75 Years Ago Today

IMG_9780.JPG

75 years ago today Operation Overlord started in Normandy, France. The day, known as D-Day, happened on June 6, 1944. This invasion marked the beginning of the end of the Nazi tyranny in Europe when brave men from: The United States, The United Kingdom, and Canada stormed the beaches by air and sea. Many of them did not survive the first day. Around the world there were memorial services for the men who gave their lives this day seventy-five years ago. There are videos and photos of D-Day Veterans returning to Normandy to for these services and to visit their fallen brothers in arms in the cemeteries. June 6, 1944 is a day that continues to live on as the men who gave their lives are not forgotten.

In the Blink of an Eye

IMG_0561.JPG

The month of May has been a busy one for me. This is a mere update on the month of May that has flown by in the blink of an eye. I’ve been meaning to write more and keep you guys updated, but the months lately have a way of just flying by.

On the bright side, Spring is ending and Summer is starting. With everything I have going on this Summer, I am sure it will go by quickly. My younger sister is getting married the end of August. So, your’s truly has been planning a bachelorette weekend and filling in all the jobs the Maid of Honor has. Recently, my mom threw a bridal shower for her. Not that it is taking up most of my time, but it is a lot of work.

This upcoming Summer is filled with plans of joy and fulfillment. Between my sister getting married, a family trip to Arizona, and just enjoying the joy summer has to offer I don’t think I will be slowing down any time soon.

I do plan on returning to write another post as part of the period shaming. I am not sure what yet. To be honest I thought it would be easier, but I found that doing research and hearing voices from young girls around the world who deal with shaming on a daily basis takes time. I do hope to keep writing and being more active on here once things slow down.

The Right to an Education

IMG_2394.JPGThe month of April slipped away from me. I have been meaning to write this post after doing some research for some time. I do admit, I had trouble with coming up with the name for this article. This next post focuses on going to school while menstruating. Over here in the United States of America, young woman and girls are encouraged to go to school even when they are menstruating, but in some parts of the world they are encouraged to stay home.

Early on in my research I came across an article about a twelve year old girl in India who had committed suicide in 2017 following period shaming. This young girl had just started to menstruate leading to her clothes being stained. Unfortunately, the teacher decided to point this out in front of her entire class. The humiliation and embarrassment this young girl felt caused her to take her own life.

IMG_2393.JPGWhen I was in middle school there is only one time where it comes to mind when a leak happened in a classroom. I remember my fellow classmate returning to school the next day. But, everyone in my grade knew what had happened. “So and so had her period all over her chair,” is what was said among my classmates for the rest of the school week. I remember I had a class in the same room that she was just in. The janitor was inside cleaning up the chair while my class entered. It wasn’t until lunch when everyone had found out what had happened. Everyone knew her name. I felt bad for her as having a leak in middle school was the worst thought on my mind. But, never the less she returned to school the next day and for the rest of the year.

The thought of being encouraged to miss a week of school because of a normal bodily function is horrifying to me. There is no reason a girl should be forced to feel ashamed because of her period, whether it leaks or not. When reading up on period shaming in India, there are some parts where young girls are dropping out of school because they can’t keep up with the work. They don’t receive past a middle school education because they fall behind. Education for women is something that has been fought in various countries across different eras. The right to an education is a birth right, nothing more nothing less.

IMG_2389.JPGKnowledge is power, a strong notion that has been shared for years. Young women and girls are being encouraged to not receive the knowledge they crave. Sadly, they are encouraged not to go to school. The thought that a young girl, even wearing a sanitary product, to be considered unclean and dirty among her classmates mortifies me. There is no reason a young woman and girl should feel ashamed to go to school, even when she is menstruating.

Sources:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-41107982

Chhaupadi links

IMG_9150.JPG

In my last post I wrote about Chhaupadi, the ritual in Nepal where women are forced to live in a hut while they are menstruating. For some reason I had trouble posting the links the articles and videos I had looked at for research.

Please note: I do not own any of this material. This is just a smidgeon of what I looked at for the article and future ones. The ownership belongs to those who posted.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0208260

Chhaupadi

IMG_9148.JPG No, Chhaupadi is not a celebration. Chhaupadi is a tradition that is honored in Nepal for women when they are menstruating and post childbirth. Instead of staying home, they are shunned and forced to live in a hut where they are vulnerable to the elements around them.

When researching Chhaupadi I learned that the women who are left in these huts are unprotected. They are vulnerable to rape and sexual assault. In one of the interviews I watched a young girl stated that she became pregnant while partaking in Chhauapdi. She was forced to leave school with her child at the age of thirteen. She detailed being alone in the hut when the man stepped in and forced himself on her. Due to the rape she was shunned and shamed by her community for something that was not her fault.

Sexual assault may be one of the most horrible things to happen during Chhaupadi, but it is not the only problem these girls and women face. On top of losing out on an education, they have to find alternatives to get food and clean clothes. There are some cases where women do not receive the necessary living essentials for a week away from home. In fact, some women are forbidden from touching kitchen utensils on day their period starts. Not only are they finding ways to make meals, they need to find alternatives to make for cleaning themselves.

IMG_7520.JPGWomen are considered “impure” during their period in these parts of the world, hence the reason for the hut. When watching videos on YouTube and reading articles the young girls and women showed they have to do things entirely separate. They have to find a way to bathe and wash their clothes. In one of the interviews, a girl stated she didn’t understand why she needed to take drastic measures during her period. She stated she felt that as long as she is able to keep herself clean, it shouldn’t matter whether she stays at home or not.

In 2005, Chhaupadi was outlawed in Nepal. However, the “tradition” still takes place today. It has been slow to outlaw and leave behind. In parts of the interviews and articles women stated they felt that it was necessary to partake in Chhaupadi because it is how they had been raised. Even, a young women who admitted to being sexually assaulted felt that Chhaupadi is the best way. There have been men and women who have stepped up to end Chhaupadi. But, sadly Chhaupadi continues today.

The Dad Factor

IMG_6770.JPGThis next post was not an easy one to write. In fact, I thought this would be the easiest post to write about my period experience. This period post is dealing with Dad. I have a loving father who has always been supportive of me. But, I will say it was kind of odd having to admit that he found out I had menstruated for the first time.

I remember it was a couple of days after I had received my first period. I had to take a shower in the morning and he came in to remind me to take one. After he told me that my mother had informed him of me receiving my period. I shot up out of bed asking him how he found out. It was early in the morning and he told me that my mom had told him.

IMG_9645I do admit it was a little embarrassing. I mean, my mom is a woman and my dad is a man. I didn’t tell him at all that I had menstruated for the first time. My mom is the one who had told me what a period is. I never had the talk with my dad. But, never the less my dad had found out.

You see, the problem I had with my dad finding out about my period is that he never had one (biology I know). I didn’t know how to talk to him about it. I was told it was a “women thing.” When I traveled with him, I didn’t want to tell him about it. When it comes down to buying sanitary products, I depended on my mom to get them. I never looked to my dad. I never depended on my dad for a product like this.

IMG_6633.JPGBut, never the less there have been times when my dad has realized that I am menstruating. When he notices he doesn’t judge me. He doesn’t look at me funny or weird. He just doesn’t bring it up. Ultimately, I was worried about my dad finding out about my period because of these feelings I had.

While I am thankful to have a dad who is supportive and understanding during “my time of the month,” but there are problems I still remember encountering. How do I tell my dad I need to take an extra long shower? How do I let him know that I need Advil? How do I tell him I need “products” when we were on vacation together? When I was a teenager, these were the questions that I would have to ask myself.

The only way I was able to overcome this was by learning to trust my dad. I had to learn to trust that he would be understanding. Now that I am an adult, I don’t need to depend on my dad for such things. But, when I was younger in high school and middle school I had to learn to trust my dad for help in those situations. I was able to confidently confide in my dad when when I needed something for my period. It didn’t happen often, that much I will admit. But, trust was the main factor.

The moment my dad told me that he knew that I had my period it felt off. I didn’t understand why my mom had told my dad about this. But, I did learn why, quickly, when I was in a situation and my mom was not home. You see, there is no real easy way to deal with dad. In fact, that one of the reasons this post is coming later than I expected. I never talked with my dad about my period. But having a dad who had no problem telling me he knew about me menstruating for the first time helped break the ice.

IMG_6771There is no easy way to close out this blog post. My dad and I do have a close relationship. I do understand there may be confusion and awkwardness for letting your dad know that you are menstruating. I went through it and I am pretty sure every girl has gone through it. There is no easy way to say how to deal with your dad on your period. Everyone is different when it comes down to letting a man know about your period, even if it is your dad.

Period End of Sentence Documentary Review

This past Sunday the Oscars were on television. The coveted award that so many dream about winning had graced across our screens. But, the one part of the Oscars this year that grabbed my attention was the winner for Short Documentary. The winner was Period. End of Sentence on Netflix took home the golden statue.

I had heard about this documentary a couple of weeks ago from a friend who knows that I am blogging about my period experiences. She encouraged me to watch the quick twenty-five minute film on Netflix telling me that I wouldn’t be disappointed. Lets just say I wasn’t, the whole reason why I am blogging about my period is based on research I had read about in India.

The movie starts off asking young girls about menstruation in a small town in India. When the men are asked about menstruation they talk about it like it is a disease. There are stories from young girls and women who leave school because they are ashamed of bleeding. These women did not have the proper access to sanitary products until a man came in making pads for them.

When the women were introduced to pads for the first time they were completely entranced. They went into the factory to see how they are made. They asked questions about pads and their function for periods. The look of shock and awe came across some of their faces as they realized that they could use something that wasn’t just a rag.

Before the movie had ended several of these young women had mentioned the new access to period products had given them a new sense of independence. The filmmakers then went into Delhi to discuss the production of pads for young women who are just starting to bleed for the first time. The message they have across the men and women featured is hope that the usage of pads will encourage young women and girls to do what want during their period.

Watching Period End of Sentence reminded me of why I am blogging about my period. I have received some backlash regarding writing about it after noticing a woman being harassed. The more I think about it, I realize that this particular happened a little over a year ago. Since then I have been reading stories from women around the world who have similar stories to the young girls and women in this documentary. Period End of Sentence justified my reason for continuing to blog about my menstrual cycle.

Photo link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6939026/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

 

The Tampon Terror

IMG_8974.JPGFirst off, this is not a post about how bad tampons are. This is a post about the first time I used a tampon. The usage of a tampon is one that was nerve racking to me. I had thoughts flutter through my mind whether or not it will be able to keep all the blood in. I was hoping that it would not leak and stain my pants. I remember wearing a pad for safety.

So, here is the story, I was fourteen years old and I told my mom I wanted to try tampons. It was summer with one of my favorite activities being swimming. A tampon is one option I wanted to use because I did not want to use a pad as it would fill up with water. In preparation for my period coming in the summer my mom went out and bought tampons.

IMG_8976.JPGWhen I got my period I got it at night, therefore I could not use a tampon then. The next morning my mom and I went into the bathroom to use the tampon. I remember being nervous and scared because of how tampons work. I actually got cold feet and chickened out that day.

The rest of the day I would sit outside by the pool wearing a bathing suit and shorts. I began to think to myself what would the harm be in trying a tampon out? My friends had used tampons before and they like them. I talked with my mom later that night and decided the next morning to go for it.

IMG_8971.JPGAfter a restless night filled with anxiety and cramps morning came. I met my mom in the bathroom with the tampons ready to try. I was nervous, but decided to go with it. I asked my mom to leave the room for privacy. After telling me that she would be right out the door in case I needed her. She left, and I read the instructions on the box a couple of times. My mom had knocked on the door to check on how I was doing.

IMG_8973.JPGIt was then that I put in my first tampon. I remember feeling strange because it didn’t hurt once it was inside. Before I walked out of the bathroom, I put a pad on for safety as this was my first experience. The rest of the day I jumped in between going swimming and not swimming.

I had a timer set to remind me when it was time to take the tampon out. I remember reading the instructions multiple times about when to take the tampon out. I put a piece of tape on the end of the little white string to remind me it was there for when I used the bathroom. I know the timer part sounds a little weird, but it was my first time using one and I didn’t want to get sick.

The usage of a tampon for the first time was a nerve racking and strange right of passage to me. After I got comfortable within my period and using tampons I stopped using the pad for safety, although the first couple days when it is heavy I tend to rely on pads. The first tampon experience was a bit terrifying, but once I got used to using them they were not so bad.

The First Period Experience

IMG_9004.JPGThe next piece about the menstrual experience will be focusing on the first period I had. The day that my body decided it was time to transition from childhood to adulthood. I remember the details and the day exactly as it was my sister’s 10th birthday. I remember the doctor telling me the week before that I would most likely not get my first period until summer. Well, my sister’s birthday is in February, so I was a little taken off guard when I got it. So, here is the story.

IMG_7251.JPGI woke up the morning on a cold February day in 2002. I had a weird feeling in my stomach and didn’t feel like eating breakfast, but I ate anyway and felt better. My dad dropped me off at a friends house to catch the bus. The rest of the morning I was feeling odd and sick. I didn’t know what was going on at the time.

It was not until I was heading to gym class and used the bathroom. There it was all over my purple Limited Two underwear. My period! I had looked at it confused and thought is this my period. But, then I thought back to my annual physical where my doctor had told me that I would most likely get my period in the summer.

IMG_9518.JPGThe rest of the day I sat through my classes wondering if this was my period or something else. I knew what a period was, but I honestly thought it would come in a few months. I remember my mom telling me you will have your period when your body is ready. The rest of the day was like a blur until the day had ended.

My mom is a school teacher, so at the end of the day the bus driver dropped me off there. Feeling a little sick and uneasy I went to my mom who was talking with another teacher. I asked her to step aside and told her I thought I had received my first period. When I showed her my period she told me it was really my period.

IMG_9617.JPGA sense of relief had broken over me as I was expecting mother nature to make her first appearance in June, not February. I felt happy and sad at the same time. I felt embarrassed that this had happened. I didn’t tell anyone else except my mom that I had menstruated for the first time.

That night I went home to celebrate my sister’s birthday with my family. I went to bed after taking Advil for cramps (which were the small stomach aches) with my period for the first time.

The Reason to “Period” Blog

img_8475Here it is, my first post about the menstrual experience. There is a reason that i am doing this to write about my period. There are many woman, including myself, who have experienced a sense of period shaming at one point or another.

A couple of months ago I was out shopping and noticed two men snickering and laughing at a woman who was buying tampons. I do not know if she noticed them, but I sure did. In the past, when I have been out shopping for tampons and pads I have experienced the stares, glares, and laughter from others. This does not happen all the time, but there tends to be a stigma surrounding woman when they are spotted buying something for a “problem” that is completely natural.

IMG_9603.JPGYes, that is right a problem. There are parts of the world where a period is viewed as a problem. I had a friend who had worked overseas in Uganda where young girls stayed home while they were menstruating. There are countries in Asia, like Indonesia and Taiwan where women are recommended to go on an unpaid medical leave. Imagine being told you can’t come to work for a full week because of something completely natural.

A period is a sign of womanhood. It is something that cannot be controlled. There tends to be a stigma that comes down to women and their period. In television shows there are jokes when a period is mentioned by name and tiptoeing around when in dialogue to avoid saying it. Ultimately, the “problem” that happens once a month for women should be accepted, not mocked and/or shamed.