Period, on the rag, aunt flow is visiting, menstrual cycle… whatever you call it, more than half the world’s population experiences this, yet we treat it like a dirty secret.
We whisper to each other if we need any feminine items like we’re talking about bombs in an airport. We hide away tampons in zippered pouches and pass them to each other in public like we’re selling drugs. We wouldn’t dare set the women’s movement back by letting our work know that we can’t come in because we are doubled over in pain with cramps.
I am writing this on a plane and just found myself deleting the title so I wouldn’t make the guy next to me uncomfortable.
Don’t worry, I put the title back and made the font two sizes bigger.
Even among women, we have become brainwashed into believing all that is happening is we become bitches, this gross thing happens with our body and it’s a big fat pain for everyone involved.
We have been subconsciously shamed for this involuntary experience most of our lives.
How did this happen? I have no idea. I’m sure men’s discomfort with it played a role, but we have been willingly allowing it as well.
Years ago, I heard about a book called “The Red Tent,” which describes how women were sent off to a separate tent together during their cycle.
I remember thinking brilliant—not only do I love the idea of not having to try to pretend to be okay at work and to let my big bloated belly fly and drink wine and commiserate with other women—but I also loved the pure acknowledgement of it.
Yes, world, I am on my period. Leave me alone and point me toward my tent!
So how is it that while everything else in society progressed, and as women reclaimed their femininity more and more, we somehow became more embarrassed of this natural physical process?
A process that is the reason that any life can exist.
Maybe we wanted to minimize the things that made us different from men as we tried to assert that we were equal, but whatever the reason—I’m sick of it.
We are women, and once a month we bleed and it is beautiful.
Bleeding is the most vulnerable thing we can do as human beings. We literally shed our life’s source, to the point of feeling weak, as part of the process that allows life to be born within us. Short of childbirth, it is the most amazing function of the human body.
Yes, we get grumpy, emotional and even irrational. But I heard it said in an Urban Priestess workshop with Ashley Turner that during this time “a veil is lifted” and we have more direct access to the truth.
Just as we often grow the most during a heart break, this time of emotional intensity can also provide clarity if we let it. By design, it asks us to slow down, even lay down, and that alone is a gift.
When we waddle around with cramps, we favor and care for our body like we care for an injury. When we bloat to a size way beyond a food baby, with a broken out face and tired eyes, we look in the mirror and are asked to remember that being beautiful all the time is not our job.
Ladies, this process takes up a third of our life. It’s the process of creation.
It’s beautifully symbolic, and we need to stop apologizing for it. Men can get used to the sight of a tampon. They’ll live.
So pull out the stretchy pants and the dark chocolate and join me in telling the world: I’m on my period dammit and proud of it!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Amanda Fleming Taylor / Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Bogden Negoita/Pixoto