When I feel my insides cramping and contorting to signify the coming of my menstruation, it’s easy to groan. My periods can be hard and uncomfortable and I wasn’t exactly raised to know what my period means outside of my fertility and the societal stigma associated with it. The older I get, the more I learn (thank God).
Now I know my period represents much more than a week of bleeding and discomfort. It marks one phase in a continual cycle that every human is, or has been, a part of. I realize now it cycles with the seasons.
Personally, I love thinking about my own cycle as it relates to the seasons. I have my very own personal, sometimes visceral, spring, summer, fall and winter. No matter how difficult one season is, the next one is always guaranteed. Especially as we’re in the midst of a global pandemic that feels like it’s never going to end, this reassures me.
Using a menstrual cup was the first step in taking my menstrual education into my own hands. It has not only helped me feel connected with my body, but opened the door to learning about the menstrual cycle through the lens of the things that I’m passionate about like art, spirituality, environmentalism. What I’ve found is incredible people and compelling work that, when put into practice, literally eases the pain we experience that is too often normalized.
I feel a sense of relief on behalf of those who came before me when I see people embracing this aspect of themselves and opening conversations about menstruation and the inequities that too often come along with it. It makes me so grateful to be a part of this, even in a small way.
By Maya Mansour
Maya is a model, photographer, writer and editor.
Follow her publication @onereportmag