Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Adventures in Bleeding: My Bloody Valentine

I'm obsessed with my blood. I'm not sure exactly what brought this about at this particular time. A few weeks ago, I was doing my weekly shopping at a local health food store, and as I passed the little section devoted to reusable menstrual products I had a sudden urge to stop flushing and trashing and start washing and reusing. I dropped a hefty wad of cashola for 3 GladRags pantyliners, 3 day pads, and a Moon Cup.

But let's back up: Several years ago I read Cunt and was mesmerized by just about everything in it, and was specifically affected by the chapter entitled Blood and Cunts. I took to heart the idea of getting my body and my cycle in sync with the moon, and I'm happy to report that I now bleed with the new moon, like clockwork. Other gems were tucked away in the back of mind. Many months these thoughts would pop up, I'd ponder them for a few moments, and tuck them back away, because this month certainly can't be the month... maybe in a few months I'll have the time...

For years now I've been using Instead softcups. They're technically disposable, claiming you need to pitch it and start clean every time you take it out. But I knew there were other cups out there that could be used over and over again, so I split the diff. I would use one cup for one period, washing it thoroughly with soap and water before using again, and when my period was over I'd throw it away. I'd used it for years and was pretty satisfied. I had gotten to know it so well that I figured out little tricks like bearing down on the john so it would dump itself without needing to be removed. Pretty cool, huh? I was still, however, using disposable pantyliners, as these cups are prone to leakage, (if bearing down can dump it, sneezing and coughing understandably pose a problem at times) and a pad or two at the beginning and end of my period. Not a lot of waste, but too much for my taste. I had gotten so comfortable using the softcups that I figured it was time to bite the bullet and get the kind that I could use for a decade or longer.

Enter the Moon Cup. Having a latex allergy, the Moon Cup was the logical choice as it's made of medical grade silicone. It's otherwise identical to the Keeper, a cup I've known friends of mine to use and love. Its shape is obviously different than the type of cup I was accustomed to using, but I figured I'd get the hang of it. Uh... no. It was much more difficult to insert than I thought it would be. Lots of people say it's tricky the first few months, but that you eventually get the hang of it. Okay, I can deal. It took a couple of cycles for me to get the hang of the softcups, too. But the real problem came for me upon removable. As difficult as it was to get in, it was twice as hard to take out. If your vag is of the tight-n-tiny variety, beware! The cups twist and bend and fold to go in, but coming out is another story. No bending or folding--that would defeat the purpose. My husband could hear me two rooms away and rushed to the bathroom door in concern over all the yelping coming from the other side. No amount of convenience is worth that kind of pain and discomfort. Of course, women come in all different sizes, and these cups work just fine for many of them. I've always been of the aforementioned tight-n-tiny variety and I haven't popped any kids out, either. But the makers of the Moon Cup are so confident in their product that they give you 3 months to check it out, and if you just can't hack it, they'll give you a full refund. Nifty!

My other new experiment were the GladRags. Reusable pads sound too icky for you? Do yourself a huge fave and get over it. I adore mine. They're soft and pretty (I got the the pink ones with dots) and just plain make me feel good. After the ouchy-cup debacle, I was a bit sore and decided to forgo putting anything else inside me for a while. The cool thing about these pads is that they come with two inserts, so you can use one, two, or even three according to your flow. I realized that I was very out of touch with mine, as I'd been using cups for so many years, and only used one insert. Oops. But I was okay with it. There was something about letting myself bleed, and bleeding on fabric that was incredibly freeing. I felt so in touch with my body and my flow, and it felt so good not to be throwing anything away. There's something very fem-zen-ist about taking the time to soak your pads, see your blood, watching the water in the sink turn red... pretty swirls of red in the sink in celebration of V-Day... feeling yourself bleed, letting it flow naturally rather than holding it in until it fits into your very unnatural schedule. In case you couldn't tell, I've also been feeling compelled to live more naturally, in touch with my body, the earth...

I currently have 3 day pads with a total of six inserts. I'm planning to get myself 3 more holders, maybe 2 more inserts. I like using the holders by themselves as pantyliners, as my experience so far with the pantyliners is that they tend to slide back, although after a year of saying I need to do it, I'm actually going to buy myself some new underwear, which may remedy the situation. I'll update next month. I've also decided to try sea sponge tampons. I've thought about it enough that I think I'm over my original aversion to putting a sea creature in my vag. And after the cup fiasco and my love of all things naturale, I've decided I don't really want to put plastic inside me anymore. As Inga points out, these little creatures once lived in the ocean which, like our blood, is rule by the moon. It sounds pretty cool to me.

Stay tuned for more Adventures in Bleeding! Next month's episode: The Spring Sponge Spectacular!


gatsby9 said...

Do you know about the Michigan Women's Festival where people bleed on the land?

consciousness razor said...

I always wanted to go... now there's just one more reason! :-)