My Period Experience
Updated: Aug 9, 2019
Having my period has not been a walk in the park. Please don’t get me wrong: I am incredibly privileged in terms of my family and identity. I have been able to afford all sorts of products that I need, and even some that I want. My parents are nothing but supportive, and overall I could not be better off when it comes to menstruating. This is not to say that menstruating itself is not stigmatized.
When I first got my period I was twelve years old and terrified. I had been educated about all things menstruation, but I was still very afraid. Fast forward a few years after learning how to contain blood, developing a regular cycle and knowing when I should buy chocolate. In theory, I have no problem with having a period, but what absolutely makes my blood boil is the secrecy and shame associated with having a period!
For as long as I can remember I have never wanted to share much about having a period, even with my close friends and parents. There was an element of uncleanliness that sums up how I felt about myself while on my period.
I quite firmly believe that anyone who has a period should be able to express their concerns, discomfort, as well as feelings of empowerment and pride. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this natural bodily function; this should be indisputable.
Every time I had my period at school, the shame associated with asking to go to the restroom, and having to dash out of the room with my backpack in hand was unbearable. I take pride in having a period and being female; I feel frustrated by feeling the need to hide the fact that I menstruate.
I am not one to be ashamed of myself, but to this day I still associate ear and shame with having a period. I am constantly working towards being more accepting of menstruation, but years piled on top of years of societal discrimination is not easy to shed.
At this point, I actively practice - to put it bluntly - flipping off the system to counter these stigmas against menstruation. Here are a few ideas to help you work towards being completely accepting of menstruation:
Be proud of yourself. No matter who you are, the identities you hold, if you menstruate or not, if you have menstruated, make sure that you are proud of yourself. One of the most inspiring activist concepts that I have ever heard espouses the ideal that if you are proud of yourself and your identities, you are inviting others to be proud of their identities as well.
End the silence. If we continue to be secretive and painfully discrete about menstruation it will never be accepted. We must constantly talk about, engage in, and promote menstruation. Speak to friends, family members, acquaintances, really anyone, about menstruation. I recently had a long conversation with a friend about our periods. It was incredibly enlightening and comforting to be in a place where there was no shame associated with periods. Whenever possible and safe, try to have conversations about menstruation; make it clear to people that you are not ashamed of your body in the slightest.
Use real period talk. Let’s try to cut the use of ‘code words’ when referencing menstruation. We all know and have used different terms to refer to periods instead of being blunt. From ‘Aunt Flow’ to ‘That time of the month’ to resorting to using blue ‘blood’ in period commercials in order not to offend delicate sensibilities, this needs to stop. Let’s not shy away from real blood, the word ‘period,’ as well as the fact that over half of the population actually experiences a period.
Promote periods. Be it lobbying, writing letters to the editors, making posters, protesting, or even just educating everyone around you, make sure to continue to takes stances within your communities.
This is a part of my period story. There will be more details to come in the future, but I hope that you all will share yours. Sign in and write a few paragraphs about your period experiences. No matter who you are or how unique you feel your experience is, write some thoughts, every piece counts!