In my previous post I started to speak about menstrual education, an area of schooling I think we can all agree that we’ve seen lacking.
I think that any dedicated session talking about menstruation and focusing on destigmatisation is fantastic, highlighting that this is normal and not shameful and is clearly going to have a huge impact on what is taken away from it.
The thing that is tricky after living with a period for so many years is that you sort of forget just how little you knew, things that sound glaringly obvious to us now were not always a given.
The only thing I remember about the period education I received in school is that we talked about giving our jumpers to girls who were having a leak, and then a teacher put a tampon in a clear vase of water.
These are both things I’ve carried into running these programs, they’re memorable and not horrific, which seems to be the most anyone I’ve spoken to could hope for.
In fact, most people I’ve spoken to about this remember their period education in one of three ways:
Periods were completely brushed over, hardly warranting a mention.
They left absolutely terrified, completely ashamed and unprepared.
The vital education was clouded by shame leaving the distinct impression that silence around menstruation was the expectation.
None of these are acceptable.
Neither is separating the cohort by gender, shuffling the girls into another room to whisper about the secret shames of our bodies.
I turned 21 in November, and spent the following two days in bed.
I wasn’t hungover or recovering from some wild night, but so completely exhausted by my small dinner celebration in which I cooked for four of my friends and then sat at a kitchen table for a few hours.
It was absolutely lovely and I loved every part of it, but just the cooking and baking (which was not monumental by any means) had me in pain before the dishes were clean.
What would maybe be tiring for the average able bodied person, my disability makes beyond draining.
In February this year I published a post about my goals for the coming year, and while there were a few specific goals it all really boiled down to being kinder to myself.
I talked about not beating myself up so much and giving myself time to rest, which became part of my need for a diagnosis around my chronic pain.
Validating what I was feeling enough to go through the process of finding an OBGYN and putting myself out there at risk of not being believed or having my pain trivialised was a huge and necessary step.
Okay don’t worry, social media isn’t the devil and I’m not about to go all boomer on you but hear me out…
It can be super bad for your mental wellbeing.
I don’t mean the fact that you’re on your phone all of the time (like I said, not going all boomer), but are you spending your time on social media making yourself feel bad?
I was, without even realising it I was following people who made me feel like crap about myself, and in particular my body.
We know that ‘diet culture’ is toxic, and I really hope no one is following anyone promoting appetite suppressant teas or ‘meal replacement’ shakes (spoiler alert – they’re full of laxatives, but what else promotes a toxic relationship with your body?