such a foreign concept in the Western world but let's talk dissect this. According to this UNESCO report, one in ten girls in Sub-saharan Africa miss school during their period; the time missed is 20% of the school year! (This statistic applies to girls in Nepal, Afghanistan, India, among other countries.) It is not uncommon for girls to drop-out of school entirely after missing so much time. And if they do still attend school while menstruating, access to sanitary products, safe toilets, and clean water are still a challenge. Would you want to walk 17 miles to change a pad, especially when it makes you more vulnerable to gender-based violence? MHM is essential to ensuring that girls stay in school, continue their education, and have access to the same opportunities as their male counterparts. We might not be able to change cultural views on menstruation but we can encourage the new generation to think about it differently.
We Are Happy Period is another great movement continuing the menstruation conversation. The organization collects menstrual products and distributes these items to women in low-income and homeless communities. (LGBTQ, non-binary, teens, veterans, and disabled) These products are not limited to tampons and pads, but also wipes, soap, and underwear. In addition to donating products or money, #HappyPeriod encourages ambassadors to organize events, whether they are donation drives or assembling period kits. I just applied to become an ambassador, so stay tuned! No matter what your situation is, we all share the bond of menstruation. Everyone should have access to sanitary products and that's just that.
My desire to revisit this convo was after I had a crazy Solar Eclipse menstruation experience !!! The day before the Eclipse, I purchased a moonstone necklace. A stone with feminine energy that is great for women's cycles, fertility and conception. I had just been ooo'ing over a baby and my ovaries drew me to the necklace. The next day, I enjoyed the Eclipse and got my moon blood later that evening....SIX DAYS EARLY. I have not taken birth control in 9 years and my period always comes on the day that my FloLiving app says it will. It was a completely different menstrual cycle. I felt so in sync with my body starting a new menstrual cycle that aligned with the "White Moon". According to this Nylon article about Sacred Menstruation, bleeding during the new moon cycle is linked to fertility and motherhood. White Moon Women often feel a surge in intuition while finding the need to recharge with self-care. Isn't the moon and menstruation SO DAMN FASCINATING? Marie Claire wrote this article about how the Eclipse affected your body while Forbes threw shade at the topic.
For the past 16 months, this blog post has sat quietly in my drafts waiting for the perfect time to be published. Menstruation has always been one of my favorite conversations and I believe it is a topic that we shouldn't be embarrassed to talk about ! Society has shaped us into thinking that talking about periods should be a silent, private matter but why? Let's just talk about it. I wasn't sure how my Judys (male and female) would take to my enthusiasm for menstruation awareness. However, in my quest to find my 1,000 true followers (and an uncomfortable period experience this weekend), I decided it was time to make this post a reality? The point is to get the conversation rollin' because I have no reason to be ashamed! Who cares if I lose some followers, THAT'S ON YOU. I hope you'll stay tuned and stay engaged and continue to follow the Moon Blood Chronicles !
Let's keep this convo going!! Here's what I have coming up next....cycle apps, PMS remedies, period sex...What do you want to talk about?