A bad time of the month
My friends regularly refer to me as an ‘oversharer’.
When I say this, I don’t mean I’m one of those people who sits next to someone on the bus and tells them about my crippling insecurities until they get off three stops early. I mean I’m the kind of person who, among pals, will openly admit that I cry every time I see the penguin from the British Gas advert. I’m not even ashamed. The Edward Scissorhands soundtrack plays in my head and I think about my family and Christmas trees and I get all sniffly. I like that penguin a lot. I like his backpack and inquisitive demeanour, okay?
I enjoy discussing:
- all the times I have interviewed myself in the shower (it’s not embarrassing, I am convinced everyone does it. Sometimes I have a cookery show)
- religion and my thoughts on eternal life (I don’t fancy it)
- how nice it is to take your bra off at the end of the day (AKA really nice)
- the day I told my boyfriend my feet have never smelled, ever, and he sniffed them to make sure I was right (I was right)
I don’t think I’m a cRazY kOoKy GaL – I just don’t really like weather chat, so I’d rather overshare than undershare. I will talk about mental health. I will talk about feminism. I will talk about my parents’ divorce. I will talk about my very real fear of losing my cuddly toys in a house fire one day. But the one thing I’ve never really felt comfortable discussing is periods – especially with anyone who isn’t a close, female friend.
I don’t even know why I feel this way – a massive part of me is well aware that it’s dumb, and that half the world has periods, and that someone who says “EW!” when I tell them I have to swing by Superdrug to pick up some tampons probably isn’t someone I ever want to see again. I KNOW ALL THIS. But something inside me still worries.
I wrote a piece about periods for The F-Word a few months ago, and although the entire thing was about how we need to talk about menstruation, I still worried that tweeting about said piece would lose me approximately 7/8 of my followers, who would think I was gross and icky and that I danced around a fire waving sanitary towels at the weekend.
But you know what? I was wrong – and, I found out, there are lots of other women out there who are kinda sick of pretending periods don’t happen, too. When the Monthlies team tweeted me to say they liked what I’d written, they sent over a ‘period playlist‘ and I checked out their website. It turned out Monthlies and I were on the same wavelength – “About half of the people in the world get nose bleeds but we don’t whisper about them or pretend it’s all just blue liquid, not blood,” wrote founder Sarah.
If you’re not in the loop, Monthlies is a tailored period subscription service – you ‘build’ your box of environmentally-friendly tampons and pads online according to your needs and it gets sent straight to you in the post. It also acts as a platform for open chats about periods, which I love.
I received a box of Monthlies goodies last month – all selected by me – and I genuinely think this was the first time I’d EVER LOOKED FORWARD TO HAVING A PERIOD. I’d been able to choose the products that suited me and my cycle, and they all came in a cute little bag – perfect for those of us who are trying reeeeeally hard to fight the stigma but still don’t feel comfortable walking from the office to the toilet, tampon in-hand (*coughs* ME). Ahem.
I’ve still got a long way to go – I know that. But for me, the best bit about trying Monthlies was that I remembered there are other women out there who feel the same. Women who want to stop pretending their periods don’t happen. Women who are bored of breaking into a sweat when a tampon makes its way to the top of their handbag and pokes out to say hello. So I’m going to carry on waving my metaphorical sanitary towels, even if it makes people uncomfortable, because that’s the only way things are ever going to change. I’m an oversharer – it shouldn’t be too hard.
sophiejowrites.wordpress.com / @notaquamarine