For most of history, women have been the unsung heroes, flying under the radar making big moves for the next generation. And here we are. Strong, confident, and aware of what we bring to the table. Being a woman is a whirlwind. It's full of strength, resilience, power, and unimaginable joy. But it can also be really f**king hard. Womanhood is filled with double standards and unrealistic expectations set by our society. Here are a few:
A woman should look put together and well kept, but not to the point that
she appears to be be trying too hard.
A woman should wear makeup to cover up any “imperfection”
but not too much because that's misleading.
Wrinkles and aging aren’t attractive but wait, don’t get botox because that’s fake.
Women should work out, but stick to cardio and toning.
She shouldn't get too muscular, that's not ladylike after all.
Are we seeing a theme?
Edit: A woman should wear, look, age, and exercise anyway she pleases.
In an era riddled with technology and social media, it almost seems as though we’re taking a few steps backwards. We are subconsciously comparing ourselves and trying to fit into a mold that society has created. How boring is that? We see photos every day of society’s idea of feminine. Tall, sun kissed, free of cellulite (impossible), and scantily clad. Now, I am in no way knocking these women because it takes work to look like that and I’m a fan of doing whatever the hell you want with your body. BUT, we're seeing a movement of inclusivity and I'm here for it. "Plus sized" models (face palm), body builders, trans women, professional athletes, women with stretch marks, breast cancer survivors, the list goes on. To me, being unapologetically yourself is the epitome femininity and strength.
So I've made a pact with myself to no longer compare myself to anyone. My body has won races, competed in triathlons, hugged my favorite humans, healed broken bones, lifted really heavy shit, traveled the world, and carried me through heartbreak. My body has never failed me, and for that I choose to honor it.
Womanhood also comes with the beautiful gift that the universe bestowed upon us to bring life into this world. And with that, the ever-so-taboo subject of menstrual cycles. How ironic is it that the very thing that gave us life is spoken about so scarcely? Oftentimes even viewed as off-putting.
So let’s talk about periods. They're pretty inconvenient and sometimes painful and regardless of how many feminine product brands advertise playing tennis and swan diving into an infinity pool, sometimes we just want to curl up on the coach, watch a sad movie, and ugly cry. Power to the people. Despite all of this, I don't know one mama that would trade it for the world.
So how do we make the best out of our visit from Aunt Flow? Well, we can start by tuning into our body's needs. I know that my body thrives on movement, nutritious food (and the occasional Taco Bell run), and my personal favorite, sleeeeeep. Along with being kind to our bodies, we can be kind to our planet by avoiding excessive waste. The average woman uses 240 tampons per year. That’s a lot of plastic. So here are a few brands and products to combat wastefulness.
You either love 'em or hate 'em, there's really no in between here. Menstrual cups are starting to win people over. You’ve probably heard of the most popular brands: Diva Cup, Saalt, and Nixit. They can, admittedly, be a little tricky but once you get the hang of it they’re incredibly convenient and eco friendly (some brands claim that with care they can last up to 10 years). Word from the wise- make sure that you’re getting the correct size. There are more options than you’d think: small, slim, regular, pre and post child birth, etc. I learned this lesson the hard way. Don’t be like me.
The Flex Disc claims to create 60% less waste than traditional menstrual products, as one ring lasts up to 12 hours. These are disposable so they're a little less ideal than a reusable menstrual cup, but still better than traditional tampons as you're avoiding the inevitable chemicals associated with most cotton tampons.
These are a hot take because a lot of people don’t like cardboard applicators. I personally don’t mind them, which might earn me the title of a masochist. My favorite organic/biodegradable/recyclable tampons are OI. They use 100% organic cotton grown without pesticide sprays (don't want that being absorbed down south).
At the end of the day, your body is yours and only yours. It's yours to honor. It's yours to nourish, critique, hate, love, strengthen, or make peace with. Just remember, if you're reading this, your body hasn't failed you yet.