**Today’s post is a very personal one about menstruation; you’ve been warned**
This past Saturday was National Period Day, and I meant for this post to go live then but things came up so it’s going live today.
I actually found out about it from Own Every Piece, a name that should be familiar around here since I’ve mentioned them on the blog before. I saw a post on one of their social feeds and checked out the Houston chapter of Period Inc. to find out more about the day. And I loved what I read!
This initiative is something that’s needed, something that should’ve been around ages ago but now that it’s here I’m definitely supporting it. It’s about standing up against the stigma surrounding periods and advocating for better access to menstrual products for everyone.
Now I don’t know about y’all, but most women I know have at least one embarrassing period story. Mine just so happens to have taken place on the marching field at band practice. I was a “late bloomer” and didn’t start my period until high school. At that time band was life and it wasn’t uncommon to find me on the marching field and since I was fairly new to the game of periods I wasn’t 100% comfortable wearing tampons. I was still learning my body and how heavy my flow was, so I was completely embarrassed when a fellow flutist tapped me after we finished marching a set to tell me that I’d bled through my shorts. It was the middle of the summer so I didn’t have a sweatshirt to tie around my waist, and even though the stain wasn’t big I felt like everyone could see it as I exited the marching field. I didn’t have a change of clothes so I ended up leaving practice early and I’m pretty sure the heightened emotions of the month played a big part in me breaking down in tears as I waited to be picked up.
I wasn’t embarrassed about ruining my clothes, I was embarrassed that everyone (or at least I thought it was everyone at the time, I later found out most people weren’t even paying attention to me as I left the field) knew that my body was doing what it was supposed to do.
Let me say that again.
I was embarrassed that people knew that my body was doing what it was supposed to be doing.
I was embarrassed by a normal bodily function and looking back, that’s crazy!
We as women are often forced to pay taxes on tampons, pads, liners, etc and these are items that are needed during our periods. The “pink tax” is something that shouldn’t exist in my opinion. We’re often embarrassed to ask other women if they have spare pads or tampons if we’re in a public setting, or better yet we hide them as we walk to the restroom in our offices or at school. I know women who do that to this day, women who are older than me who still take clutches into the restroom because they don’t want anyone to see that they’re bringing a tampon or pad in there.
Periods shouldn’t be taboo.
Now I haven’t had a period in a long time thanks to my Mirena, but when I was bleeding regularly I was not ashamed to openly ask about tampons or pads and I definitely wasn’t hiding them when I went to the bathroom. The women in my life taught me that having a cycle isn’t something to be ashamed of.
We’ve got to start having these tough conversations, not only with other women but with men so that this stigma can go away. And we also have to be inclusive when we’re discussing periods. Not every woman has a period, and not everyone who has a period is a woman. I really hope that these bigger companies that make menstruation products include our trans community in future marketing because they need to be included.
And I know I said it before, but I’m going to say again and I’ll keep saying it until it sticks in people’s mind.
Periods shouldn’t be taboo.