Don’t Fear the Flow

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WARNING: The subject of this post is female menstruation.  Should you be a person of either gender that gets squeamish over such words as period, blood, uterus, menstrual cycle, etc., may I suggest one or more of the following:

-Don’t read this post.

-Take an online course in female biology.

-Consider “switching teams”… you know what I mean.

-Toughen up.

-Grow up.

-Don’t read this post.

Ok, now… have the weak among us left the room?  Good.  Let’s move on.

Many of us women have been raised to feel shame about our bodies in various ways.  We are either too heavy, too thin, our boobs are too small, our butts are too big, our hair is always the wrong color, we aren’t pretty enough, and we don’t tan well.  We hear things like “thunder thighs”, “double bagger”, “well, she has a pretty face”.  We constantly compare ourselves and are compared to Hollywood and Sports Illustrated’s version of acceptable beauty… beauty that tends to be the result of thoroughbred racehorse genetics and a gifted plastic surgeon.

A lot of those things are out of our control, right ladies?  For example, no amount of spin classes and hot yoga will undo the breeding hips I inherited from my grandmother, and dying my hair from naturally brunette to platinum blonde only scared the living hell out of my kid (momma is still sorry, baby).  And while I’m certain we would all love to be the perfect 34D, well, life just don’t work like that.  How many of you men are sporting a nice 8.5 inches of ideal girth that’s not bent, goofy looking, or unreliable, I wonder?  Let’s see a show of hands…

Exactly.

Most of these “hot or not” assessments are done by balding, middle aged men with face-melting halitosis, driving old Chevy Malibus, and packing a paunch that would rival what my belly looked like at about the 7 month mark, I might add.  Mmmmmmmm…. so sexy.  No wonder his standards are so high!

But what really gets me…what really chaps the big ass that matches my breeding hips?

Menstruation shame.

Say it with me, people: PERIOD, PERIOD, PERIOD.  See?  You didn’t vaporize after all.

We are made to feel somehow defective or burdensome because our bodies go rogue once a month whether we like it or not and usually at the most inconvenient time imaginable.  We give it James Bond-like code names such as “The Curse” or “Little Friend”.  We feel compelled to be sneaky with our tampons.. hiding them up sleeves, in pockets, in our bras.  We get hyper conscious of every trip to the bathroom, discreetly wrapping all of the bloody evidence in half a roll of Charmin, climbing out the window, shimmying down the drain pipe in order to dispose of it in a public trash can making sure no one we know is within eye shot, and stealthily making our way back.  Don’t believe me?  Google “hide tampon”.  There are websites with helpful hints on how to disguise something that you can’t help about your bodies, girls!  Isn’t that encouraging?

We hide that the REAL reason we are bitchy is because our cramps are slaying us from the inside out and that we’d really like you to gut us like a fish and extract the offending organ, pretty please with dark chocolate Haagen Dazs gelato on top?

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Even buying feminine hygiene products is an exercise in biology shame.  You’ll die before asking your man to pick up a box of Kotex on his way home as he will react with disbelief if you dare make the request.  You can feel the stares in the aisle while you try to predict if this is going to be a gnarly vampirish blood draining week or if you’ll be blessed with a light flow for once.  And you always, ALWAYS go to the female checker… but even then, you still flip the box over and try to “accidentally” cover it with your bagged caesar salad and People magazine.

The whole experience sucks donkey balls.  Twelve times a year we are forced to believe that we are, well… ICKY.

Being the unorthodox, obnoxious mother that I am, I’ve made a concerted effort to teach my teenage daughter to reject this thinking, to embrace that her body will betray her sensibilities regularly, and that while it’s sort of bullshit that most men will never be stricken with more than jock itch, she has nothing to be ashamed of.  I have done a good job… perhaps too good.  Let me share with you a few texts between her and I this week as she entertains her favorite Auntie Flow… she tends to type in all caps while having her lady time… pardonez moi, it’s her not me.

Daughter:  IM GOING TO FIND A KNIFE AND REMOVE MY UTERUS

Moi: Or maybe just get the Midol and the heating pad?

Daughter: TEARING MY UTERUS OUT AND STABBING IT WITH A KNIFE WOULD FEEL AMAZING

Moi: Have you taken anything?

Daughter: I KEEP SNEEZING AND LEANING OVER AND BACK UP AND ITS LIKE FREAKING NIAGRA FALLS AND NO I HAVENT TAKEN ANYTHING!!!

Moi: Have you inserted a lady stick?

Daughter: YES BUT WE NEED MORE!

Daughter: MUCH MORE!!

Moi: Ok, should I go now?  (Are you sensing the desperation here, like I did?)

Daughter: YES.  YES PLEASE

Moi: Just the big ass torpedoes or do you want mini vagina mattresses too?

(This seems to have tempered the panic of bleeding to death while supplies are running low as she returns to not textually screaming at me.)

Daughter:  i dont like sitting in my own period thank you i’ll go with the torpedoes

Moi: Okie doke, your bloody majesty.

Daughter: rhank you

(Woops, sloppy fingers, kid.. mom can’t help but respond in corresponding Scooby style)

Moi: Rou’re relcome

I could have never been so open with my mother about my menstrual cycle, could you?  Maybe the pendulum has swung too far with my kid but I would much rather endure hearing the gory details than for her to feel embarrassed and secretive like there’s something faulty in her.  All of it has to stop.  The body shame placed on girls and women is unacceptable but especially raising our daughters to feel negatively about a physical process that can’t be controlled.

People… DON’T FEAR THE FLOW!

Girls, rise up and proudly tell your teacher you need to use the restroom to change your tampon… I PROMISE they will not argue!

Men, march fearless through that Costco with the commercial size crate of sanitary pads… women will look at you like you are the sexiest thing since Magic Mike!

Ladies, boldly and shamelessly tell your man “No sex tonight, baby, I am riding the red sled and no I won’t go down on you to make up for it because I’ve got nothin’ to make up for…now rub my back, dammit!”

Boys, making a girl feel bad for having her period will provoke an ancient tribal curse on your testicles that will make blue balls and elephantitis feel pleasant… DO NOT TEMPT THE MENSTRUAL GODS!  After all, she can’t help it any more than you can help jerking off like a demented monkey.

Shout it with me my sisters…

I AM HAVING MY PERIOD AND IT’S OK! I LOVE MY UTERUS AND MY UTERUS LOVES ME!  I HAVE THE RIGHT TO MENSTRUATE WITHOUT JUDGEMENT!

Now go forth and shed that uterine lining with pride, girls, and start a menstruation revolution out there!

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46 thoughts on “Don’t Fear the Flow

  1. It doesn’t look as though the apple has fallen far from the tree. Your daughter is as amazing as you are, and you, my dear, never fail to entertain me. Thank you. 🙂

  2. A to the fucking MEN! I just got back from walking to the bathroom in my male-dominated workplace with a tampon precariously tucked into the side of my underwear because I’m waring a sleeveless dress with no pockets and needed to come up with some way to hid my tampon because lord knows I couldn’t just walk down the hall with it in my hand.

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?! Your daughter is totally my inspiration now.

    • It’s high time PinotNinja became TampaxNinja! Girl, next pit stop you take that feminine hygiene product and tape it to your forehead and strut your hot ass to the bathroom. Not only will they be in awe of your “in your face”ness, they will also fear you might be a little off kilter and then you will OWN them!!
      (And the daughter still freaks out at walking through the store with me if they are in the shopping cart…still have some work to do here.) 🙂

  3. That first picture has inspired me to consider a tampon tree in the bathroom at Christmas time this year. A bedazzled tampon tree. I’m pumped! I also love your daughter’s ALL CAPS conveying her misery…we all feel you Girl!

  4. Well look at this, DOAT read your disgusting post in it’s entirety and didn’t go blind! So based on this post, I assume that you’re one your special time or whatever you call it today? Geez.

    Also, congrats that the little one isn’t pregnant. That’s always a win!

  5. Since we’re oversharing here, I have to recommend the Diva Cup. It’s not just for hippies and it never runs out. And two, I wouldn’t sport a D-cup if you paid me. As a matter of fact, when I had my boobs re-done (after the nursing the kids undid them), I chose my natural B and couldn’t be happier. Lonny calls big boobs “bovine” which is why I love him.

    And speaking of period shaming, I remember a Feminine Deodorant Spray ad I saw in a magazine. It had a beautiful black woman sitting at a bar with men all around her. The copy was something along the lines of, “She’s confident because she uses FDS”. I was deeply offended by the subtext which was “She has a disgusting, smelly pussy! Thank god her snatch smells like baby powder because that’s what men like!” Um, that’s not what men like.

  6. Pingback: Don’t Fear the Flow | TreeHugginVamp

  7. I knew from word 1 this was going to be an enlightening write..What I for the life of me don’t GET..Why men in all of their masculine LION genes, are so dang “scurrrred”(yep I said it) of a woman’s period? OMG grow UP its a natural part of life..And in my opinion? IF a man has no issue with whats between my legs the other 3.5 weeks of the month…He better dang sure NOT have an issue with it for that tiny part of the month I’m on my PERIOD. As women we hate it also; but we’re grown arse women..So we know its something we just have to woMAN up and deal with. Mayhaps I’ve been lucky; matter of fact I know I have. Because on many, many , many trips to the store my man has toted back tampons; without complaint. And my next & last man will too. I take that back. In a minute I won’t have to worry about “that” time of the month anymore..Girl as usual I dig your write…Virtual hi 5^

  8. As one of your male readers, to the other men: if you can’t bear to toss a package of tampons or pads for your woman in the cart–heck, screw the cart and march those babies up to checkout in your bare hands!–then you, my friends, are not adult enough to even be thinking about having sex. Likewise, helping her dig through the sea of unsorted bras for the size and color she wants. Seriously, dude, it’s not that big a deal. Get over yourself.

    Meanwhile, we are waiting for our darling daughter to start menstruating. We swear she’s inherited mom’s PMS, which mom free admits to experiencing–I’ll leave what she said goes through her head that week to your fertile imagination.

  9. You are a great mom. 🙂 Even though that leads to awkward text messages, you can be proud because you are awesome,

  10. Oh my gahd I love this post! I think you’re kicking ASS with your daughter. I would pay big money to insure my daughter is that open with me four years from now. All so true and totally hilarious. I laughed out loud 17 times. You are incredibly talented and fabulous. I kind of want to punch you.

  11. I am male, therefore not a tampon user, nor have I ever been asked to buy said product. I have, however, supported my several daughters in their time; as well as figuratively kicking the asses of my several sons at any derogatory comments about their sisters’ biological functions and necessities.

    This post had me laughing initially, sniggering, then chortling until my coffee finally exploded across the screen at the demented monkey remark.

    I am reblogging this for tomorrow, it’s an absolutely awesome revelation to the initiated, and a bloody (pun not intended, it just slipped in) good lesson for those of my species not so initiated.

    I am further tempted to continue reading your blog, and if I find it as irreverent as thus far found, it will be linked somewhere on one or more of my blogs.

    I shall now brew more coffee.

    AV

    • I am so sorry for your computer screen…I’m thinking perhaps I should include a policy note at the beginning of some of these posts that states I will not be held responsible for any medical issues or equipment damage…. thanks for the reblog. 🙂

  12. Pingback: Don’t Fear the Flow | They Say it's in the Genes

  13. This was so funny … and true! My first few period years were before Tampax. I’m really skinny, and those thick GIANT pads went from my navel to halfway up my back. Pretty hard to hide one of those in your purse.

  14. Great post! I hope that if I had girls instead of boys we’d be able to have the same snarky talks. Though I did promise myself, after having killer periods in high school & college, that I would take any girl child of mine straight to the doc and sign her up for the pill ASAP.

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