Through My Own Eyes

“Since this is such a taboo in my community, I never felt like this was something that empowers me. But now that I’m growing up and forming my own opinions and seeing the world through my own eyes, I do think that it’s empowering in a sense that now me being aware of my body and what happens to it every month is a way of me standing up to my society and their views on my body.” ~Anonymous, Female, Lebanon


“I’m part of this natural occurrence that I have in common with women around the world, it connects me to the past and future.” ~Female, USA

Raising Our Voices

“I think that there is still major work to be done around all things period and women's health beyond musical commercials. While I wish that being a menstruating woman made me feel empowered and connected, it still overwhelmingly feels fragile and ostracizing. My moments of empowerment really come from lifting other women with similar experiences up and raising our voices to begin the normalization of menstruation (and the complications that come with it) in our society.” ~Anonymous, Female, USA 

 The Trampoline

“I was 11 when I got my first period and was playing with neighborhood friends, jumping on their trampoline. I bled through my shorts and my friend Josh saw it, thought I was hurt. I was a bit embarrassed but more irritated that I had to take a break from having fun to change my damn undies and shorts. Luckily, my mom and two older sisters prepared me well before so I knew where to find the stash of period products in the house. I was back to having fun within 5 minutes and it wasn’t a big deal.” ~Anonymous, Female, USA

The Announcement

 “I got my period when I was 11 right before a family barbecue. I was terrified and my mom talked me thru it and helped me only to BETRAY me when we got to the barbecue and announce to everyone that I go my period. I was MORTIFIED. A traumatized preteen that had just gotten cursed by Aunt Flo for the rest of her life and then that personal information was publicly shared for all to know. I still haven’t forgiven her for this.” ~Abby, Female, USA

The Little Bag

 “When I was in the 7th grade, I (like every girl I knew) carried a small bag in my backpack filled with pads and tampons. It was crimson and shiny, and completely stuffed with all sorts of hygiene products in case I or any of my friends needed something. One day at track practice, I was doing some of my warm ups when I noticed a commotion on the bleachers. A handful of guys my age were all gathered around looking at something, then they all screamed and ran off. Curious, as many others were, I walked over to the bleachers to see what the fuss was all about. They had somehow gotten into my little bag, freaked out (as immature, 7th grade boys do) tossed the bag in the air and spilled all my pads and tampons all over the bleachers. I was more frustrated than embarrassed, but my cheeks certainly flushed while I picked up my products. This was the first time I had truly experienced people being uncomfortable with feminine hygiene, and after that I tried my hardest to make sure that other girls I knew weren't embarrassed about carrying products or asking others if they have any. Now those guys are some of my closest friends, and I make fun of them for having been so uncomfortable with the topic of female health!” ~Rachel, Female, USA

 Double Trouble

“I am here to say, it is very possible to forget you already have a tampon in and insert a second on accident. I haven't done it since but one time this happened and I will never forget looking down and seeing two strings! I also stopped using tampons a couple years ago and I gotta say do what is most comfortable for you!” ~Megan, Female, USA

 Camp Mystery

“My first period came when I was at camp, a few days before my 12th birthday. I thought I was bleeding internally and would die.” ~Ana, Female, USA

A Text Message

“It was awful. In my family it was such a taboo to talk about anything like this. I was 12 or 13 and I remember I couldn’t even tell my mom (who btw barely talked to me about this) because I felt ashamed!! In the end, I texted her that I got my period and then she finally decided to have the talk with me.” ~Anonymous, Female, Lebanon 

 Debilitating Cramps

“Many times my period comes with debilitating cramps. It is hard to even get out of bed on those days, and I often feel like I will be sick or pass out. When that happens, I want to be honest about how I'm feeling, but often times have to "suck it up" because saying I have period cramps makes men uncomfortable. When I lived at home with my stepdad and younger brother, I didn't feel comfortable mentioning it, and often had to say I thought I ate something bad. If I ever did mention my period, it was either turned into a joke by the men of the household, or my behavior was scrutinized to see if I was "PMSimg" ~Shan, Female, USA

Gaining Control

“I thought I was dying when I first got my period. I vaguely knew that a period was something all women got, but I had no idea it involved blood, or that it would be coming from my vagina. I thought I screamed and yelled for my mom. When she got there, instead of helping me or explaining what was happening, she laughed at me for being so shocked. She briefly showed me how to put on a pad in my underwear. She barely explained what was happening, or how long a period usually lasted for, let alone explain other methods for dealing with a period, such as tampons or cups. For almost a year I thought I couldn't shower if I had my period, I didn't know what a tampon was, and was constantly underprepared for my period. I felt lost, but periods were something we didn't talk about at home. I felt deeply ashamed about the blood, and every time I stained my underwear or sheets I took it personally. Thankfully my sister moved back from college and I finally got some education, she bought me tampons, told me I could take medicine for cramps, and I finally gained control over my period. It was a long road that was completely unnecessary. Years and years later I've learned to love my period. Sure it can be annoying sometimes, but it's a constant reminder to me that my body is healthy, that I am a woman, and that my body is amazing. I hope you all love your periods too.” ~Julie, Female, USA 

Symbol of Health

“They are usually painful for people that menstruate and I feel bad that they have to go through that. They should NEVER be shamed for menstruating, and men should not assume she is "on her period" if she's moody. That's stereotyping. More clinically, they can be an indicator of health/pregnancy status. (i.e. oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea are not good things, and if she gets a period then it is certain that she is not pregnant)” ~Anonymous, Male, USA 

 Just A Box

“I came home from school in 8th grade and I used the bathroom and saw it. I went to my dad for help and he told me my mom kept a box of pads in the bathroom. I asked him how they worked and he said he didn’t know, figure it out.” ~Anonymous, Female, USA

 Goodbye Curious George

“I got my period at camp between 5th and 6th grade, the same year my older sister (by two years) got hers. I had to use my counselors pads, because I hadn’t brought anything. At camp, we spoke about my period in code. We called it curious George. I found the name egregious, but the public had decided. I stained every pair of my pants that week. When my mom picked me up, we bought pads, I put one on, and I bled through three pairs of shorts on the drive home. The solution was to wear nine inch long overnight pads all day long that felt like mattresses in between my legs. I had really bad discharge, even when not menstruating, so I wore these pads all the time and got blisters on my bulbs from them. And during my period, I’d still leak through. UbyKotex was my first savior, and birth control after that. I’m on birth control continuously now and haven’t had my period in 4 years. And considering that my period never did get regular or predictable, I’d like for it to stay gone.” ~Emma, Female, USA

Shame and Pain

“I feel ashamed because I am in a lot of pain but still want to do martial arts and stuff and the men in my life always demand an explanation. I can either lie— which prompts further questioning— or tell the truth, which makes me feel disgust for myself and I can tell they are too.” ~Anonymous, Female, USA