Wouldn’t it be liberating if we could be openly kinder to our bodies during our periods, particularly in places of education or employment?
At home I quite often use hot water bottles to help with cramps and devise various outfits of comfort and warmth to help with the intense and painful periods that I have. From talking with friends I know I am not alone in this and yet I have never ever seen anyone with a hot water bottle on their lap in the various work environments and jobs I have had.
I remember at my all girls secondary school which I went to between the ages 11 – 16 that if we had menstrual cramps we could all ask for a hot water bottle and sit with it during our lessons. It really wasn’t a bit deal. And it really did help. Then, when I went to a mixed school between ages 17 – 18, I realised that none of the girls sat around with hot water bottles. It was a subtle but noticeable change between two different school environments.
While I have not yet felt comfortable to wear jogging bottoms or use a hot water bottle at work I equally have never felt at ease taking a day off for period cramps, nausea, or heavy menstrual bleeding.
Fundamentally I would like to live in a society where menstruation and particularly problematic menstruation (whether that be pre-menstrual syndrome, pre-menstrual dysmorphic disorder, endometriosis, adenomyosis, peri-menopause or menopause) could be given greater visibility and kindness in public. It really feels like it’s time to end the taboo about periods.
Being ill sucks don’t you know? But oh, how the reminder of love that is still with you can soften the road to recovery.
If you are one who is ill, and going through it at the moment then I also send out some love to help you through. Know someone who is poorly? Then drop them a message to tell them you love them – snot, coughing, vomiting, pain and all.
When I feel at my most unlovable and gross these small things make all the difference.
Being a slow reader made me very self-conscious for much of my schooling until I was able to understand that it came from me being dyslexic. I realised (that in my experience) dyslexia meant that I took more time than the other academics around me to finish the same book, or even paragraph! I felt that unless I could devour a piece of writing or novel in an afternoon I should give up on literature and began to associate being a slow reader with being a bad reader’
Luckily I was able to find guidance from some good educators who helped demystify and simplify what it means to be a dyslexic learner and this gave me back confidence in the connection I had with literature rather than disadvantage I had with the mechanics of reading.
For me stories told through the medium of plays, graphic novels, films and radio are easier to digest. This may always be the case but now I am no longer frightened of delving into longer novels and after almost three decades am introducing myself to books I have always yearned to read but have shied away from given their page count.
How do engage with stories? Do you enjoy reading or have you, like me, been intimidated by school environments?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so drop me a comment below!
There are times when I feel wrapped up in my own mind. Then, some instinct ‘taps me on the shoulder’ and I realise that I am moving through my day while disconnected from my body. Chaos is queen. Turning in, tuning back in and listening to my body, grounds me back into the present. The chaos settles into steadiness. Taking time to do small things with great love for my body re-aligns and balances me.
I have been writing an autobiographical graphic novel about my experience of mental illness and creativity – and have now finished the book! In celebration of this I have published a short extract on my site. You can find it by following the link here: ‘The Butterfly Stage’.
(On a further note – I am going to be giving a presentation of this comic book as well as my other illustration and comic book art in London sometime in the next month. This event will be hosted by the wonderful Laydeez Do Comics! I will post the dates and other details once confirmed on my blog and if you are in the area then it would be great to see you there!)
Lots of drawing and sketching this week. The little figure in the middle is a caricature of my mum who has shared so much of her own inspiration with me, and certainly inspires me in return! (Thanks mum!) x
This week I have loved having a blooming good cry! Or rather, to be more accurate, what I loved was the transformation as tears are shed. When the body and heart are lighter, refreshed and ready to go on.