Periods (Period).

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This and more menstrual accessories here.
‘Nice girls’ aren’t supposed to talk about periods.

It’s uncouth I suppose to discuss something so nasty. We’re cool to talk about sex to our heart’s content though and I’m starting to get a little tired of menstruation discrimination.

I’ve noticed a rise on my social media timelines of people I follow (and admire) being more candid about their bodies and bodily functions, and I’m here for that. So, this is my ode to periods.

Note: I do respect anybody’s decision not to read on. I’m not going to be unnecessarily graphic (maybe a bit) though I do love hilarious nicknames for menstruation.

To periods! Or, as my mother referred to it throughout my adolescence, ‘The Curse’. My preferred term is ‘Shark Week’ though sometimes I go with ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ (for particularly bad ones) or ‘Surfing the Crimson Wave’ (which is delightfully VISUAL).

Other great euphemisms for Aunt Flow:

  • Riding the cotton pony
  • On the blob/rag
  • Getting your red wings
  • In the red tent
  • Crime scene in my pants

I haven’t really thought this post through by the way, I’m just planning to go with the (heavy) flow (lol) and see where we end up. I have a couple of amusing period anecdotes that deserve to see the light of day. First of all though, I thought I’d share my personal period history.

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Illustration by Layla May Ehsan
I grew up with Judy Blume, in particular Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? in which the central characters were obsessed with finally getting their periods, so much so that one of them fakes it so she doesn’t feel left out.

I identified with these feelings of inadequacy all too much, spending so much of my adolescence fretting about my period, then boobs, then kissing, then virginity or my inability to even give it away. Silly, innit but comparison is the thief of joy and all we did back then was hold ourselves up against our friends and what they were doing.

I wasn’t even that late in finally ‘becoming a woman’. I was about 12/13 and on the day I discovered that first red spot, I also cracked my head open against a door. That’s right, in typical clumsy girl fashion I ended the day bleeding from both ends. It was cool though, Mum got us fish & chips for supper and all was good with the world again.

Periods ever since then have been more of a blessing than a curse as they marked another month of avoided pregnancy. That makes me sound far more sexually active than I was but I’m talking after the age of 18, when I got a bit of action. Now I’m heavily implanted and have the most sporadic periods, like three months off, three months continual, like clockwork or every fortnight. There’s no way to tell how it’ll go and it’s (bloody) annoying.

But that’s the way the tampon swings, eh?

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Illustration by Layla May Ehsan
By the way, don’t you just love how disgusted men still are by period talk? How, if you buy a packet of female products at the Co-op they get all shifty, no matter their age? Or how, all too often you get told to shut up if you dare mention you’ve got the painters in?

Dudes – literally every female in your life does or has bled on a regular basis since they came of age and you still find it gross? Try starting your period unexpectedly in a floaty dress with minimal knicker coverage and then we’ll talk. We bleed, it’s never pleasant but there’s little we can do I’m afraid. And the more you insist we should keep this kind of talk to ourselves, the more I think we should chat openly about it. Squirm, motherfuckers!

This isn’t about men though, it’s about celebrating the monthly visitor that annoys the fuck out of us most of the time but has definite plus points, such as period days (blankets, food, Netflix), chocolate as medicine, hot baths and being at one with your sisters. When your cycle syncs with your work mates it is the best, the tea and sympathy flow – and the men stay the fuck away.

Back to those anecdotes. When my best friend L and I were at college, and more interested in bad boys and wine than studying, we hung out with a group of ne’er-do-wells who later ended up in prison (another story). One day we were at their flat and they’d gone out.

L and I were doing our thing, drinking, dancing and snooping – and somehow a used sanitary towel ended up left on the mantelpiece by accident (it happens). L realised several hours later when she was back home and decided to call her man and tell him to throw it away without looking at it (it was wrapped in tissue paper, we weren’t heathens).

He obviously unwrapped it and went ballistic. It’s still one of the funniest stories ever, mainly because he was a big burly thug who couldn’t deal with a tiny amount of female blood.

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Illustration by Layla May Ehsan
I also heard the best ever period story through a friend of a friend who happened to be Russian (so the story told in her accent made it even better). She was at a house party slow-dancing with a man to Chris De Burgh‘s Lady in Red (you can’t make this up).

As they shimmied romantically, she felt her sanitary pad slip out (this may have been before the invention of ‘wings’). As it headed down her leg towards her ankle she was somehow able to perform a precision high kick, which sent the pad flying underneath a nearby wardrobe. The guy didn’t notice, nor did anybody else and I challenge any one of you to tell me a better story involving the same song.

So there ends period talk 101 with me, your host, A Voluptuous Mind. For the record, I am currently on the blob hence some of my aggression and I have felt almost too weak to do a lots of stuff this weekend and week so far. But it’s nothing a jumbo pack of Peanut M&Ms and a good book won’t cure.

No clue how to sign this off so I will just say: How do you period, girls? ❤

 

Snark Week

tumblr_mxe1k65x7L1qei7a7o1_1280I’ve started this post many times and then deleted the lot. It’s one that is close to my heart hence the deliberation over whether to publish it. In the end though, I want my blog to be a happy place and I think honesty leads one to ultimate happiness in the end.

So I’ll try again.

These days I am about not snarking on people. Other people’s bodies, lifestyles, favourite hip hop record – none of these things are my business and therefore my opinion isn’t really required.

I slip up, of course I do, and in the past (even present) I have said unkind things about people, maybe about what they were wearing or their behaviour, if I haven’t necessarily agreed with it. I have been unkind and it’s no fun admitting that. Yes, I have been mean and ignorant at times.

I think most people have if they think about it. That doesn’t excuse me, I know what I have said or even thought, and I regret all of it. Sometimes, the things I have said have been born purely of my own inadequacies and say everything about me, nothing about the other person.

I think I have changed an incredible amount over the last two years. My core is the same but I like to believe that by stepping away from negative influences (again, not excusing myself), I have been able to work on the areas I don’t like about myself.

I’m not blaming these less-than-healthy connections for my behaviour, it’s more about how I felt about myself at the time.

I think I just want to go on record as a person who has learnt from her mistakes. I’m not suggesting I’m a former yob who’s bullied people and spewed abuse at strangers in the street – I would never and I abhor the cowards who do. I’m just very aware that I can be bitchy and I don’t want to be anymore, about anybody.

I love that things like #honourmycurves and #effyourbeautystandards are becoming prevalent on Twitter and Instagram. I have recently read horrifying accounts from people I love and respect about the things they have endured at the hands of horrible bullies and I hate it.

I’m absolutely with them on their right (and mine) to walk down the street without being stared at or abused. Purple hair, big thighs, Gothic attire or two heads, it’s nobody’s business.

We all need to be nicer and we all need to work on acceptance – of ourselves and of others. I know it’s an idealistic view that we will one day stamp it all out but it can happen. It’s a long old road but I want to be right there when it does.

And to anybody I’ve ever upset with a flyaway comment, I’m sorry. In the past I might have said something behind your back because I have made assumptions about you or because I was being judgemental (or was ‘concerned’ about you) and this is probably worse. I’m sorry.

I’m working really hard on that and won’t be doing it again.