Planet Fitness and Periods

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Dear Reader,

Here we go …

I’ve written about sex, about health education, about body hair and body love and now it’s time to round it all out with a good-old-fashioned “period talk.”

When I was in middle school I remember huddling up with my girlfriends to discuss code names for our periods. Yes code names. As if there weren’t already enough of those. You know, Aunt Flo, Shark Week or the infamous “that time of the month.”

But we wanted our own code name, so no one would know what we were talking about it.

In high school we’d maneuver tampons into our coat sleeves and Ugg boots and shuffle off to the restrooms in shame. Popping ibuprofen for the pain and cursing our bodies for their nature.

We are taught to feel shame for our flows, rather than honoring our bodies divine power. We are made to feel weak for bleeding when in reality it is one of great strengths. We have all heard the words, “Calm down, are you on your period or something?” As if our bodies betray us, as if they make us emotional, or unable to be calm.

But here’s the reality folks, I bleed every month and that is wildly incredible. The fact that my body syncs up with the moon, the fact that my cycle is 28 days to the day each and every month, the fact that I can tell when I’m ovulating, and that I can honor and love my period is insanely empowering.

However, occasionally, as a solo female traveler living out of my car, I go back to that pain and shame. I flow out of my empowerment, if you will. Because to be quite honest, bleeding is messy. And when you don’t have access to a shower every day you need to get creative with your hygiene.

While on the phone with my mom earlier this week, words came out of my mouth that I haven’t spoken in years: “My period is in the bane of my existence (when I’m on the road).” And as I said those words I felt ashamed, but not about my period, instead about my hateful words.

I love that I bleed. I love that each month I am reminded that my body is healthy, and that I will be able to carry a baby one day.

The part I don’t love, became clear as I spoke the words to my mom. Not having no access to a shower was the problem.

So, you’ll know the story if you read Wednesday’s post … I figured out how to honor my body and get myself a damn shower. I found a Planet Fitness, got a day pass, and washed the blood and dirt off my gloriously powerful body. And I probably wouldn’t have if I wasn’t bleeding.

So, in reality, being on my period is not only incredibly natural and beautiful, it gave me the gift of a shower.

On the more practical side, some things that work for myself and others are non-scented baby wipes for sticky situations, honoring your body and staying in one place on your heaviest days, showers at campsites and gyms that give day passes, drinking loads of water, avoiding tampons and switching to cups or period panties (less waste, no need to pack them out if you’re on remote land) and lots of undie changes whether they are period-proof or not.

So, to the folks who bleed, your cycle is beautiful, your body is powerful, and if you shift out of shame and into power I promise you, your period will repay you with gifts like Planet Fitness showers (or whatever tickles your peach).

Lots of love,

Annalise