tampons and pads are toxic!
tampons and pads are unhealthy!
tampons and pads pollute the environment!
tampons and pads are expensive!
yes, yes, yes, and yes; that’s all true and most of us are already informed about that. and we’re also told what measures to take to reduce or prevent all the risks. yes, there are menstrual cups that are cheap and eco-friendly and safe and so on and so on, and there are natural alternatives to regular tampons and pads – so, how the hell, aren’t you woke yet and throwing all the harmful menstrual hygiene products out of the window? how can you be such a disgraceful beast that’s just destroying our beautiful planet?
well, as many things, it ain’t that easy.
we’re told to use menstrual cups but our physical (dis)abilities, religious views, or personal beliefs are overlooked. we’re told to opt for natural, non-toxic products but our budgets or access to those items are not taken into account. yet again, even though this is supposed to be an alternative to a certain oppressive mainstream way of dealing with one’s period, one’s that’s more sensible and in certain ways queerer too, it adopts the same methods of oppression in the sense that it, again, pushes one approach to everyone regardless of their different needs.
now i am talking about my own experience; even though i have been a fan of menstrual cups and bought one several years ago, only recently i really started using it. unfortunately, the first one i got was not suitable for me at all – i had problems inserting it, its size was too big (even though it was supposed to be the smallest one, “suitable for virgins”), and the material was not comfortable either. i kept on using regular tampons, and even though i would have loved to be able to buy the natural, eco-friendly ones, i had to stick to the cheapest ones from a local drugstore because of my budget. articles about the toxicity of bleached menstrual hygiene products would be popping up all around my social media, my eco-conscious friends would give me weird looks, and the never really used menstrual cup would always be laying around in my closet, making me feel strange anytime i’d stumble upon it. i’d feel angry, and embarrassed of my own body for its inability to accommodate a cup everyone seemed so ok to be using. the more i felt pushed into using it, by both people around me and the endless media pressure, the more i felt stubborn not to use it again and quite sceptical and generally opposed to the whole menstrual cup hype. i really got excited about the period panties, but again, money was the issue.
well, after quite some personal trauma, i decided to give the cup another try, as you can buy them in pretty much any DM drogerie markt in Germany. when i first saw it, i noticed it was way smaller and much softer than the one i had, and after a bit of thinking, i got it. and, surprise surprise, it was absolutely ok this time! even though, due to certain physical restrictions i have, it’s still not the easiest to insert it, it’s definitely better and i stick to my own nice and smooth cup now.
here are two morals from my own story:
no. 1: it’s better to check how the cup looks when you’re buying a new one. the first one you buy might not fit you, and you might have to invest into another one. no vagina—and no body, per se—is the same and there are hundreds of sizes to choose from. the first one might not be working for you, but one eventually will, or maybe not, and that’s fine too.
no. 2: never ever think there’s something wrong with body if it doesn’t fit a certain standard or doesn’t do all the things it is “supposed” to do.
here’s the deal:
menstrual cups might not be for everyone, and that’s ok.
not everyone can afford natural menstrual hygiene products, and that’s ok.
some people might not want to stick anything up their vags, and that’s ok.
etc. etc. etc.
menstruation is already a lot of a unpleasant hassle thanks to how our society perceives and treats menstruating people, so putting them through even more shit is, in my opinion, just plain bullshit.
so, perhaps instead of trying to persuade everyone that there is only one (or just a few) eco way(s) to deal with your menstruation with no regards to one’s limitations and boundaries, we could rather demand those big brands to go more sustainable, and encourage more research on and development of new products that would be more ecological, safer, cheaper, and suitable for all bodies, ages, and so on. let’s not turn something that’s supposed to liberate us from the pressure of commercial brands into just another thing that uses manipulation and one-size-fits-all approach to achieve its goals.
it's 7 years since i started writing this blog, and over the time, it has transformed into something completely different that what i had originally intended – in a good way. since the very beginning, i've been very open and quite straight-forward about many details of my personal life, and in recent years, i kind of bared myself online, both in the literal and metaphorical sense.
if anyone told me 3 years ago that i’d be openly sharing information about sexual preferences/experience, the state of my mental health, and other super-intimate stuff i publish here or on my Instagram, i would probably laugh and say that i am not that stupid to share so much personal info i’d become quite unemployable. the thing is, now we’re here with tons of images of my body parts flying around, and a great abundance of articles and descriptions chronicling the lowest lows of my adult life, and i feel great about it. sure, it might make me unsuitable for certain jobs, but i guess i wouldn’t want to work at a place where the topics i discuss are stigmatized anyway.
even though it can be incredibly scary to share such intimate information online—and trust me, it still feels like it with some topics (just check the second Glowimin podcast when i’m introducing the topic and talking about our dislike of penetration, look how much i’m blushing!!), even now—but at the same time, it kinda feels amazing. first of all, here’s something i have discovered in the past few years: if you’re worrying about something, saying it loud—or publishing it in the online sphere—kind of makes the problem way less bad. i mean, the problematic thing will stay the same, but your approach will change – by having to formulate it and think through it all, you realize what really might be at its core and how to, perhaps, solve it. furthermore, as you’re not bottling it up inside you any longer, you feel relieved, and can look at the situation from a whole new perspective. and, of course, sharing it with someone else means the person will most probably help you with it all, and that’s something i cannot stress enough (but should learn to practice more): asking for help is not a sign of weakness. amen.
in my personal life, i have learnt that sharing what bothers me with other people, being it either about my relationships with other people or about my own issues with my mind and health, is thousand times better than keeping it inside and overworrying so much you turn a tiny issue into an avalanche of stress that might crush you completely. it might be scary to take the first step, but really go out of your comfort zone and tell people what you think. being open about your feelings is probably the best way to keep healthy relationships with yourself and others (now that’s something i always say – i will rather have a fight with someone and discuss all the shitty things even though it might hurt than keeping it inside until the moment you totally snap).
another thing, and that’s something i’ve noticed throughout all the years i’ve been writing about stuff not so many other local bloggers were discussing, is that even though it might expose you and your own issues, it helps several other people. and, i have to say, that’s exactly the reason i keep on doing this. i’ve received uncountable supportive messages saying how much a shitty 3-line description on Instagram helped someone with their own issues. people would be glad i talked about what they also experienced. people would be glad someone addressed how others treated them badly in certain situations. people would be glad someone showed that everyone was vulnerable, and that it was ok to admit that. i’ve been told i’ve made people believe they were not alone, and i’ve been even told i have saved lives, which is something that’s still quite impossible to grasp for me, because, um, i haven’t really done much more than just writing about my own reality.
and it worked the other way around too, because, even though i would like everyone to know that i am always there to help, i sometimes need someone to hold my hand too. i would get advice and supportive messages from strangers which instantly made it easier for me to cope with hard times, and at the same time, it even helped me finding new friends through this online connection (now that i think of it, i met most of my currently close friends through my blog/online activism). what’s more, given i live far away from most of my close friends and relatives and i cannot really explain how i feel to everyone constantly because of time or even willpower, saying it online made the information available to quite anyone who cares, and much easier for me to express it as i can think about it for a longer time without being pressured or questioned, while i do not have the feeling that i’m just trying to desperately get the attention of a close person and ditching all my burdens at them (see, i really have to work on improving my ability to ask for help without hating myself).
all in all, even though i sometimes do feel weird about publishing so so much online, knowing that stepping out of my comfort zone has helped several people, and also made me grow personally, i have to say it is totally worth it. because, in fact, the reason why we are afraid to share information about certain topics is just the pointless stigma attached to it anyways, and maybe it’s just about time to get over all that, huh?
a goodbye trip to CPH for my diploma.
the Danish wind.
friends, old and new and some of them disappearing.
i need some
t i m e
Spreewaldbad | D in my room
L during a Die Selektion set | aufnahme + wiedergabe b-day
Terka's b-day dinner
The Royal Library in CPH | my tacky room