Author Archives: Lucy H. Pearce

Confident Carry – Overcoming Shame Around Menstrual Products

Today’s guest post is from Period Wise, and touches on a really important issue: shame and menstrual products which was sparked by a recent event in a school in the US.

A teenage girl who was suspended for concealed carry of menstrual supplies [in a school system which requires that everything be brought into school in a clear plastic bag to facilitate security checks] sheds light on a problem that sadly still plagues us – a lack of confidence among those who menstruate and a lack of understanding among those who do not.

Apparently the Principal’s position is that teenage girls should feel confident enough to place their feminine hygiene needs in a clear bag for all the world to see and carry it with them to class throughout the days they are menstruating, or expect to become menstrual.

Social taboos and menstrual myths abound and affect all.

Rules are established – and followed – without real consideration to the needs of half (and perhaps over half) of the population of a school…group…gathering…attendees of functions….

And, perhaps that’s what these girls should do until this rule is struck down. Perhaps the girls should band together and bring feminine hygiene products in a clear confident carry bag every day whether they are menstruating or not.

I wish all girls and women were so confident in themselves and with menstruation that they were comfortable doing just that.  It would go a long way in ending the embarrassment that so often (and unnecessarily) accompanies things period wise.

And, it would also put an end to the idiotic assumption that menstruation requires a doctor’s permission slip because it’s a medical issue.

A medical issue?  Um…the last time I checked the definition of “medical” it said the word related to the treatment of illness and/or injury.

Menstruation is NEITHER.

So what does confident carry look like?

You tell me.

When you confidently carry menstrual products, what do you carry and how?

If you’ve never confidently carried menstrual products openly in public, what do you think it would look like?  And, how would you confident carry?

Who me? Confident carry?

YES! You!

Confident Carry day TODAY is an opportunity for all to embrace menstruation as normal and natural – NOT something to hide or be ashamed of.  It’s an opportunity to raise awareness to the plight of girls and women all over the world who are shamed into secrecy about all things period wise.

Who would benefit from seeing you confidently and openly carrying feminine hygiene products? Your daughter?  Granddaughter? Your mother? A niece? Your BFF? A student? A girl new to menstruation? A woman with years of experience?  Your partner?

Who could you / would you impact by participating in Confident Carry Day?

At the very least, Confident Carry Day (if you choose to participate) will impact YOU.)

Before you say, “This is not for me because I…” let me say this: male or female, not currently menstruating / never have / or never will again – all are role models for the girl or the boy in your life.

Yes.  Confident Carry is not just about girls and women.  It’s about men and boys, too.

#ConfidentCarry on #May9 is for all.

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Guestpost from Suzan from Period Wise: Empowering girls and women to embrace a too long taboo topic – menstruation.

Currently my work as a menstrual activist and educator includes many roles: mentor, friend, writer, speaker, teacher, and perpetual student.  I also serve as the Director of Connectivity for You ARE Loved (a non-profit that raises awareness about TSS) and as the Manager of North American Operations for Lunette (makers of an amazing reusable menstrual cup).

 

Women are Humans Too.

A couple of days ago I got this tremendous boost. The community I hang out in of world-changing, paradigm-shifting women was gathered for a teleconference. Day in day out I see women doing inspiring, world-changing personal work, creating health-making businesses… and I feel full. Excited. We are on the brink. We are doing it. Women are helping to shift this world with more power and energy than any time in the past few thousand years. I can almost FEEL a tangible shift in being – for us as individuals, for our daughters, sons, communities…

And then I hear news like that of the hundreds of missing school girls in Nigeria. And I feel despair, dark, sad, sickness. That anyone, whatever their moral compass can believe that they have the right to steal hundreds of human beings, and decide their fates for them forcibly.

The leader boasted that all girls should be wives at 12… or even 6. SIX!  I have a 6 year old girl. How depraved must any man be to want a child of that age to wait on their every need… including sexual… is beyond belief.

That there are still, not just one or two, but thousands, hundreds of thousands of men (and perhaps women) in this world who still believe that the only purpose of another human being is to serve their domestic and sexual needs, without question, as their entire reason for being. And that for any fault in this service, the “contract” can be extinguished through death or permanent disability….

I find it extraordinary that STILL we need to reiterate the basic fact: women are humans too.

And then I think back… that in another life time this could have been me. I think how 25 years ago I would still have been excluded from some Oxbridge colleges. Less than 100 years ago my education would have been curtailed and I would have been married by 18. To have unknown numbers of children, and my fate tied to that of my husband. 150 years ago I would have been refused education all together and would have had my husband decided for me.

I know that many men in the West are a bit like, pipe down now, you’ve got everything you wanted. And more. Look schools are more focused on girl-friendly methods, you get loads of paid maternity leave. Shut up already.

But whilst there are still women in the world whose lives are in danger, are tradeable, are not their own, simply by virtue of having been born with a vagina, then I will continue to shout:

Women are humans too.

These girls are our daughters. Our sisters. Ourselves.

Whatever your religion. Whatever your nationality.

Women are humans too.

The news coverage of this horrific kidnapping of high school students in Nigeria has been shoddy at best. If you don't yet, you need to know the story. And then you need to share it. #bringbackourgirls

 

Womb Wraps

Have you come across womb wraps? I hadn’t… until only two weeks ago.

If you suffer with any of the following:

  • menstrual cramps
  • lower back pain
  • symphysis pubis
  • pelvic pain
  • chilled kidneys

either during menstruation, pregnancy or postpartum, then you will know how you long for comfort and support… but that it’s hard to find.

When Claire Taylor of  www.cherishingwoman.org contacted me to tell me about her womb wraps, I was so excited to hear that there was even such a thing, having struggled with all of the above problems over the years. Womb wraps sounded so comforting, I just had to see one for myself. Having been sick for weeks, with monster PMS and chronic lower back pain, I needed some comfort and love… and fast.

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It arrived in a flash. Ripped open by my daughters who demanded to know what it was. I didn’t lose a second in trying it on – the details that come with it are super clear. It is like a mini wrap skirt of softest fleece, with long ties. It reminded me a little of wearing a wrap sling – only much simpler and lower on the body – but it is the same feeling of being hugged. My daughters and son immediately started stroking it, whilst asking what it was for, saying that they could stroke it forever it was so soft. They each demanded a try (my daughter instinctively slinging her doll in it!). It is soothing and warming like this and gives gentle support to the whole belly, womb, kidney and pelvis area. You could wear one round the house or out and about without anyone looking twice-  they come in maroon, chocolate and leopard print.

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But that’s only half the magic! We then we heated up a hot water bottle and popped it into the integrated pouch at the back – worn one way the heat is held over the lower back, the other way and it’s over the womb. We had to readjust the tension a bit to support the weight of the water bottle.

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Holy mama, it was divine. So, so soothing. Pure heaven.

Soft, stretchy, warming – like having a perfect hug around your belly and lower back. These fleecy wraps are so nurturing. Beautifully made by hand, you can tel they’ve been stitched with love – as there’s even a little heart stitched into the back.

As you know I love supporting women in business, especially women creating and selling products to support and empower other women. These tick every box for me.They get my absolute seal of approval for a well-designed and -made product especially for women – for happy wombs everywhere – they should become part of every woman’s self-care kit.

Womb wraps are £25 from www.cherishingwoman.org

Cunt Love

 

Today’s guest post from Colette aka Lady Cunt Love is powerful stuff…

To really love your cunt is to take back what belongs to you.

It is to reconcile with the patriarchal bullshit we have had to put up with for the last thousand years and gain back all the wisdom that we had in a time when our cunts were revered with love and awe. It is to accept that the fear that men felt of our power and capacity for sexual pleasure and to also see that somewhere along the line, we have internalised that fear.

To reclaim the word ‘cunt’ and say with a smile on your lips is so fucking liberating. It is to strip yourself of the chastity belts and straight jackets once and for all.

It’s time for us to move on to a new place.

A place where we are no longer silent or shamed. A place where we see the beauty in ourselves and others.

It is time for us to stop comparing and competing with each other as women but to join together in a circle of sisters. It’s so much easier and liberating this way. It is the only way.

I learned all of this through talking to people on the streets. I decided one day that I had enough of the secrecy and silence. So I created an alter ego for myself named Lady Cunt Love. I wore a silk cunt headpiece on my head and a velvet, glittery cunt around my waist. I had a clipboard and a lots of handrawn cunts and colouring pencils. I had my two friends with me – Queen Clit and The Cuntess. We approached people on the street and in pubs and cafes and clubs. We learned so much about how people view the world, cunts, cocks, sex, porn, gender and language.

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I then began to share my story in the form of a poetry collection called ‘The Healing Journey of my Cunt’. We created Cuntcraft, a craft where we sit in circle and use velvet, satin, silk, glitter to create our own beautifully crafted cunts. I facilitate these circles and perform and exhibit from my studio in Brighton, The Cuntquarters and all over the UK and Ireland.

I have witnessed so many beautiful moments where a sweet kind of magic takes over and women find the courage to share their stories with me. Sad stories are told about painful periods, rape, traumatic abortions, miscarriage, abuse and shame (lots of shame). Liberating stories are told too – about sexual pleasure, joyous births and pregnancies, premenstrual insights and happy bleeds. Once the stories are expressed, they are out in the world and can take on a new meaning. They are released and we can come to a place of love, forgiveness and acceptance.

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I have now decided it is time to take this even further and am inviting women to join me on a four week online Cunt Loving Quest beginning on the 1st April. This is to give women the opportunity to explore their relationships with the cunts in the safety and comfort of their own homes.

You can see a video of me describing the course here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGEyvx6dYrY and join the quest on my website here. http://cherishthecunt.com/2014/03/06/introducing-the-28-day-cunt-loving-quest

Herbs – Healing Whole Foods for Women – Guest post

“One of the biggest tragedies of human civilization is the precedents of chemical therapy over nutrition.  It is substitution of artificial therapy over natural, of poison over food, in which we are feeding people poisons trying to correct the reactions of starvation.”

Dr. Royal Lee

red clover  The effects of moving away from our whole food diet and eating a refined, processed, and convenience food diet are very prevalent in our society.

As a culture, we have created the same scenario with our healing medicines, including those for healing the female body.  We have moved away from whole, natural medicines to the processed, refined, factory made pharmaceuticals that upset balance in the human body.  Just as refined, factory made food products upset the body’s natural balance.

Herbs, whether ingested as a medicinal infusion, taken as a tincture or in any other form of herbal medicine, are amazing healing tools because herbs are whole foods.

The nutrients in the herbs: vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, and the nutrients yet to be discovered, are utilized by the body cells to cleanse, nourish, and heal each and every body cell.  Herbs specific for the female reproductive tract are nourishing to the reproductive organ’s cells.

So often we get the message from main stream media and medicine:  Do NOT use herbs as they are potentially dangerous.  This is as crazy as saying that eating beets, apples, or any other natural, whole food is potentially dangerous.

When we eat a beet, an apple, some broccoli, or any whole food, our body digests and absorbs the nutrients in the whole food to nourish our cellular health.  The same process of digestion and assimilation of nutrients happens with herbs.  Herbs are whole food; herbs are healing medicine.

Herbs are plants (leaf, root, stems, bark, berries, seeds), like a beet or an apple, that have nutritional and healing properties with affinities for certain tissues.

Herbs for female health are many and each has its own healing purpose.  Used in combination, they create powerful healing energy in the female body.

Some excellent female healing herbs are:

  • Stinging nettles
  • Red raspberry leaf
  • Wild yam
  • Chaste tree berry
  • Motherwort
  • Red clover flower
  • False unicorn root
  • Passion flower
  • Don quai root
  • Wild carrot
  • Ginger
  • Blue and Black cohosh
  • Squaw vine
  • Yarrow
  • Pennyroyal
  • Mugwort

I recommend you read up on the herb you want to ingest for its nourishing, medicinal abilities.  Learn about the herb and its healing affinities before you make the decision to take it.  Contact your local herbalist for help in choosing the right herb or blend of herbs to add to your whole food dietary plan to promote personal health and healing.

Herbs are whole foods.  Use them wisely for healing your female energy and whole body healing.

 

YoumellPaula Youmell is an RN, author, holistic healer, and blogger who thrives in northern NY State, USA.  Learn more about her healing lifestyle at www.HandsOnHealthHH.com or http://www.wholefoodhealer.com

Purchase her new book here.

Lost in Living – Film on Creative Mothers… free to view this Women’s Day

Creativity is so much more than just a “job”. It is a calling, an urge, a fight for freedom, a path to sanity. And it can be a very lonely, dispiriting business as a mother when you are driven by this compulsion, and those around you don’t understand it. Or think you should be doing something that pays better. Or is more reliable. Or that you should just give yourself fully to your children.
This is the life of the artist-mother. Pulled in two directions by two equal passions. Floundering to form her own identity.
This is what my best-selling book, The Rainbow Way: cultivating creativity in the midst of motherhood  focuses on – every aspect of this conundrum, and how to solve it in your own life.
In the book I reference a very special film, which also focuses on this topic.
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Lost in Living is a documentary film by Mary Trunk, filmed over 8 years, which follows the lives of four creative mothers: an author, visual artist, painter and film maker, as they navigate and reflect on the challenges of making art as they mother. It is a very powerful film.
If you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet… now’s your opportunity… and for FREE!

Lost In Living will be available to stream for free on-line for 24 hours on March 8, 2014 to coincide with International Women’s Day at this link
https://vimeo.com/67761940 (active for 24 hours from 8:00 am PST time.)

So watch it yourself… get a group of friends, your women’s group or red tent and watch it together… Let it reassure you… start conversations… inspire you…

As film maker Mary Trunk says: “Women’s stories need to be accessible and this will be a unique and exciting moment for everyone to take part in the conversation about balancing family, work and creative passion.”

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