From an early age, women are conditioned to feel shame.
- Your knees are too big for that skirt.
- You’re talented, but don’t get too vocal about it because it will make those not talented feel bad.
- Oh no… I can see the outline of my first bra through this shirt. It’s summer so I can’t wear a sweater. I guess I’ll spend recess fending off bra snaps…
- “Ladies, don’t burp/talk loudly/use that word.”
- You’ve come back from the bathroom to hear Paul whisper “Oh that’s why you’re bitchy. You’re on the rag.” “What are you talking about?!” you whisper back. “Girls only take their purse to the bathroom when they’re on their period…” So the next time, you sneak your purse from the ground. You use your stealthiest moves to pull the tampon and shove it up your sleeve. Raise your hand with a smile. When you return, Paul keeps his mouth shut and you Shame high-five the Shame of having to sneak tampons to deal with your period.
- Your friend shares “studies” and/or the horrible experiences of a Friend of a Friend who didn’t breastfeed/co-slept/circumcised/etc after you have a conversation about YOUR choice.
- Why didn’t I tell him to Fuck Off? Why did I laugh at that comment?
Every day girls and women are presented with a tray of broken mirrors: you don’t look the right way, you don’t use the right words, you don’t use the right tone, you did’t do the right thing. Go on Ladies! Pick up your shards of Shame mirrors and try not to get cut.
But we don’t have to accept that mirror. We don’t. Some learn this lesson very early and some are still learning. Talking about our commonalities can help lessen the shame.
Lately, I’m lost on my blog. Older boys mean less family posts. A lack of birth means no labor and delivery shots. Rallies? I’ve taken some time off from visiting those. I guess you’ve got nothing to say, Erika.
Bullshit, Inner Erika voice!
Mommy-hood didn’t define me. Births and rallies were icing on a cake. The lack of those don’t define my voice. So let’s talk about something I encounter with so many women my age. I had no clue about my grown-up period until other women my age said, “OH MY GOD! Mine too!! My OB said that same thing. It’s shitty.” Why didn’t I know this? We don’t talk about something that happens EVERY SINGLE MONTH.
Listen, I’m not going to run a marathon without a tampon to bring awareness to accept periods. Nope. I’m awful at getting stains out so that’s a good waste of shorts and socks. Plus I hate to run. But why not talk about it? The majority of women on earth have a period 3-7 days every month for decades. But try mentioning that when a man is in earshot…
Let’s talk about periods! With no shame.
Instead of jumping ahead to my late thirties, I’ll start at the beginning.
Tomorrow tune in for my story. I’ll make it entertaining. Because honestly… It was. After all the cramps, mood changes, prayers for the period to start, stained underwear, tears when the period did start, ruined pants, thousands spend on tampons, pad, cups, and for all the middle school Paul moments… It’s our period. It’s natural. It’s educational. It’s a good chunk of our life. Let’s have a conversation.
And please. Please feel free to share your own stories. It’s no big deal. You’ve got one. Had one. Will get one. Me too, Ladies. Me bloody too…*
(Just a nice warm cup of tea for your cramps… Mix in some bourbon and banish those assholes away.)
*if I was English