Last week I was in line in an airport bathroom. My partner was in line ahead of me. There was a women doing her hair and applying makeup at the sink. The women behind me asked if I had a tampon. I didn't have any in my purse. My partner had packed a bunch in her suitcase, so she laid it down and unzipped it to give this woman a tampon. As my partner was finding a tampon, the woman at the sink turned around and asked ”you need a tampon? I have one, here take an extra for later.”
It was such a beautiful moment of camaraderie, of solidarity, of recognizing each others need and our collective willingness to take care of each other.
It also pissed me off. Because it got me thinking about how we are go about our external lives and never once acknowledge our realities of being a bleeding being to one another. I have often felt frustrated with the silence that is expected around our periods. When out in the world I often think how many of us are bleeding right now? Showing up in our lives and going about our day to day all the while blood is flowing from our bodies. Why do we have code names and nicknames we use to announce our periods arrival? Why are we ashamed of having bled through onto the sheets in a hotel? Why don’t they sell tampons in airport bathrooms?
I know the answer; patriarchal world culture. Making women ashamed of our bodies, and the innate power we hold in them, is a way to reduce us, make us small, and doubt our worth.
So the women’s voice coming from behind me when I was in line at the airport, asking if I had a tampon was so refreshing. It was breaking that coded silence, it was acknowledging our shared reality, our power, our willingness to care about one another.
I implore you to find the spaces in your lives where this female connection exists. Seek the company and voices of other female bodied people in your life. If you have trouble finding female space, create it. Bring us together. We can and we will have our voices heard.