Rain and high humidity are not friendly where menstrual pads are concerned, as anyone who has worn them can attest.
The pad I planned to wear wasn’t to be worn beneath my clothing, against my body. No, it was going to be worn on the back of my shirt and across it would be written #ConfidentCarry. (Initially, I intended to wear two – one on the front and one on the back of my shirt – but the pad on the front refused to remain in place.)
Within a zip-top clear plastic bag I placed several brightly colored disposable pads (various brands/sizes), a cloth pad, a menstrual cup and a feminine hygiene wipe. This I carried in my hand, or under my arm like a clutch.
In the right back pocket of my black slacks I tucked 5 large tampons of various brands and colors. The pocket was shallow, and the tampons protruded above it.
My daughter agreed to accompany me to take pictures and to observe.
As I stepped out of the house and began my walk toward the car, I immediately felt like the whole world was watching. And, I wondered what anyone who saw thought of the pad on my back and the tampons in my pocket.
It was amazing how self conscious, exposed and vulnerable I felt. And, how my thoughts turned to what others would think.
A quick mention of this to my daughter brought this comment from her: “I doubt anyone noticed. Everyone’s busy with their own things. Nobody pays that close attention…really.”
Our first stop was Home Depot. I needed to return a purchase. That meant intentional interaction. It also mean I had to get out of the car with that large, overnight pad stuck to my back and walk through the parking lot and into the store.
This was about being intentional, so I chose the path that took me by the maximum number possible. The idea was to be seen…for #ConfidentCarry to be noticed and the idea picked up, processed and passed on I had to be seen.
The customer service rep who assisted me was a young woman, early 20’s. I handed her the item I was returning and placed my clear bag on the counter in front of her. It received a quick glace and nothing more.
Everywhere I went (Home Depot, Subway, McDonald’s, Walmart, Kroger, Zaxby’s, Office Depot…) I received similar reactions from women – a glance and then it was business as usual. Occasionally, I would pass women who would pause in conversation – evidence that the pad on my back had been seen for what it was – but only briefly and then they would pick up where they were and go on. And, there was the occasional picture taker who pretended to be texting while holding the phone in camera mode. 😉
The only real interesting reactions were from males. And, that surprised me. When I say males, I’m not referring to little boys or teenagers. I’m talking about grown men…men in their 20’s and older.
And, there was a group of young teen girls who were chattering away until I walked up with my plastic bag containing products, a pad on my back and tampons protruding from my pocket. As I passed them, I watched their expressions. First, there was surprise. Then, there was disbelief. Then, I noted discomfort as they glanced around to see who else might see. Then there was questioning: Should I feel embarrassed? And, then…oh, then there were smiles!
There’s no way I can cover my #ConfidentCarry experience in one post. There’s just too much to share.
Consider this post an overview. In the next few days additional posts will follow that will share more of what I learned through #confidentcarry.
Please, if you participated in #confidentcarry, share your account. Email me at Suzan @ periodwise.com, tweet @periodwise, comment to me on Facebook – provide your story, links to your pictures, etc.
If you chose not to participate I’d like to hear from you, too. Share your thoughts on why #confidentcarry wasn’t for you this year and if you’d be open to it next year.