So here we are again, talking tampons…. Last week I shared a story of what inspired this blog post series, as well as some of my charged emotions surrounded tampons and the use of them. Make sure you check out part one of this blog series so you are up to date with where we are at in this conversation!
Now, time to get into the nitty gritty of what I perceive to be the challenges of using tampons as it relates to our bodies, our emotions, and our spirituality as women!
Lets start with the body. Recalling back to my days of using tampons while in middle school and most of high school, tampons were always uncomfortable for me. I remember learning to use one when I got my cycle for the first time, and it being a fairly uncomfortable experience. Having just began puberty when I bled for the first time, my cycle was not heavy, thus large amounts of blood and cervical fluid were few and far between. You can imagine the pain associated with inserting a wad of dry cotton (and plastic, as most tampons are comprised mostly of plastic derivatives) into a dry vagina, either from your own experience or from the visual I am building here. Either way, not pretty, and definitely painful. I also recall menstrual cramps being more intense during the time that I used tampons.
I posted a blog last year about some of the harsh chemicals that are in many brands of tampons. You can check out that post here to get some of the back story, but I will summarize a bit as well (bear with me on the details here, but these facts are important to hear about tampons.) Tampons and pads are concentrated with the chemicals dioxin, rayon, and asbestos which are all xeno-estrogens. Rayon serves the purpose of absorbency in the pads and tampons, while dioxin is a chemical known to cause bleeding. Could there be a relationship to dioxin added to menstrual products to increase women’s bleeding so women need to use more of these menstrual products with each cycle, thus further supporting the menstrual product industry? Interesting correlation. Not only that, but the chemical asbestos is common in these products. Asbestos is an irritant that can also cause excessive bleeding. Dioxin is toxic to the reproductive and immune system, and has been known to cause endometriosis (irregular bleeding/infertility which is very common among women today.) Rayon creates a breeding ground for dioxin within the vagina (from the use of tampons) by leaving fibers behind in the uterus. This process has been known to lead to toxic shock syndrome, because leaving the toxic tampon in for extended lengths of increases this breeding ground, creating greater susceptibility. Absorbent fibers form rayon can absorb into the menstrual blood, as well as normal vaginal secretions. This can potentially cause drying, and ulceration of vaginal tissues. The fibers can also become imbedded in the vaginal walls.
In my opinion, tampons are a way of not looking at our cycles. It is an interesting experience for me to recall back to when I began my menstrual cycle and all of my years bleeding as a teenager, mostly because I am unable to recall much for memories of it. I spiritually and emotionally detached from my cycle and tucked it away, in a dark corner of my subconscious, not to be realized again until I was exiting my teenage years. I feel like the use of tampons during that time after I started bleeding was a way of blocking it out; not associating with it and essentially pretending it didn’t exist. I even recall forgetting I had tampons inside of me at times… and just to go there… I even recall once or twice having sex with a tampon inside of me when I was a teenager. Crazy… I know. I share this because I feel like it is an example of the disassociation that can happen from our cycles with the use of tampons. Yes, I did this when I was a reckless and immature teenager, though I strongly feel in my personal experience that using tampons allowed me at the time to disassociate to that degree, that I was barely even aware I was bleeding.
When it comes to my body, I was blessed to avoid any extensive degree of physical challenges due to the use of tampons, but I know of many women who have not gotten by as easily. What I have shared above, is only scratching the surface of the extensive potential physical challenges from using tampons. I encourage you to do your own research on this subject matter and explore the vast sea of information that exists about this out there. Be informed, and inform your loved ones.
Now… Onto the emotions. I’m excited to share my musings on this aspect, as I have felt such significant emotional shifts from converting to reusable organic cloth pads, after use of tampons. Let’s face it ladies: Most of us have been trained psychologically by our culture when growing up that women are to quiet down, not make a “scene”, and remain virtually unexpressive. This was my experience, at least. Don’t make a scene – That’s great, right? Commonly, when women get emotionally expressive they are dubbed as “making a scene”, whether it is a waterfall of tears, an angry communication, or forthrightness and articulate communication in general! And so… We are trained to stuff it down, be quiet, and move on. Well, tampons are an emotional metaphor of that for me. We are “stuffing” ourselves up when using tampons, and hiding it all away. As I mentioned earlier in this post, our bleeding is rarely seen when using tampons, except for the chance droplets of blood getting to flow into the toilet during the tampon changing process, or perhaps a leak through the tampon while bleeding heavily. We are meant to express while bleeding. Actually, fuck it – We are mean to express ALL the time. We are women. That is what we do! We are expressive creatures and denying ourselves that fundamental right is stripping us of our divinely inherent femininity. Though… We are extra emotionally expressive while bleeding, and what I am trying to say here, is that it is natural. Those emotions don’t need to be plugged up, nor does our bleeding. The cascade of emotion and blood is meant to spill from within us during our bleeding days. Our bleeding is cleansing and it is meant to cleanse us emotionally.
Moon time, menstruation, bleeding – It is mean to be purifying. It literally removes toxins from our body through our blood and refreshes us physically. The physically process initiates a similar experience emotionally, as it triggers us to express whatever is needing to come our or has been pent up over the last month, or year, or lifetime. Moon time unearths whatever feelings and emotions are most needing to be felt. Try this: Next time you bleed, tune in deeply to how you feel. What is coming up? Anger? Rage? Sadness? Pain? Unbridled joy? Ecstasy? Really feel into the physical and emotional experience you are having while bleeding. It is all natural whatever comes up. Let your body purge and express whatever comes up, knowing that it is needed to be felt – Even if it hurts a lot – In order to raise you to an even more elevated sense of your higher self. Eat some chocolate after, have a glass of wine… Snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie with a cup of your favorite tea. Nourish yourself while/after you release.
Lastly, lets talk spirituality. I know some of my readers here love up the spiritual aspect of their moon time, and others might not have tuned into this aspect of their cycle yet. Wherever you are at with it, we’re going to take it up a notch. Have you ever felt a sense of heightened awareness and intuition while you were bleeding? What about feeling like you are in an altered state of consciousness while basking in your moon time glow? It is not uncommon for women to experience these states of being while bleeding and I feel like tampons can potentially suppress this spiritually heightened state of being in women, in a similar way that they feel like a metaphor for stuffing away our emotions. Tampons prevent our blood to spill forth in the way it was designed to, and so for me tampons feel like a spiritual dam. A dam that blocks of the flowing nature of our womanly bodies, and possibly stifles our spiritual connection to self through its nature as a barrier. In spirituality, we are always trying to shed layers of emotional gunk and false stories about ourselves, in order to more deeply connect to who we truly are – Our authentic nature. Basically, we are working to remove all barriers that are keeping us from our natural selves. Tampons feel like a physical barrier for me, disconnecting me from the authentic feminine wisdom that cycles through my womb. How can we connect to our inherent flowing, receptive nature while bleeding if we have something plugging it all up? How can we feel deeply into our wombs when there is an object submerged in there that is suffocating our sense of feeling in there?
For me personally, when I began practicing menstrual awareness and studying women’s wisdom, I tuned into that heightened awareness immediately, and I know many other women who have shared their similar experiences with me. My intuition always feel ultra fine tuned while I am on my moon. I feel almost psychic, like I can finish people’s sentences, and almost a shamanic ability to discern what people need and/or don’t need. To learn a little bit more about shamanism as it relates to menstruation, check out this post I did on the very topic. I think most of us women can relate on the fact that we are über sensitive while bleeding, whether it be emotionally, physically, or spiritually. Often times while on my moon, I feel extremely emotionally empowered, while leading up to my bleeding time I feel extremely emotionally sensitive and even the slightest thing I wind up taking personally or as a dig against me. Physically, I tend to be very sensitive in relation to what is happening in my womb, whether it is full force cramps, minor stirrings of contractions, my actual blood flowing out of my womb, and so on. Ok, yes, I write A LOT about menstruation, and I have another post I want to share with you here – I only share it because it is all relevant, I promise! This blog post, called “Blood Wisdom”, was a piece of poetry I wrote after one of the most intense bouts of cramps I had ever had, on the first day of a cycle a last year. Menstrual cramps in my experience, can be a supremely shamanic experience, especially when the pain is high. I find them to cause intense bursts of creativity, emotionally clarity, as well as obvious insight into the need to slow down, and/or shift something physically or emotionally to balance myself.
This book I am about to recommend to you, for me and some of my dear sisters, is like the feminine bible for us. It covers menstruation from front to back, delving into the emotional aspect of menstruation, the physical aspect of menstruation, and most definitely (and in depth) the spiritual aspect of menstruation. The book is called Her Blood Is Gold, and I HIGHLY encourage every woman to read this book, especially if you are interested in exploring menstruation as it defines us as women.
Unplug, connect to the divine.
To leave you on a humorous note, check out this video that my sistah Camille shared with me last night. Freaking hilarious video, and I know all you ladies in the natural women’s world will get a complete and utter kick out of it!
Coming up in the final installment of this series, part three – I will share my protocol for my moon time and why I do what I do, and use what I use!
Now, you tell me: Do you nurture yourself physically during your moon time? If so, how? Do you allow yourself to be emotionally expressive while bleeding? What kind of experiences has that yielded you? What are your moon time spiritual practices, if any?
As always, thank you for reading, and please don’t hesitate to share your insights in the comments below!
In the spirit of unplugging,