I was thirteen and still sitting on the toilet in a daze when I heard the swoosh-click-whirr of our rotary phone. I listened to my mom squeal out the news to my grandmother.
Good grief, Mom. Could you pass a girl something to mop up this blood? Grandma can wait a few minutes.
That was the last time my period was framed as a thing of wonder.
Until 13 years later when I discovered Lunapads. I dragged along two reluctant, but curious friends to the Lunapads warehouse in Vancouver. I needed to make sure it wasn’t some elaborate internet joke before placing an order.
I walked away with a starter kit and a shift in thinking. My friends, who had also been lured by the flannelly goodness, each left with their own stash.
Sure, there was something unnerving about the idea of washing a bloodied pad. But co-founder and sewing maven, Madeleine Shaw taught me there’s also something powerfully sacred involved. Having to deal intimately with my own blood forced me to tune in to my body. To consider and appreciate its parts and systems.
|Using disposable products all those years allowed me to maintain a harmful disconnect. It perpetuated shame and embarrassment.
A few years after I started using cloth pads, I placed a second order and it came with information pamphlets. I mustered the courage to leave the pamphlets in the staff washroom of the school where I worked. I also sent out an email inviting interested staff to inspect my new, never-used products.
After school, I passed a group in the hall chatting about their disgust with reusable sanitary items. I think I embarrassed them when I stopped to say, “Hey, I can totally understand how you’d feel that way, but it’s actually pretty cool and empowering!” One woman couldn’t believe I had sent the email to all staff—male and female. “This isn’t something men should have to think about!”