I remember so clearly when it happened to me. I was at an Aunt and Uncle's House, pretty sure it was sometime around Christmas. They were living in a split level house with a bathroom, next to the laundry room on that odd middle level between the upstairs and the downstairs.
And I was in middle school. Surrounded by family - mom, dad, cousins, the whole shebang.
Yup. I got my period.
According to the books I had been reading up until then, I was now a woman. Which really didn't mean much or sink in when I was 12 or so. Books with titles like "What's Happening to My Body?" and "Cycle Savvy: The Smart Teen's Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body" had been appearing on my bed for sometime now. I think it was great that my mom made them available to me, but in hindsight, I really don't think I totally got "it."
But there I was, in my aunt and uncle's bathroom, thinking to myself, "Now what?"
And so began years of maxi pads (ugh, I still shudder at the thought of maxi pads. Who came up with that name?) and tampons. This "Yay you're a woman" celebration, but living in a culture of "oh, we don't talk about things like "that" in public."
Yet, half the population of the WORLD gets their period. Half. The. Population. Of. The. World. And thanks to that half of the population, we're all able to be here today, talking about it.
(Have you already cringed while reading this because I used the word tampon or maxi pad?)
Dudes that are still reading this, stay with me now because I know you have a sister, wife, best friend who needs to know about being a Diva.
So I got my period and then spent many years and dollars at CVS in the feminine products aisle. (Always feeling a bit awkward about it, but not really sure why. Fellows that have ever been asked by their lady to pick up some tampons at the store, you know just what I am talking about.) I became partial to a particular brand (Playtex, plastic applicators, unscented) and stayed away from others (What was up with those OB tampons anyway?)
A menstrual riddle for you: If the average woman menstruates for forty years and uses approximately 20 tampons per cycle (240 tampons each year) how many will she use during her entire menstrual life cycle? Answer: 9,600. (source DivaCup.com)
Holy lots of tampons Batman! And in case you didn't know,
- Most tampons and pads contain surfactants, adhesives and additives. That’s a bunch of stuff you don’t want near or inside your body!
- Most pads contain polyethylene plastic whose production is a pollutant.
- Traces of dioxin (a known carcinogen) and the synthetic fiber rayon are also found in tampons. Dioxin is a by-product of the bleaching process in the manufacturing of tampons and the synthetic fiber rayon can leave residue in the vaginal wall, leading to possible risk of infection and overall discomfort.
- In landfills, many of these substances can leach into the environment (groundwater, streams and lakes) causing serious pollution and health concerns.
Awesome, so now we've got even more reasons to feel uncomfortable about getting our period. Our contribution to landfills and the damage to Mother Earth every single month.
If the environmental issue doesn't give you pause, think about this.
And that was my life, full of toxic, expensive tampons, until it was revolutionized in September of 2009.
I was in Chile and got a peek behind the curtain, so to speak, about a secret society of Divas. Divas, who weren't adding to the landfills around the world AND were keeping pennies in their pocket.
Secret only because I didn't know anything about the Diva Cup (I blame that on growing up a tomboy!)
The Diva Cup you say? Come again Johanna.
The Diva Cup, and I quote directly from their website, "is a reusable, bell-shaped menstrual cup that is worn internally and sits low in the vaginal canal, collecting rather than absorbing your menstrual flow. Menstrual cups have existed since the 1930s when women were searching for an alternative to the choices of the time."
As I mentioned, I was in Chile when I learned about being a Diva. And from a logistical, traveling perspective, the Diva Cup SAVED me. Not just because I had a tiny backpack for which every nook and cranny was accounted for, but I didn't have to deal with buying tampons in Asia. (I'm sure they exist but I swear I didn't see any.) Not to mention, the Diva Cup saved me from having to deal with getting rid of tampons in countries where the toilet was a hole in the ground. No joke.
If this is the first time you have ever heard about the Diva Cup, you've got a gazillion questions. How does it work? How do I take it out? Does it leak? Is it gross? How do you clean it? Does it get lost "up there?"
Plain and simple, I love love love being a Diva each month because 1. I'm saving money each month 2. I'm not contributing to the landfills around the planet (at least when Auntie Flo comes for a visit.) 3. I feel great about using a product that is sustainable, eco friendly and easily transportable. (It comes with this great purple pouch that easily fits into a pocket or purse "when it's that time of the month.")
And if that's not enough for you,
4. Um, you get this sweet Diva Pin. (That my man totally loves and wore pinned on his hat while we traveled.)
So ladies, if you are a slave to the tampons or maxi pad, your time has come to be a Diva.
And if you are already a Diva, I'd love to hear about it. Please leave a comment in the section below and tell me what you love most about being a Diva.
Keep smiling and being all diva-like,