Written by Michelle Thole
It was a baking hot day in May. You know, the sweat dripping down your back kinda weather? I’d just finished leading a workshop for a well-known bank in the city. Pleased that it had gone well, I boarded the sweat box tube carriage heading northbound from Leicester Square.
I got settled into my seat for the twenty-minute journey and although happy with my choice of clothing – a floaty pastel coloured summer dress, I still felt humid and horrible. As I put my hand into my bag to retrieve a bottle of water, the tube jolted and my bag, plus all the contents had found its way all over the floor of the carriage.
As people do, everyone stared at me and frantically (holding my dress tightly around my legs, so nobody could see my knickers, whilst I bent down) I started, single-handily, picking up the contents of my bag. Tissues – check. Lip balm – check. Notepad – check. The lovely gentleman sitting next to me, got out of his seat to help. As we managed to collect all the sundries, the gentleman chased down the last remaining item that had managed to roll halfway down the aisle. Yes, you’ve probably guessed it, an applicator super absorbent tampon.
ARGH, of all the things! Nonchalantly, I smiled and thanked the gentleman and we both took our seats again. However, as I sat there, I begged the earth to swallow me up. Wishing to possess one of those ‘Men in Black’ brain eraser thingy’s that could magic ‘the gentleman handing over the tampon in plain sight of everyone around’ memory from my mind. Everyone on this carriage knows I’m on a period! OMG. I could feel my brain pulsing and my cheeks flush with embarrassment.
……I started thinking about how controversial it was for Alicia Keys to turn up to the BET Awards without wearing make-up and for Julia Roberts to have unshaven armpits at the Premiere of Notting Hill, and recently Madonna armpits pictured on Instagram.
I thought this ‘feminist crap’ was all too far fetched, however here I am, a product of a ‘man’s world’. Afraid to be myself and step into the truth of who I am. Yes, I am a woman and YES, WE HAVE PERIODS! Not only that but our periods are as natural as the rise and fall of the tide. So there!
……Now, I know this says more about me than the other peoples’ reactions in the carriage. However, since that day I’ve actively noticed how I react when buying tampons and very rarely when the subject of periods are brought up. I don’t want to feel embarrassed. I want to feel empowered.
So from now on, I have chosen to delight in the conversation, not shy away from it. I’ve chosen not to hide my tampons at the bottom of the basket when I go shopping or cover them over with other items in my basket like I once did. And, if the tampon debacle ever happened again, I can honestly say it wouldn’t bother me and I’d actually laugh about it.
Wearing no makeup, refusing to bow down to conformity, stop shaving and to boldly speak about periods…..
Is the most controversial thing we can do in this world, as women, is truly to show up as nature intended?
…I would definitely say yes. What do you think?