Thursday, March 25, 2010

Step by step but...THAT step?

Okay, Jennifer isn't the first person to question my decision to reduce, reuse and recycle my monthly products. I mean really...eww right? I'm sure that's what kept me from taking the plunge sooner. Why cut out those paper products? 

Well for me the process actually started as I reshaped the way I feel about my period.
When I thought about how I would explain menstruation to my pre-teen daughter...I realized my feelings about it were pretty negative and I didn't want to scare her or make her dread the idea of starting.

Admit it ladies...not very many of us can say we like getting our period...much less love it and look forward to it. Unfortunately, my first period caught me by surprise while I was away at BlueBird camp. I remember being embarrassed and a bit shocked because I didn't really know what it was or why it was happening to me and yes...I was wearing white shorts. I didn't want my daughter to relive that experience so we started talking pretty young. This book by Mavis Jukes is a GREAT resource and since my daughter started reading as a toddler, it was a no brainer that we'd start with a book! This one is rated for girls 9 to 12 so the language is very accessible and the concepts are age appropriate.

I got a little ahead of myself there...but now, any of you who have daughters have a trip to the bookstore in your future :-)

Before the book, before the talk, before any of that I had to work on MY perceptions of my period. I'd invite you to google search images of menstruation but some of them are pretty nasty...but my point would've been made. More often than not the images associated with menstruation are negative. Inconvenient. Messy. Overemotional. Unpredictable. Nasty. Smelly. Overt. Impossible to hide, incompatible with men. Too red, too bright, too loud, too thick, too much. It isn't happenstance that all of these words often used to describe menstruation are the same words often used for women who don’t play by the rules. Menstruation gets in the way of life and makes you put everything else on hold and for some...makes us unpleasant to be around (okay yeah most...)...but it doesn't have to be that way. We can choose our responses to those physical components right? 

So why menstruate?
It's not God's punishment and I think it's more than just part of the process of procreation...
photo credit
It's an opportunity to start over every month. It's the body's natural way of cleansing and releasing. It's a celebration of being feminine (okay I know that sounded corny but this is really how I began to rework my feelings about Aunt Flo). Why would you dread a do-over? Why would you dread a connection with the feminine energy of the world. This is something sacred and shared by goddesses (yes you are a goddess!)and is but one touch of creation we share with our Maker.
Okay...I know this can be eye-rolling material to some of you but just think about it for a while. It's true. And doesn't thinking about it in a powerful, regenerating way make it much better than a painful "leave me the 'eff alone" type way?

Well it did for me
Once I started welcoming this process in my life (come on really what else are you gonna do it's NOT gonna go away unless you choose to medically suppress it and that's a completely different topic that I don't think I even HAVE to get into here I mean I don't even use shampoo for pete's sake!) So once I started 'symptoms' lingered no more.

Yes, I get one good headache one of the 5 days
photo credit
Yes, my boobs are sore (but pretty...but don't touch em coz I'll smack ya)
Yes, I can get a little snarky...but my BFF loves the few days of snark-a-month she gets so I'm still bringing joy...and I notice my snark and keep it under control which is much more than I can say for the raving bitch I used to be when I was pissed about my period!

But now it's an integral part of me...not something I shun
I look forward to my special moon tea and don't really worry too much about the particulars.

It's always bothered me to "throw away" the unmentionables associated with my period. I mean shouldn't it go in a Sharps Container or a special bag? I was loving life when I switched from tampons to Instead cups ...but then discarding the plastic started to poke at my conscious so I switched to an all cotton, no applicator product...but still, can't flush it, gotta toss it and I'm back to my biomedical waste conundrum.

So do I worry about what happens if I have to empty my Diva cup in a public restroom? Well yeah, the thought has crossed my mind a few times but I imagine once I've had to do it once or twice I'll find a solution that's comfortable for me.

I haven't totally figured out how I'll handle caring for my reusable "fluff," but I have some ideas that I'm gonna try out until I figure out what works for me.

I can tell you though...shhh I'm actually excited about my period.
I'm looking forward to my etsy delivery! I got to pick my own fun is that?
And just as important as honoring the feminine in me intimately, 14 billion pads, tampons and applicators wind up in North American landfills every year! 

I'm supporting small business
I'm reducing my waste
I'm honoring my ME 

These all seem like pretty good reasons to take THIS step.

1 comment:

Zucchini Breath said...

A great entry. Thank you.

I switched to cloth pads 2 months ago. I wish I would have years ago. I don't want to contribute to landfills anymore. It's the same reason I quit smoking cigarettes, stopped eating processed food and started carrying my own shopping bags. To reduce dependence and waste for the sake of convenience.
I've never felt like my period was so terrible. I've never been told it was dirty or shameful, just that, like masturbating and bowel movements, everyone does it but no one wants to hear about YOU doing it.

My period hurts and it's messy and inconvenient but never anything I couldn't handle, I've never had a terrible accident in public or pain that I couldn't work through, although as I get older the cramps are getting worse :(

I don't want the chemically treated 'pons in my bod, they are too absorbent and hurt me like the dickens. The organic cotton ones fall apart and leave organic cotton chunks inside my vagina (ick, same with organic pads) and plastic coated pads adhesive sticks more to my thighs than my panties and give me a rash you wouldn't believe.

I love my cloth pads and I've started making my own inserts out of old flannel shirts (6x7.5" squares folded in three)so I now have enough to last me through a complete cycle. Go me. I wash them by hand and hang them to dry.
It's about being in control. It's about independence from polluting, money grabbing paper companies. It's about being consistent with my self-imposed separation from disposable paper and plastic products that are being forced upon me as a necessary item that will make my life better when they are exactly the opposite and potentially harmful.

Thanks again and have a great day!