I have no shame. Call me shameless, unashamed. Also slut, whore, bitch. That’s what the patriarchy calls us when we dare to be unashamed. Well, I wear all those titles proudly.
It took a lot to get here. It meant having a sit-down with all my skeletons in full light, so I could see them clearly. Read all about it: I’m Grace Jones Bitch
Still, I wake up in a pool of blood and it takes me a day to reach out to housekeeping about a change of sheets. If anyone tried to shame me upfront about my period, I’d fight them without missing a beat. But that internalised shame is a monster to overcome.
I hate my period. I hate this part of presenting to the world in a female body. Every month, without fail, the dreadful cycle continues. I took out my IUD a couple months ago and I’m not ready to enter that torture spiral again. Now I’m back to my regular period, 5 days long and cramps that I can live through without painkillers. “Live through” looks like cursing a lot, laid out on the floor all day in various yoga poses and chain smoking. I hate it here.
The IUD torture spiral involved heavily bleeding for 7 to 14+ days. Always unpredictable. Worst cramps ever. I couldn’t survive without the strongest painkillers. I started sporadically fainting, and it turned out I was anaemic from the constant heavy bleeding. The anaemia was clocked 5 years later, just before I took it out.
I bleed onto my sheets every month. There’s a million things I could do to prevent this: I could wear a pad in addition to my usual tampons; I could wear clothes to bed, bleed into those instead; I could set alarms to wake me up every x hours to change… and on and on. But I don’t. I detest pads, I love to sleep naked and just fuck no to the alarms. Most of all, I will not be shamed or be made uncomfortable by something that is out of my control.
I detest pads. I hate seeing all that blood every time I go to pee. I hate the feeling of the blood flowing out, ew. We get the worst quality pads here, so they feel awful against the skin. They are hella uncomfortable. Remember the #MyAlwaysExperience campaign where everyone told their Always pads horror stories? Credit to Dr Njoki Ngumi for fighting so hard and so loud for us to be heard.
The last time I was in a relationship, I bled a lot in his bed. It was horrifying each time. I was unapologetic about it, each time, no matter how I felt on the inside. Beyond wearing a tampon, there’s only so much I can do to control how I bleed. The first time it happened was awkward as hell, but he responded the right way and even cleaned it up himself. I credit this to his mother raising him right.
(He also massaged my lower back whenever I was dying of cramps. It worked. One of the things I truly missed after we broke up)
Getting an IUD happened very impromptu. Working late with my best friend (Babe with a Capital B) and she saw on twitter that Marie Stopes was running a free clinic for contraceptives the next day. I asked if IUDs were included, it was yes and I was in. Before this, I used condoms and the morning after pill for oops moments. I didn’t have much knowledge except that the copper IUD was non-hormonal, could last 5-10 years and was 99% effective.
Insertion was ok. It just felt slightly uncomfortable, and I started to cramp immediately. Not crazily, but noticeably. On my next period, the torture spiral began. Gaddem.
All of that IUD chaos was worth it for one simple purpose: sperm filter (hormonal contraceptives are not an option for me). I don’t want to ever be pregnant. I’m terrified of experiencing my body in that way. I’m not a ‘girl’ like that. I don’t connect with that part of the human feminine. I wish I could take a pill that would dissolve my uterus. Hence, my period is a nuisance.
I’m sick of buying tampons. I’d rather spend that money on weed.