Welcome to Shark Week Chicas! You know how we’re always blabbing about destigmatizing periods? Wondering when that is gonna happen? This week, we’re getting dirty. Let’s talk about blood blood blood—it’s time for BATTLE. (A content warning for those of you that might find this topic uncomfortable. But we encourage you to read on for delightfully juicy content!)
Cassidy: To My Menstruating Missus,
I bled through my jeans last night. It took me by complete surprise, which is generally the case, but this time was different. The “oh shit” feeling of abruptly getting your period—especially in a public space—is a very distinct one. Almost similar to peeing your pants, in the sense that your panties are suddenly soaked and you feel like there is a bright spotlight on your ass calling attention to the fact that you had the AUDACITY to menstruate. Except you couldn’t hold it in if you tried, and the aftermath is significantly harder to clean. It’s usually an excruciatingly embarrassing and uncomfortable experience.
Last night, I genuinely thought I had peed my pants. I kid you not. And when I realized I had, instead, stained my new lacy number from Target with the corpse of my intrauterine lining, I honestly was kinda excited. I haven’t bled, like really bled, in two years—ever since I got a hormonal IUD shoved up into my uterus. I’d almost forgotten what it was like. Like hey, it’s been a while. It feels like greeting an old friend, I told my roommate. And then I went out dancing.
Contemporary birth control has completely transformed the period experience. Along with many other *modern* menstruators, I was pretty stoked about being able to cut my period out of my life. Before Chica, my period was not what you would call a great time. And I couldn’t help but hate it. In sharp contrast to most people who hate their periods, however, I was blessed with a mother who raised me to regard bleeding as sacred and a source of power rather than shame. She even held a surprise “Red Tent” party when I first got my period. The influential femmes in my life showed up at our house, wearing red and ready to welcome me into some weird hippie thing called “sacred womanhood.”
Did you know that Hallie from Lunar Wild had the same experience? We spent the majority of our phone call last week reflecting on the power of a period-positive parent holding space for your first encounter with what the hell is this in my pants and why does it suck so much? In retrospect, I can acknowledge what a privilege that was. At the time, I was just so totally embarrassed and wanted to be left to detest my uterus in peace.
Yesterday was the first time I can remember truly loving my period, in all its messiness. Considering I am half of the executive crew for this company, one would think that this would have happened sooner. But I apparently needed to have a good long break to realize that I missed bleeding every month. It was as cathartic as a good cry.
Our mission as a brand and a company is to help people everywhere “love their period.” I’ve had some people confess to me that they think that is a stretch. Look forward to eating chocolate, sure. Get stoked on less pain and suffering, sure. Love the period itself? Maybe not. But I think loving your period is a process, a conscious and intentional one that is as difficult as learning to properly accept yourself. To listen to and take care of and honor your body is a radical form of self love. And how incredible it is to approach your period without fear. You are powerful, baby. You are a warrior, coated in blood, paying homage to your power to renew.
I know we’re synced because our “Eat Chica” reminders pop up at the same time on our calendar. How is your #chicaweek going?
A toast to wearing our new Thinx together,
Elise: To the winner of Sexiest Pant Stain,
As you know, I was want to be reckless in high school and enjoyed experimenting, and one day I decided to stop taking ibuprofen during my period. That’s not an easy habit to stop. I used to get really aggravating back pain and it made it difficult to sit in class during my period. I had to grit my teeth and acknowledge that my period was really happening. Instead of hiding my back pain, I chose to completely listen to how my body feels while transitioning into a new cycle. My favorite part of my period is spending time with my own tenderness, a reminder to touch myself softly. When I stopped taking over-the-counter painkillers, my period pain did not go away completely, but it did improve, which I celebrated. However, the experiment did not last forever, as high school was an environment where I didn’t need to focus as much. I transitioned back into taking ibuprofen once college and work made it so that I told myself I didn’t have time to move slower.
Chica has been an opportunity to return to paying close attention to my natural rhythm. My mom never held a first bleeding party (she was out of town for both of her daughter’s firsts), but she did push me to think critically about the effects of hormonal birth control. Because of my mom, I learned of other ways to control contraception without using hormones, and I’ve never lost touch with my monthly rhythm. However, it still feels like an old friend is returning to say hello. Plus, now that I have cute reusable products to wear (like my Cute Fruit Undies that let me bleed on Pence’s face) I have virtually no dread of not being prepared.
I love hearing that you were a little punk and happy to find a red stain. I once spotted on my white tennis skirt and unabashedly twirled around in it. What can I say, we had just started Chica, and I was on a high of loving my period. I still am. Paying attention to our own rhythms is not just about bleeding, but also everything that happens in between, which more often than not causes us to question whether or not we are peeing our pants. We can inspect our own fluids and learn to tell whether we are ovulating, etc. After all, our menstrual cycle is an ever-repeating 28-days, and our bodies are nice enough to show us exactly where we are – if we want to pay attention.
#mychicaweek is going just swimmingly. Will you still be eating your Chica when you get home on Thursday? I want to cheers you!
Image: Bertil Nilsson