Tag Archives: break taboos

Out With the Old, In With the New

New year New YouHere we sit on the brink of a new year filled with new opportunities and possibilities.

What does that mean to you period wise?

Here’s a quick list for consideration as you turn your back on the old and face the new.

  • try something new (product, attitude, activity)
  • learn something new (about yourself, your flow, your cycles, a product you’re curious about)
  • be curious (Infinity pads, menstrual cups, 100% organic cotton tampons, cloth pads, free bleeding)
  • be adventuresome (step outside of your menstrual comfort zone)
  • share (don’t keep your growth and discoveries to yourself)
  • prepare (the next generation to be period wise – you may be their only hope of a great start)
  • create change (first in yourself then in your world)
  • be period proud

Happy New Year!

#ConfidentCarry – How it Changed Me

For one such as I who was taught from youth to conceal carry menstrual / feminine hygiene products, the idea of #confidentcarry stirred fears I thought long extinguished and concerns that were not period wise.

These were nothing more than nonsensical taboos learned years ago and still mirrored in society today. But, for a brief moment, they felt real…so real.

For that moment, that brief moment when sweat broke out on my brow, I was that teen who was so afraid of discovery, so afraid of leaking, so afraid of embarrassment, so afraid that someone would know…would see….

It was not my first time to  #confidentcarry.  But, it was the first time that #confidentcarry truly changed me.


Taboos, even long forgotten ones, have power to enslave us.

#ConfidentCarry broke the final chains of the taboos of my yesterdays…taboos placed on me by well-meaning but misguided people and culture.

#ConfidentCarry freed me to be fully and simply me – whenever, however, with whatever I choose.

#Conficentcarry is period wise.

#ConfidentCarry – What I Learned

As one who spends a good bit of her day talking menstruation (menstrual products, body awareness, cycle consciousness, etc) I was taken aback by the repression I felt before I ever stepped foot out of my house #ConfidentCarry morning.

Pressure to conform to behavior that brought NO attention to menstruation was applied through subtle questions and not so subtle comments made by family members.

I knew to expect some resistance from without.  But, from my own family? And…from deep within myself?  That little voice of reason within kept whispering ages-old-wisdom to me (aka taboos).

Menstrual shame is so deeply ingrained within us, within society. Societal norms contradicted everything I was about to do.

As I stepped from my front porch and walked toward the car, I felt as though a spotlight was on me and my very being was magnified larger than life.  It had been a long, long time since I’d felt that self-conscious.  I felt like everyone was looking at me…at the pad on my back.

In fact, no one was.

As my daughter and I headed to our scheduled stops, I imagined several possible scenarios – reactions, interactions…and what I hoped to accomplish in each.

#ConfidentCarry was a terrific learning tool.  Here are some things I learned. (I say “some” because I am continually discovering things I learned as I play the event over in my mind.)

  • Menstrual shame is deeply ingrained in society.
  • Public display of personal feminine hygiene products is beyond the comfort zone of most.
  • People are curious and amazingly open.
  • Older women are more accepting of #confidentcarry than younger.
  • Men displayed the most discomfort and the most curiosity.
  • Young men were more apt to vocalize their uneasiness with laughter and crude comments.
  • Girls and teens are watching…ever watching.  They notice everything.
  • Self-consciousness fades as self-confidence builds.
  • #Confidentcarry triggered something (memory, comment, event) deep within every woman who noticed the overnight pad stuck to my back.
  • The longer I was in #confidentcarry mode, the more confident I became – I didn’t feel a need to hide ANYTHING. It was liberating.
  • After the initial surprise of seeing the pad on my back for what it was, life went on…conversations continued…it was nothing to get excited about.
  • Period products are packaged for #confidentcarry – have you noticed?
  • I found myself wanting to show my product off, inquire of others what they were carrying, and compare (like kids with collectable cards).
  • There is great curiosity about menstruation and menstrual products. And, a great need for openness.
  • We fear what we don’t understand and create taboos. Breaking taboos can be as simple as #confidentcarry.
  • Menstruation education is woefully lacking – for girls and for boys.  Concealed carry only adds to the mystery, perpetuates myths and strengthens taboos.
  • People become comfortable with what they are repeatedly exposed to. Over a brief time, #confidentcarry became the norm.
  • Hey – it’s a tampon…pad…cup. What’s the big deal anyway?

Truth, as I see it.  And, period wise, too.

What did you learn from #confidentcarry?

#ConfidentCarry Day

As I write this, my thoughts are more on the day ahead than on what I’m going to say here.

The arrival of flow (far earlier than was expected) necessitated an adjustment in plans.

The “flow” I’m referring to isn’t menstrual – it’s RAIN.

Super absorbent pads are good at one thing – absorbing.

This is a heavy flow day and I’ll need a lot of product to get me through if I #ConfidentCarry in the manner in which I’ve planned.

What are my #ConfidentCarry plans?

The picture above is of a pad I’ve created to wear on the back of my shirt.  I’ve another to wear on the front. From the small hip pocket of my black pants, tampons will protrude. And, in a zip-top bag my menstrual cup, wipes, and a few large, brightly colored pads will accompany me…in my hand, on a table, desk…beside me wherever I am.

Where will I be today?

This morning, I will be at my desk. Work will occupy me until late morning.  Beyond work? Ah, I’ve several things planned.  A trip to Home Depot to return a purchase, lunch out with my daughter, Walmart, Kroger, a visit with my mom, dinner out with Hubby….

These are my plans for how and where I will #confidentcarry.

What are yours?

What Do You Fear?

For many years I feared that which I could not control and had no control over…my flow.

I could not control when it started or how long it lasted.

I had no control over how heavily I flowed or if I leaked.

That was unnerving.

Tampons were my go-to from the moment I thought flow would begin until after all color had departed.

And, when I say tampons I mean the biggest, most absorbent, baddest, fattest tampons I could find.

I didn’t just use one…I would use two…three…and have been known to use four or more at a time to achieve a sense of control over my flow.

I hated leaks…hated leaking.  The fear of embarrassment was overwhelming.

And, as I watch girls, teens and women, I know the fear is universal.

It saddens me.  Does it you?

What do you fear? And, why?

What would happen if you set aside the fear and just…lived, loved and embraced menstruation as it comes?

Let’s address the fear and find a solution.

Breaking cultural / social menstrual taboos is a good place to start.

And, so is taking a good long look at menstrual products.   It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway.  Not all menstrual products are created equal. And, they are not one size fits all.

Let’s accept menstruation as normal (it is) and not as an embarrassing or shame-filled experience (it’s not).

Let’s model a healthy and period wise attitude toward menstruation and let’s pay it forward to the next generation.

Let’s empower ourselves and others – knowledge is power – and, let’s choose products that are as healthy as they are helpful.

Be wise when it comes to period matters.




In with the New

A very important thing to remember from this day forward, for the next 364 days, is: change the year to from 2013 to 2014.

Apart from changing the 3 to a 4 in 2014, what else needs our attention as we welcome the new year and all the new it brings with it?

A new year is like other new things…it likes company.

Ever buy a new purse? Yep, a new purse begs for new shoes. A new house? Yep…gotta have a new sofa and new curtains. No way that old stuff is gonna work with new.

The same is true with a new year.  Why would anyone want to bring in that old stuff we lived in throughout 2013 and clutter 2014 with it. Nobody I know wants to end 2014 on the same page they ended 2013 on, but they’re bringing everything with them when they change that 3 to a 4.

Let’s change it up.

Let’s make 2014 a year that redefines menstruation and all things period wise. Let’s make it a year of discovery, of excitement, of body literacy, and acceptance.

  • What period wise resolutions will you make?
  • What unwise period habits will you break?
  • What period wise dreams will you wake?
  • What period wise chances will you take?
  • What weakness, period wise, will you stake?
  • What period product will you wisely shake?
  • What period litter will you forsake?
  • What will you change, period wise, and for who’s sake?
  • What action will ease another’s ache, period wise?

It’s time.

Day 1.

The past has passed. The future lies before us – each day new. Let’s embrace it and live fully as we lean hard into who we are and who we want to be this next year.

Begin now…there’s no better time than the present.

I can’t think of a better way to ring in the new year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Avoid Taint

On Facebook I found this picture with the comment:

Gotta avoid that taint

And, beneath that comment was another:


In all sincerity, please tell me…what is so funny about that?

For those who don’t know, “taint” refers to the part of the perineum found between the genitals and anus.

Now, what’s so funny about that?

Oh, I know – the joke goes like this:

t’ain’t your balls and t’ain’t your ass.

And, for those of us without testicles, it would be

t’ain’t your vulva and t’ain’t your anus.

Again I ask, what’s so funny about the perineum?

Personally, I think the reason for the term “taint” and the laughter it provokes lies more in our discomfort with our bodies and the bodies of others – and in our ignorance of the real names and functions of the parts of our anatomy (and of the anatomy of the sex opposite our own).

The horror is that we pass this attitude of ignorant humor on to our children and perpetuate the legacy of stupidity with words like

  • taint
  • dick/peter
  • pussy
  • cunt
  • balls
  • cooter
  • beaver
  • that time of the month/aunt flo/on the rag

What’s wrong with calling a vagina a vagina and a penis a penis? Why do we need nicknames for certain body parts and bodily functions? Why are we so uncomfortable as a society when it comes to being human?

Do we think we are being cute by teaching our kids to use these terms?

How cute do you think it is when a 35 year old woman goes to her GYN and is unable to explain what her problem is and where because all she knows to call that part of her anatomy is “my pussy.”


Cute is not the term that comes to mind.  And, I guarantee you it’s not the first that comes to her mind, either.

Be period wise.  Be body wise. Learn the terms. Use the terms!


Period Reform – Male Initiated

It wasn’t all that long ago that I found it impossible to imagine that a man could/would lead the way toward overcoming menstrual taboos.

After all, my OB/GYNs were all male (no offense intended to my male readers) and they were not advocates of menstruation.  Their attitudes reflected what most women I knew felt – fix it, get rid of it, suffer through it.

Why would I expect a man, who does not menstruate, to advocate for menstrual openness and reform when none of the women I knew were at all concerned about menstrual taboos imposed upon them and their daughters?

Scroll forward several years and I can truly say that my life has been enriched and blessed by several men who advocate for menstrual change and who truly care about menstruating women.

On August 2, 2013, The Atlantic posted a story, by Um-e-Kulsoom Shariff, about Arunachalam Muruganantham and his menstrual activism that resulted in a huge push toward overcoming India’s menstruation taboo

Here are some highlights from the article.  Be sure to click the link above and read the entire piece.

When he was 16, his father died and the science-loving teenager dropped out of school to support his family. His next life-changing event came when he married 17-year-old Shanti in 1998. His wife had never used a sanitary napkin, and she relied on an old piece of cloth for her monthly period. “Napkins are expensive. A cloth can be used repeatedly,” she confessed to him.

Muruganantham was concerned about his wife using one piece of cloth for months at a time, so he gave her some sanitary napkins as a gift. A pack of six cost him 11 U.S. cents. (You now get the cheapest cotton pack for about 30 cents.) Muruganantham concluded they were indeed expensive for something that’s only stuffed with cotton, so he set about trying to make his own.

Even though Shanti’s response was not encouraging, Muruganantham was obsessed with making a napkin that would have win her approval. When Shanti refused to be his subject, he turned to his sisters, and when they warned him against pursuing such a “disgusting” mission….

He decided he himself would wear a sanitary napkin, hoping the personal experience would give him an insight into why his napkins failed each time.

Muruganantham created a fake uterus using the innards of a soccer ball, attached a pipe to it, and filled the bladder with goat blood. He then attached this artificial uterus to a belt. When he squeezed the bladder, blood would flow from the pipe into the sanitary napkin.

For 10 days, Muruganantham lived a menstruating woman’s life: He walked, bicycled, ate, and slept in this pretend-menstruating state. “I began to stink and stained my attire. Those were the most difficult days of my life,” he says.

Muruganantham became focused on building a machine to manufacture the napkins. The idea was to set up manufacturing units in villages like his, where women, mostly unskilled laborers, could use the machines. He hoped women could pool together money to set up the businesses, create employment, and generate a demand for sanitary napkins in rural areas.

“Why buy sanitary napkins from multinationals when we can make them at home and generate employment?” Muruganantham said.

Muruganantham wants “menstruation” to be an accepted word; he hopes someday a sanitary napkin will not have to be “smuggled” out of a pharmacy. He hopes girls will stop dropping out of school in rural areas out of embarrassment.

To quote Muruganantham, “Why the ignorance?”

What a period wise question!

What period wise men do you know?

Can you identify other men active in menstrual activism, who are pushing for the end of menstrual taboos in your city?  in your community? in your family?

What men can you name who are comfortable with menstruation, knowledgeable about periods, and are not reluctant to be seen doing things period wise?

What men have impacted you period wise?

Pock-It? Why not?

While flipping through a copy of the Family Handyman magazine (don’t ask), I came across an article about neat tools every handyman needs (to be aware of).

One particular item caught my eye.

The heading said: Cases for whatever you carry.

I thought, yeah…right…guys carry their tools on their belt/pants for all the world to see.  Women are expected to tuck our “tools” in purses or hide them in cosmetic bags lest we embarrass ourselves or someone else.

What about women who can’t carry a purse on the job and a pocket simply isn’t sufficient?


As one who prefers NOT to carry a purse, I found this intriguing. I wear jeans and like my hands free.  The thought of clipping a small utility pack to my belt or onto my pants appeals to me.

Look at this picture of Pock-Its and imagine tampons, SoftCups, or pads and wipes in it instead of tools.

The top flips over to conceal and protect the contents.

The back contains a clip that attaches to a belt or the waist band.

True – it is black…but isn’t black always in style?  And, some manufacturers (like Skinth Sheaths) make them to your specifications.


It’s time to break menstrual taboos.

Let’s think outside the box…beyond the traditional.

Let’s be innovative

Let’s be period wise.

It’s Time to Talk about Menstruation

Sarah Ogden, a Staff Writer for Everyday Feminism, recently wrote an article.that screams  “PERIOD WISE” beginning with her first sentence: “All right, folks, it’s time to talk about it.”

“Breaking News: Menstruation Is Awesome!” is loaded with timely and important information – and chocked full of encouragement.

“It’s a beautiful thing.” That’s what she said about menstruation.

She said a lot more, too, like…how her boyfriends knew more about her body than she did and that the products we use help us remain disconnected from our bodies.

How’s that for a teaser? She packs quite a punch in her piece.

Here are some highlights.

  • We need to reclaim this experience and find power in the blood that unites us.
  • Menstruation is natural, beautiful, and powerful.
  • Some companies try to make us feel bad about our periods to buy their products.
  • Vaginas are not dirty.
  • Some companies try to make us feel periods are “inconvenient” to buy their products.
  • Menstruation is not a disease, and there should not exist a “cure.”
  • Our periods connect us to the moon and to the sea.
  • Menstruation is a shared experience amongst women and trans people who menstruate.
  • What’s a menstruating person to do? (She shares 3 tips.)

I encourage you to take a few minutes and read Sarah’s post.

If you use tampons as your main menstrual product, I hope Sarah’s words below awaken you to the possibility of trying other products (esp. reusable menstrual cups like Lunette, Diva, Keeper, Instead SoftCup, or pads like Always Infinity or cloth).

We use plastic to put tampons in our vaginas, pull them out by the bottom of long string, and then throw them away, all without getting our fingers bloodied.  We are almost completely disengaged from our blood and our bodies.

Period wise women redefine menstruation by breaking taboos and challenging long held beliefs and assumptions.

Period wise women personalize menstruation through the acceptance of their own experience and in sharing their experience with others.


  • How have you redefined menstruation?
  • How have you personalized it?