I have wanted to make a series of posts like this for a while, in which I talk about my experience with periods, different products, how my education varied through the years, and what I’ve learnt since taking it upon myself to learn about my body.
So, to get introduced to the matter properly, let me take you back to when I was 11. It was Christmas Day, late in the evening, and all my family had gone home, the presents were all unwrapped, and I’d stuffed myself silly with food. I went to the loo and there it was – a big splodge of blood in my (very probably Harry Potter themed) knickers.
I scrunched them up, quickly changed, and ran downstairs to show my mam, who scurried me off to her room where she’d been storing a pack of period supplies in anticipation of this day.
I was definitely the first out of my group of friends to start their period, and I went through puberty reasonably early so it wasn’t a surprise I started at 11. But I didn’t talk to anyone about it. It my was big, embarrassing, shameful secret that I kept all to myself until one of my more confident friends started telling us she’d started hers at a sleepover once.
It was never something I talked about. Not even to my girl friends until the age of like 20? when suddenly it became acceptable to say ‘oh man, I’ve got cramps.’ Why? Why did I have to protest every time some jerk would be like ‘oh, you’re moody, you on your period?’ It was something that was secret and to be ashamed of.
So, why am I telling you this? Because it’s NOT something that should be a secret or to be ashamed of. Around half the population bleeds, will bleed, or has bled every month at some point in their life, and as people with vaginas, it’s something that hugely affects us. Whether it’s the ridiculous taxes on these ‘luxury’ items, to the shame of having to take your bag with you to the loo in the middle of class in school because everyone will know why you’re taking it, or the horrendous cramps and sickness that some people have to put up monthly while still juggling staying at work and functioning normally at the same time as wanting to pass out or throw up (or, you know, actually passing out or throwing up.) I want to talk about these things to erase the shame and embarrassment and taboo around them, and to educate those who are unaware about the issues that having a period brings about.
So now that we’re a little more acquainted with each other, look out for future Bleed Freely posts, and if you have any funny/embarrassing/unique period stories, send them my way!