Pshh, TMI? No such thing.
I did a project about 'zines (small, self-published magazines) while I was in school, and I recently decided I wanted to create one of my own on a subject I care about—and one that’s sometimes considered taboo.
A lot of people don't like talking about periods and will just avoid it altogether. What can I say; I like pushing the boundaries.
My only real aim was to collect and share people’s menstruation-related stories. It started with me, a few friends and some people I didn’t know submitting stuff. But then I created an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to cover the printing costs. In 16 days, I've raised close to $1,000 and my story's been featured on various websites.
At the moment, my 'zine consists of illustrated pieces—some of them are comics—and one of my friends submitted a how-to guide with instructions for using a menstrual cup. I’m also including articles about polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis.
There's even a period playlist.
Talking about periods can help shift the narrative on them so they no longer become shameful—or something to hide. Here are seven other reasons I adore speaking up about Aunt Flo:
1. I Enjoy Talking About Something That Makes Some People Uncomfortable.
I’m a social anarchist at heart. I’ve always loved doing things a little bit left of center, so the number one reason I talk about periods is because some people think it’s taboo.
2. I Want Everyone to Be Able to Talk Freely About That Time of the Month.
While a lot of people aren't comfortable talking about periods and tend to avoid it at all costs, I’m lucky that most, if not all, of the people in my life are down with it. I think the most amazing thing this can accomplish is just to get people talking about periods openly. They happen—get over it.
3. There's Actually a Ton of Humor to Be Had When It Comes to Menstruation.
I thought my 'zine might be a bit oddly received at work, so I didn’t bring it up. But then one of the guys in my office asked me how it was going, and I was happily surprised. My coworkers liked it and even recommended a printer. They also suggested I add a little tampon string to the zine as a bookmark—so 10 out of 10 on period humor for them.
4. Talking About My Monthly Flow Helped Me Figure Out I Have PCOS.
I thought bleeding as much as I did was normal. It wasn't. If I didn’t talk about my periods, I’d never have gone to the doctors—and I never would have gotten diagnosed so I could get treated for polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that can affect a woman's menstrual cycle and fertility. It can also cause weight gain and excessive hair growth on the face and body.
If I didn’t share my experiences with my periods, I would never have know how common menstrual problems are—and for that matter, how common PCOS is.
5. It's Helped Me Bond with Other People...
...including the postman, who delivered a hundred "Bleeding Vag" badges to my doorstep the other day. (I'm giving them away to people who contributed money to my 'zine.)
6. It Allows Me to Vent My Frustrations.
And who doesn't have their fair share of Aunt Flo-related frustrations?
7. I’m Bloody Good at Period Puns.
This is undoubtedly the most important reason.
This article was originally published at Women's Health. Reprinted with permission from the author.