What is your relationship with your period?
It’s no secret that periods are a pretty big taboo in our society. Often, periods aren’t talked about a whole lot, and if they are, it’s generally only to explain the stereotypical moodiness or pain the person is experiencing. People who bleed or know someone who bleeds know that periods are so much more than moodiness, pain and ‘dealing’ with a problem, but nobody seems to talk about it! How can we begin to talk about it, though? Where do we even begin?
Periods are far from a one size fits all situation. Everything varies. The length of the period; the length of the cycle; the heaviness of the flow; the pain or lack of; the moods; the energy levels… and this can even change from cycle to cycle.
What happens when you get a group of menstruators together and open up the conversation? What happens if there’s no cookie-cutter mould for how you’re ‘supposed’ to talk about your period? What if there’s no judgement on how you experience your period? What if… you could just share? If you could begin to explore your own relationship with your body? That’s exactly what Wā decided to explore when they ventured up to Auckland in November–how can we get people talking?
A single question was asked of the group to open up discussion, and what a question it was!
What is one word you would use to describe your relationship with your period?
Some of the words that came up were: messy; complicated; journey; horrible and learning. Each of these words is full of power and full of emotion. It can be super hard to take a moment and tap into how you really feel about your period, and each of these words is courageous and full of truth. Nobody else can tell us how we do, experience or see our bodies and flow, and nobody has the right to say that any of those words are wrong. To me, that’s pretty powerful. By connecting and speaking the word that feels right for you, you are deconstructing any pre-existing taboos about how you experience your period. You’re choosing how you describe your body, putting yourself back into the driver’s seat. Menstrual product advertisements, school puberty lessons, friends and family discussions (or lack of) don’t get to tell you how to feel about your period. The only person who can do that is you.
I challenge you to think about your word. This isn’t just for menstruators! If you don’t identify with menstruating, chances are you have people in your life who do. How do you relate to them? What do you think about this crazy world of cyclic blood? Do you love it? Does it scare you? Does it make you uncomfortable? Do you just wish it would all go away?
This month, take a moment to connect to your feelings about periods. Remember, there’s no right or wrong. Your body is yours. Your feelings are yours. Your experiences are yours. Your word, whatever it is, is fluid, beautiful and valid.
To find your word you might like to…
Be in a quiet place.
Take a few deep breaths.
Notice what the first thing or feeling that comes up when you think about your period.
Be kind to yourself!
Try not to overthink it! This is all about starting a conversation with yourself so that maybe, you can start one with others. Let’s dismantle the period taboo, one word at a time.