The jour­ney towards embrac­ing your period

by Britta
Menstruation around the world, Wertsch√§tzung f√ľr die eigene Menstruation, Zyklusliebe, Periodenkunst, Selbstakzeptanz, Vulvani

Men­stru­a­tion around the world is series from Vul­vani that attempts to show the diver­sity of men­strual expe­ri­ences around the world. We por­tray peo­ple from dif­fer­ent coun­tries with their per­sonal sto­ries. Let us explore the jour­ney towards embrac­ing your period together.

Mara lives in Madrid, Spain, but was born and raised in Brazil. In this inter¬≠view she takes us along, in a very hon¬≠est way, on her long jour¬≠ney towards more self-accep¬≠tance, love and embrac¬≠ing your period. Dear Mara, thank you from the bot¬≠tom of my heart for your open¬≠ness and the great interview!

Per­sonal Information

Name: Mara
Age: 25
Gen­der / Sex: Woman
Coun­try of birth: Brazil
Home: Madrid, Spain
Degress + Job: Cre¬≠ative woman
Age at first period: 12
Favorite period prod­uct: Men­strual cup
Cost per men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion: Seven years ago I paid the equiv¬≠a¬≠lent of 20 euros for a men¬≠strual cup
Con­tra­cep­tion: Per­cep­tion of fer­til­ity and condom

1. How is men­stru­a­tion seen in your fam­ily, cul­ture and even country?

I grew up until the age of 10 in a very sim¬≠ple cul¬≠ture and in the coun¬≠try¬≠side where I did not know about men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion,. Until the age of 10 I did not even know that it existed. Nor in the fol¬≠low¬≠ing years was there any talk of men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion, either about the body or about sex¬≠u¬≠al¬≠ity, it was some¬≠thing totally taboo. To this day in my fam¬≠ily I see that it is some¬≠thing that is totally treated as taboo. Per¬≠haps because it is a very rural cul¬≠ture, where most peo¬≠ple, includ¬≠ing women, have not had any access to cul¬≠ture or edu¬≠ca¬≠tion. A closed cul¬≠ture lost in time, where the body and sex¬≠u¬≠al¬≠ity are not some¬≠thing to talk about. I think that in gen¬≠eral in Brazil, men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion is as taboo as sex¬≠u¬≠al¬≠ity itself.

2. How and by whom were you edu­cated about menstruation?

What I learned about men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion was in schools, but I have few mem¬≠o¬≠ries of classes on repro¬≠duc¬≠tion and sex¬≠u¬≠al¬≠ity. When I was a child I heard that the day I bled, no one should know, nor could I let men per¬≠ceive that I was bleed¬≠ing. That was part of a vio¬≠lent cul¬≠ture, where bleed¬≠ing was already a rea¬≠son to be raped.

3. Tell us a lit¬≠tle about your first period.

My first period was hor¬≠ri¬≠ble. I was no longer liv¬≠ing with my bio¬≠log¬≠i¬≠cal fam¬≠ily. At 10 I was adopted by a lady, who actu¬≠ally treated me as a domes¬≠tic employee. But speak¬≠ing of this day, I was liv¬≠ing in a com¬≠mu¬≠nity in Rio De Janeiro, I had just turned 12 years. It was August 22, 2008, I had turned 12 on July 28. In the house I lived in, there was a lack of water and I needed to go to the bath¬≠room, so I went to my lit¬≠tle friend Amanda‚Äôs house. When I took off my clothes and saw the lit¬≠tle blood¬≠stain, I felt despair, fear, shame, and a sense of aban¬≠don¬≠ment. I remem¬≠ber ask¬≠ing Amanda not to tell any¬≠one, and before I could go out¬≠side, Amanda was scream¬≠ing at every¬≠one that I had bled. I felt betrayed, then every¬≠one knew that I was already a ‚Äúwoman‚ÄĚ, every¬≠one with¬≠out excep¬≠tion, and for the first time I felt vio¬≠lated with¬≠out being touched.

‚ÄėWhen I took off my clothes and saw the lit¬≠tle blood¬≠stain, I felt despair, fear, shame, and a sense of abandonment.‚Äô

4. How do you feel about your own menstruation?

Today I made peace with my blood, with myself and with my wounds, caused by a misog¬≠y¬≠nist and vio¬≠lent cul¬≠ture. Over the past few years I have approached and healed myself through my blood. In the last 6 years, I have reestab¬≠lished a peace¬≠ful and lov¬≠ing rela¬≠tion¬≠ship with my men¬≠strual blood. Today I love being a woman. I love hav¬≠ing the aware¬≠ness that I have today with my body and my bleed¬≠ing, feel every month as this process occurs to finally bleed is some¬≠thing very pre¬≠cious. I believe that a woman can only live totally in peace when she can estab¬≠lish a peace¬≠ful and lov¬≠ing rela¬≠tion¬≠ship with her blood and her body.

Photo credit: Mara

5. Which men­strual prod­ucts have you already tried?

Before I started using the cup I used a dis¬≠pos¬≠able pad.

6. What do you like to do when on your period?

I usu¬≠ally paint, some¬≠times using my blood, some¬≠times I put it on the plants or some¬≠times I talk to it and thank it for being there, I like to touch it and feel it.

‚ÄėI feel the lit¬≠tle dance in the uterus, but it is some¬≠thing totally smooth.‚Äô

Are you curi¬≠ous to try free bleed¬≠ing and expe¬≠ri¬≠ence your period in a new way? Then our online course ‚ÄúMen¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion with¬≠out prod¬≠ucts: Learn Free Bleed¬≠ing‚ÄĚ is per¬≠fect for you

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7. How are you feel­ing when menstruating?

I‚Äôm a very lucky woman, I have no phys¬≠i¬≠cal com¬≠plaints. I feel the lit¬≠tle dance in the uterus, but it is some¬≠thing totally smooth. The only thing you notice at each cycle is the move on an emo¬≠tional level.

8. Who are you talk­ing to about menstruation?

I talk about men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion these days with every¬≠one, because one of my great¬≠est wishes is that men¬≠strual blood be treated nat¬≠u¬≠rally and with¬≠out any kind of taboo. 

9. Do you have a par¬≠tic¬≠u¬≠lar funny, embar¬≠rass¬≠ing or impor¬≠tant story about menstruation?

Once I met a guy, I invited him to my house and as I thought, we should have sex‚Ķ until I asked him about my paint¬≠ings, if he could imag¬≠ine what they were made of and he answered no. When I told him, he answered: How dis¬≠gust¬≠ing. I quickly told him, get dressed and get out of my house. Until today, the boy does not under¬≠stand why. Obvi¬≠ously, I would never, these days, have sex with a boy who tells me that he is dis¬≠gusted by blood. And I never saw him again, even though he wrote to ask me what had hap¬≠pened, I just told him: think.

Photo credit: Mara

10. Want to share any­thing else about men­stru­a­tion (or yourself)?

I think to change the world, we‚Äôre going to have to change a lot of things. Start¬≠ing with break¬≠ing any taboos about the body, the female body mainly. I think it is very impor¬≠tant to teach our girls the power within, and then maybe we will grow very aware of the power within that we have, being at peace with our world will be the most impor¬≠tant revolution.

‚ÄėBeing at peace with our world, will be the most impor¬≠tant revolution.‚Äô

Photo credit: Mara

Do you want to become part of ‚ÄėMen¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion around the world‚Äô?

We hope to be able to present the por¬≠traits of men¬≠stru¬≠at¬≠ing peo¬≠ple as var¬≠ied and diverse as pos¬≠si¬≠ble. And for this we need you ‚Äď no mat¬≠ter how you feel about your own men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion or where you come from! If you would like to be part of this series and share your per¬≠sonal expe¬≠ri¬≠ences and thoughts about men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion with us, please write us a mes¬≠sage or sim¬≠ply fill out this ques¬≠tion¬≠naire (anony¬≠mously is also pos¬≠si¬≠ble). We are already look¬≠ing for¬≠ward to shar¬≠ing your story with the Vul¬≠vani community!

Published at 14. May 2020
Britta Wiebe is the co-founder of Vulvani. She loves researching, writing and designing new articles or innovative educational concepts about menstruation all day long. When she is not travelling the world, she enjoys spending time with her loved ones in the beautiful city of Hamburg in Germany. Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter

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