I remember seeing a popular tampon ad when I was a girl in Israel, which said: “With tampons – every day of the month is the same!” At the time I thought it was a great thing. Wow! I thought, imagine that!
This was when my Mom still didn’t allow me to use tampons, saying I was too young. This left me feeling small, even though I was “officially” a woman. Tampons seemed like a mysterious prize, reserved only for the elite grown girls, of whom I wasn’t a part. The tampon ad served to cement my mystification with this forbidden fruit that came to symbolize adulthood to me.
My Mom was afraid of my hymen breaking by a tampon. Her unspoken communication conveyed much more than this. Underneath her words, the message seemed to say that once I was pierced by a man and lost my virginity, I would be free to insert a similar man-made contraption into myself. Of course she never said this, or even thought anything of the sort, but it occurs to me now that this is what lies behind it all: Penis-like, a tampon encapsulates clear societal messages that say: Plug yourself! Hide your flow! Become linear – let every day of the month be the same!
And for many years I did… I loved the convenience of being able to go swimming with a tampon. I liked that what I considered to be “A Mess” was under control. I easily forgot I was on my period, and surely I had all the days of the month be the same… Or were they?
Well, not exactly… Though I didn’t suffer any physical pain, I was irritable and moody a good few days of every month. I made no connection between this fact and my cycle, and I believed that “every day of the month was the same” because all the days looked the same on the outside… The story was very different on the inside, but I was so disconnected from my body that I had no clue about how out-of-synch I was.
The shift came when I decided to investigate. At some point feeling irritable and moody was no longer acceptable to me as the way things are. I came upon a health food store that sold menstrual cloth pads, and decided to give it a try, after reading a testimonial in which a woman declared she started happily anticipating her periods once she switched to cloth. I didn’t believe this was possible, but decided to check for myself.
My first experience of using a cloth pad was mind-altering. I actually felt my flow, consciously for the first time, and it felt good. I wasn’t “plugged” by a tampon anymore and the natural fluidity of my body felt authentic and real. Having to soak, rinse, and wring my cloth pads made me befriend my blood, rather than see it as “gross” (which our culture encourages us to do).
Above all, I reconnected to the essence of what our menstrual blood really is: the nutrient-filled inner lining of our womb, which would have nourished a baby through pregnancy had we conceived, and which is shed monthly when we don’t.
It’s been over two decades since I started this journey of self discovery, and it brought me far: I cherish and honor my flow monthly, and as a result am no longer irritable: I allow myself to consciously BE with each phase of my cycle. I found medicine in reclaiming my menstrual flow as a source of inner guidance and spiritual renewal in my life, and I have been teaching women all over the world to do the same…
His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke of women as being the source from where world transformation will come. It is my firm belief that such transformation is rooted in us starting, as individual women and as a global culture, to reclaim our cyclicity as the equal & rightful counterpart to linearity, and in living our cyclicity to its fullest, letting the flow of our creativity, life force, intuition, and inner guidance spring forth unplugged!
© 2012, DeAnna L’am, Red Moon – Cycles of Women’s Wisdom™
DeAnna L’am, (B.A.) speaker, coach, and trainer, is author of Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood and A Diva’s guide to Getting Your Period. She is founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™. Her pioneering work has been transforming women’s & girls’ lives around the world, for over 20 years.
DeAnna helps women & girls love themselves unconditionally! She specializes in helping women make peace with their cycle; Instructs Moms in the art of welcoming girls to empowered womanhood, and trains women to hold RED TENTS in their communities. Visit her at: www.deannalam.com