My first period
Lily Phillips gushes about her cycle and shares her period positive music video
I wanted to write a piece to express how much I bloody love Mooncups (pun intended), but I realised in order to do this I would need to begin at the beginning, as all great menstruation masterpieces do… masterpiece is a bit gushing, but I’m sticking with it. That marks end of period pun section.
You’ll be pleased to know that I don’t actually remember a lot about my first period. However much I’d love to describe the colour and texture of my debut crimson wave shooting into my pants in unnecessary graphic detail, I just can’t - its gone. Fragments are all I have left. This could be due to my shoddy long-term memory, but I have a more Freudian explanation…
One of my earliest memories (ok, I know I’ve just confessed to a dodgy long-term memory so who is to say this memory is even reliable, but who knows if anything is really real and it could all be the Matrix so my perspective is all I’ve got, so bear with and stop interrupting my flow - last period pun, I promise)... As I was saying, one of my first memories is sitting on my mum’s bed watching her attach a sanitary towel to her knickers before she put them on. (FYI, I do it the other way around-knickers then pad, weird… must be my way of rebelling.) As I got a bit older I was occasionally allowed to do this for her - which I found pretty awesome, peeling off the sticky bits and fusing pad to pant like it was a Blue Peter arts and crafts task (which it should’ve been - other girls weren’t as lucky as me). I also remember discussing periods in depth with my mum and older sister speculating on the age I would get mine based on their menarches (for all you period laymans out there, menarche is a posh name for first period).
When my moment finally came the memory gets hazy. I don’t remember exactly when it happened, what I was wearing, how much blood there was, whether it went into my shoe or not. And I believe this is testament to its lack of stigma within my home. It wasn’t something my mum hid from me, she didn’t pretend that the lining of her womb wasn’t ripping off piece by piece every month, causing excruciating stomach cramps and at times debilitating migraines. It was as normal as brushing your teeth, well maybe brushing your teeth with a hairbrush made of drawing pins, but hey you get the point. So here’s my theory. The human brain often remembers moments of trauma and humiliation with HD clarity, whilst the everyday moments are blurry and often disappear from the story entirely. Which explains my lack of detail. It was obviously a non-event in my life, similar to when I did my first poo. Ok smartarse, I will acknowledge that it could also be argued that you completely block out difficult memories as a way of your brain protecting itself, but as I remember elements I doubt this happened and also it doesn’t fit with the point I’m trying to make so shush!
What is imprinted in my mind is a feeling, a shift in who I was; a clear step towards adulthood, with a sense of my innocence ending. This feeling was so strong I felt I was physically pulsing with it. The only other time I felt like this was when I lost my virginity, like it was written all over my face, and by it I mean "sex", the word "sex" scrawled across my forehead. Not necessarily in a negative sense but a significance of knowing that things will never be quite the same. My comfortable, safe status quo had been disturbed. This was confirmed when I went to dance class (back to first period now). As I signed in the receptionist said: "Morning Lily! You look very womanly today." I quickly checked to see if my enormous pad had made its way down my trouser leg, but it hadn’t, how did she know? I felt a huge sense of pride at joining the club of "women" along with my sister, mum and Rachel from Friends. And ever since, I have associated periods with a feeling of womanliness rather than embarrassment, fear or disgust. Which is why perhaps, when my friend told me about Mooncups I was so open to trying something new. And I was comfortable discussing the ins and outs of how it worked with her. A positive development in menstrual care had been a long time coming. I went straight out and bought one and I’ve never looked back.
I’m aware I’m totally romanticising periods here and the reality is much darker than that and more like ahhhhwwwwooooozzaaaaeeeeek FML! The red curse has struck again! Being a woman sucks assssssssss! But a Mooncup could be a tiny cup of light at the end of a dark red tunnel of despair.
Lily is such a Mooncup devotee that she has recently teamed up with Mooncup Ltd to create a little promo video for their product, check it out here!
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