Goat Friends (frolicnaked) wrote in vaginapagina,
Goat Friends

"Wouldn't you have that figured out by now?"

This is what a security monitor at school asked about a teenage student darting across the hall to the bathroom, plastic crinkly pad in hand. What she didn't know is that I was standing there wearing 3 different menstrual products and wishing I'd bought another pack of Depends, simultaneously sympathetic to my student's need for and intensely jealous of her ability to get a bathroom pass.

Here's the thing: I'm 28. At this point, I've been menstruating for over half my life ( not continuously, with the exception of the months I was on Depo and mid-2006 through mid-2009). Though I've not yet crocheted my own tampons, I have tried mostly every category of menstrual product available. And I've been hearing the "figure it out" mindset for a number of years and from a number of people. (And I'm reacting as much to that decade and a half of buildup as much as -- probably even more than -- the one sentence I heard spoken today.)

I still don't have that figured out -- so why would I expect an 18-year-old to? Not that some 18-year-olds or younger people don't have blood management figured out, but I also think there's a distinction between what individuals do and what society can or should expect.

I am also not a fan of the messages this may send about menstruation. I'm seeing "figuring that out" as involving a couple of different things:
One should manage bleeding in such a way that it doesn't alter (or appear to alter) your daily activities or commitments in any way.

Again, while I think a lot of people do have this goal, I wouldn't totally mind just being able to go to the bathroom more often to take care of menorrhaging. (Fuck you, Firefox spell check, it is so a word.) Well, I should clarify. I'd like not to have to live on the toilet, but I'd also very much enjoy having more frequent bathroom breaks as an option on par with, "Use a number of blood collecting devices in and around your crotchal region. Also wear dark pants, cross your legs, and hope."

The second implication of "figuring that out":
One should manage bleeding in such a way that no one else will know about it if they don't want to.
Because, you know, sometimes people tell me that they need to change their tampon/pad/whatever, and sometimes I tell the same to other people. I've received -- and I imagine others have received -- some shocked and disgusted reactions from approaching it in a matter-of-fact, conversational manner. Like what I should have "figured out" is not to talk about my period. Ever. Or if I must, only to do in in a shamed whisper where the words "pad" and/or "tampon" are spoken so quietly as to be inaudible and where I also do not make eye contact with the person to whom I am speaking.

I am (or I would, theoretically, as applied to me) be all for a way to bleed where no one else would know about it if I didn't want them to. However, I'm not so thrilled with the thought that the focus should be on someone else's convenience. Blood happens, you know?

PS -- For any cup-a-philes, my large Yuuki cup arrived today. It holds 50% more than my small UK Mooncup; I have hopes that it alone will help me "figure out" blood management for 45-60 minutes at a pop. :D
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