In the developed world, poverty stricken and homeless women also find access and funds for feminine protection to be a struggle. Imagine having to choose between buying a box of pads or dinner?
Acquiring knowledge about the menstrual cycle and how it affects you in particular is a learning curve. The more cycles you experience, the more you'll come to know yourself and the distinct changes that take place on a monthly basis. The most obvious thing you will come to understand is that despite the name the most important aspect of the menstrual cycle is ovulation NOT menstruation. Being aware of ovulation is important if you want to AVOID making a baby or ENCOURAGE making a baby and if you want to better understand your body and self. Know and respect your ovulatory power!
Ovulation is a potent magical, miraculous phenomenon that affects a woman's dynamic socially, sexually, physically and psychologically. - Samantha Zipporah
By understanding the different changes in your body on a monthly basis, you are well equipped to make decisions in your best interest. The difference between being a child and an adult is control over yourself and your life. Making decisions is an act of control When a girl begins menstruating her body is slowing changing from a child's into that of a woman. Things are different and you are different, but even though these changes happening to you are out of your control, how you accept and respond to them is within your control. You got that, Captain?
Awareness of yourself is always a good thing (except maybe when you're dancing with abandon or making wild love or art. Those times it is helpful to lose yourself and succumb a bit to the madness). In most other instances it is wise to have knowledge of our traits, feelings and behaviours. This is how we learn and grow. The tricky thing about the menstrual wheel of fortune is that most signs are invisible; cramps don't have a face and Mittelshmerz is silent. But when you know what to look for, when you pause and take note of the subtle changes within your body and emotions you will enjoy a level of self-awareness that is natural and good and strengthens with each passing moon.
With the joined forces of awareness and understanding of your body happen a new phenomenon occurs and it's called Body Literacy. It is wise to be body literate - you are the owner of your body and although nobody has given you a manual on how it works and how to use it, consider menstrual tracking and charting as the manual to one aspect of your reproductive system (pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding complete this circle of life as it pertains to the female body.)
Once you understand the intricacies of your changing body, you are more apt to accept the role that hormones, ovulation and menstruation have on it and your life. You will follow your monthly tides through the weather and the seasons and concede your energy and aura varies as widely as the earth. You are part of Mother Nature. You are Mother Nature. This acceptance brings mindfulness and peace.
Appreciation is an organic response when you are totally aware of your remarkable body and what it is capable of. Each month it works hard to create an optimal beginning for a new human life. The blood of menstruation is the physical signal that life did not begin that month, but it is also a strong indication that all systems are operating normally and that's something to be grateful for. I've said it before and I'll say it again; a healthy body is a perfect body, know this to be true and you will enjoy a new reverence for yourself that is beautiful.
One of the goals of creating this bracelet was to openly discuss the changing aspects of a woman's body and moods in regards to the menstrual cycle free of shame. Bleeding is a normal part of life, as is the wonder of ovulation and the slew of symptoms associated with PMS so yielding to these biological episodes sheds light on them and brings them out of the shadows. They are fundamental parts of being a woman and you should not feel embarrassed or ashamed because of them. They certainly don't make you weak, in actual fact you are strong enough to acknowledge and allow yourself to sometimes be vulnerable. Owning your menstrual cycle is a large part of owning your fertility and ignoring that reality is a false perception of yourself. Why would you want to lie to yourself?
As the days and months go by and you become deeply mindful of the changes your experience, from happy-go-lucky days of ovulation to the highly sensitive days of PMS to the quiet and introspective days of menstruation, you will begin to acknowledge that you are not alone - all women of reproductive age go through the same series of symptoms and manifestations. This will give birth to a heightened empathy with other women that undoubtedly will yield positive results like -
Empathy for other woman certainly leads to a deeper connection between you and them...so much so that hopefully the chasm will disappear and become us. Imagine a world where women were kind and supportive to each other? That is possible and I believe, probable - we just need a slight shift of perspective to a wider lens.
Empowered women empower women.
"When a woman rises up in glory, her energy is magnetic and her sense of possibility contagious. " - Marianne Williamson
With all the above elements commingling inside of you; awareness, understanding, control, empathy, body literacy, appreciation and acceptance there no doubt will come a moment when you will feel incredibly strong and powerful. A confidence will reveal itself within you and your relationship with your body. You are a woman! Be proud! Know how strong and resilient you are. This confidence will enable you to trust yourself and your intuition and know that you will make good decisions. You will be present in the moments of your life and listen to your body and inner voice and acknowledge and respect what you are FEELING.
You will begin to comprehend that you are an amazing woman who has so much to give to the world and who can make a positive difference to the lives of others. You know that to do that, you will first need to give to yourself. You need to rest, to eat healthy, to move, to laugh and to do things you love. It will come to your attention that when you are kind to yourself, you are kind to all. The world wins :) We all have dark days, but trust me (and the rhythmic nature of your cycle) and know that the dark days will pass. You won't beat yourself up as much when you have a bad day because you know that is normal. You are normal. Send your regrets or just don't show up if you're feeling overwhelmed and need to recharge. You are allowed to do as you wish. You are an adult. Make good choices.
It is vital that you give yourself time and permission for self-love. If first you give love to yourself, you are then more likely to go out and give love to the world. Doing good feels good and the pattern for a positive and rewarding life is being set each time you listen to yourself, the signals your body is sending and your internal dialogue. Say positive to things to yourself. "I got this" is a good one and it will infuse your efforts with strength and confidence.
Part of love is listening - by being aware of your cycle position you are listening to your body and are aware and accepting of your corresponding strengths and weaknesses. Own it. Be unapologetic. This is love.
Please understand that you are deserving of self-love and gratefully accept it and it will be the greatest gift you could ever give in a million years. You have now set the scene for love from and for others, the tools to truly connect with people - to feel love and give love.
The greatest thing ever will happen...you will be your own best friend.
A woman who is her own best friend is an empowered woman.