"It is important to change the conversation for the next generation, our children, male or female. It is important to create a more open experience.
There is hardship from the get-go, the first thing that distinguishes us, female from male, after childhood when the distinction is little, is that our bodies move in different directions. Our first introduction to womanhood is like ‘well this is the first of a long slog of things that are hard’, that men don’t have to go through.
It felt like it was forced upon us, rather than something you can learn about and actually there are many ways that you can balance and work with it, even at school, even at a sexual health clinic, we were never spoken to about that side, only the hardships. Now I think, if someone had sat down with me and explained or shared, I don’t know how much would have stuck but knowing our cyclic nature can be beautiful and unique and it doesn’t always have to be about pain and blood, if that had been explained, if that seed would have been planted, the connection made earlier, I think that the tougher years, through puberty, when emotions are crazy would have been smoother.
There is reassurance in our patterns, to be read rather than controlled.
I remember in year four, watching a video, a cartoon about periods, about the bleed; there were cartoon tampons and period pads dancing. I think it all tied into sex. It was taught as a small portion of the bigger topic, rather than being introduced as its own entity, it was a part of something. You will bleed, you will be moody the week before… then a nurse explained the logistics of products and remedies for pms.
I noticed the same thing would happen month after month, but it was still in the physical realm, there was no consciousness about how I felt emotionally, or what those links were, until we worked and spoke about the cycle in more depth, with charting, and reflecting, noticing that when I ovulate I am crazy about things and the week after ‘woah why was I so crazy?’ and that being reflected in the physical and how I move. So coming from no knowledge, my eyes were opened.
Cervical mucus can be an even stranger taboo, for so long I was ashamed of it. If I was with a man and I had dark coloured knickers on I would move them out of sight and probably even now, though I know my partner knows and has seen, he does my washing! He probably knows more than I do.
I read about dulux creating a period colour red, a classic crimson associated with bleeding, but how many experiences does that miss out? It re-enforces the image that there is a correct way to bleed, where are the cream colours that represent the rest of our cycle?
I find it empowering, above anything, to gather this knowledge. It is an interesting journey to explore, because its my body is giving me signs. We often say we don’t know why we are unwell or feeling a particular way, but we do, we just need to listen.
I remember seeing my mum and a sanitary towel, but I would have never heard my mum speak to my dad about it, saying ‘I feel a certain way’ and I wonder how many homes have this as a complete taboo, no speak of it, off the table subject. It is important to change the conversation for the next generation, our children, male or female. It is important to create a more open experience.
It took me until far too recently, within the last four years, to actually understand the process of conception, of fertility, of ovulation, the stages between, I thought that you bleed and for the rest of the time you can get pregnant.
I didn’t know the body went through specific cycles to get you to that point, to create the environment to potentially create a baby. I didn’t connect to the cyclic nature, the pattern that unfolds, until I really started moving (as a dancer) and understanding my body working as one.