I am a woman, therefore, I bleed. . It’s messy, it’s painful, it’s terrible, & it’s beautiful. . And yet, you wouldn’t know. Because I hide it. . I bury things at the bottom of the trash. I breathe, ragged and awkward through the cramps, all the while holding onto this tight lipped, painted on smile. . Tampons? What are those. We don’t say those words out loud. Hide them. In the back pocket of your purse, in the corner of the bathroom drawer, at the very bottom of your shopping cart (please let me get a female cashier). . Events or engagements get missed. I’ll tell myself it’s the PMS, sure, but it has more to with the risk of being “caught,” at what…I’m not quite sure. . And I’m lucky. . Over 100 million young women around the globe miss school or work for lack of adequate menstrual supplies, & fear of what might happen if the world witnesses A NATURAL BODILY FUNCTION. . WHY? . Because hundreds of years of culture have made us embarrassed to bleed. Have left us feeling dirty and ashamed. . STOP PRETENDING. Stop using silly pet names like Aunt Flo because you’re too afraid to say “I’m bleeding” or “vagina.” Stop wasting so much effort hiding the very thing that gives this species continuity. . START talking about it. Educate your daughters. Make them understand that it can be both an inconvenience and a gift, but NEVER something to be ashamed about. Educate your sons so they don’t recoil from the word tampon. So when a girl bleeds through her khaki shorts in third period (pun intended), they don’t perpetuate the cycle of shame and intolerance. . This #StartSomethingSunday , I want to highlight @corawomen . . Cora Women is a 100% Organic tampon company. . But that’s not all. They are also breaking barriers. Making it ok to talk about periods, even on social media. Providing personalized, delivered tampon/pad orders right to your door. AND for every box purchased, donating a box of sustainable pads to girls who can’t afford menstruation products. . Fuck yeah. That’s the kind of stuff I can galvanize behind, no money or even product needed. Just a mission I support on a topic we should ALL be talking about. . More ⬇️
As a young gymnast who often had to practice in revealing clothes regardless of whether or not I had my period, I often had nightmares about ending my floor routine in a big puddle of blood. I have a very heavy flow, and it’s always been that way, so struggling with leaks has been a constant problem for me.
Back in high school, the possibility of leaking through even two super-plus tampons and a pad during an hour-long class enveloped my life. I would hide tampons in my sleeve or take my whole purse to the bathroom. If a spot of blood made it past my arsenal and onto my pants, I would tie a giant sweatshirt around my waist and spend the rest of the day exquisitely stressed out about someone seeing it and finding out the truth: That I bleed, and sometimes, I leak.
Although the anxiety I’d get each month around the heaviest days of my period was palpable and terrible, I never really thought to sit down and dig into why I was feeling so ashamed about something that I really couldn’t control.
When I started getting into yoga about four years ago, I faced even more pressure to hide my period. Some yoga teachers still stand by long-disproved medical myths that menstruating women shouldn’t practice or shouldn’t invert because the “bad blood” will leak from your uterus to your brain or disrupt energy flow. As someone who has been happily going upside down for almost two decades during countless periods — despite fairly typical leaks for which I’ll take a break and clean myself up before returning to the mat — I find that sticking to my typical exercise routine both helps my cramps and steadies my period flow. Although, some women find heavy twists and inversions intensify their cramps, and prefer to modify accordingly.
Once we did an exercise…. . . Where we thought of the 10 biggest transitions in our lives. Ten changes spanning the long thread of memory. Ten events or occurrences that helped mold us. . . An injury An awakening A moment of AHA or perhaps… . Oh no. . . Once outlined on paper, we had to decide… . . . A. Had we initiated the transition or had it initiated us? And … . . B. Was it resolved? If not, were we ready to let it go? . It’s funny to watch what your mind first gravitates to. There are certain things that fling themselves to the surface, demand to hold space on your timelines. . . Others need to be dredged up and weighed. Often decisions must be made about what belongs and what wasn’t so defining after all. . . But there on that paper, I learned more about my life than any short stint in therapy. . . I learned that I am a doer. That I would prefer to DO than have done. . . . Nine of my ten ponderings were self-initiated changes. Only one single line item happened TO me. . . And maybe that’s indicative of many things. A lucky childhood. A life that some might call privileged. Or the heavy hand of self-control that has hovered over everything for as long as I can remember. . . Despite directing most of the plot-line, I could only cross off two lonely events as “resolved.” . . They tell us that we are more than what happened to us. That we mustn’t let the scars settle too deep on our hearts from the things that were beyond our control. . . But for me, it’s more than that. Maybe it’s more about letting go of the things that I directed, the imprints I pounded into existence with bruised knuckles and broken nails. . . It’s slow going, but I am learning to find peace with the transitions I triggered. Carefully unfurling my fists and extending my hands to possibility, as I both let go of all the things done to me, and forgive the things I did to myself. . . . . 📷 @lifeinanimage
Une photo publiée par Steph Gongora (@casa_colibri) le
When I teach long and physically intense workshops that coincide with my period, I still feel anxiety about leaking — the charade of pretending I’m not bleeding when I’m definitely bleeding gets exhausting.
I’d been thinking of doing a post about periods when some of my yoga friends mentioned they’d been approached by Cora Women, an organic tampon company, to do a sponsored Instagram post in exchange for a substantial supply of tampons. Although they wanted to support this particular brand, which donates a box of pads to girls in need for every box of tampons purchased, and loved the idea of payment in the form of something useful and otherwise expensive, my friends were torn about taking up this opportunity because of the taboo, the cloak of silence that surrounds women’s bodies and their cycles. Heaven forbid a women admits to urinating or farting, or even worse, bleeding from her vagina!