“Are you sure you are going to talk about your menstruation? I would never do it.” Someone so boldly said to me when she found out I was openly talking about my menstrual issues.
Before I go on, I want to make it clear that 90% of the comments I’ve received have been really encouraging and positive. I have indeed felt supported. I see others around me being open and it’s inspirational. But I know that some people won’t and can’t keep their negativity to themselves. So far in my experience with all this, many were not able to say something supportive during a time I needed it most. I have received a lot of comments, both good and bad. But unfortunately, the negative remarks are the ones that stick with me. They make me forget about all the positivity, and I can’t help but resent them for it. I wish that wasn’t the case.
“You don’t have to ask for attention so much, just deal with it.” a family member thoughtlessly said to me. Probably not realizing how that made me feel, how this phrase replays itself in my head, over and over. I wish it didn’t and that I could just handle it all easily, shaking it all off. The thing is, some people don’t realize how their words can affect another’s psyche. They’re verbal judgments result in creating insecurity in others. Why would someone do that? Why would someone consciously or unconsciously choose to drag other people down? Does it come from their own insecurity? If so, congrats! It sure as hell makes me feel insecure too.
When I told someone (who had not been very supportive) how I felt about the negativity, I was told that if I wanted to open up about something personal, I had to accept the fact that I would receive negative comments. And actually, I do get that. If there weren’t people with negative comments, I wouldn’t be afraid. Openly talking about my menstruation wouldn’t be a problem and I would’ve already talked about it openly years ago. But knowing that I will receive negativity, does not mean that I have to accept it. Yes, I choose to be open about my personal story and: No, I won’t accept being ridiculed and punished for it! It’s easier said than done, and it is hard for me sometimes. I have had moments when I seriously feel down because this lack of support is coming from people I love. But I know I can turn this negative experience into something positive, and know it is a lesson I have to learn. It makes me stronger and more confident and it motivates me and gives me the drive to continue. I also notice that I don’t actually ‘need’ these people’s permission or blessing. I just care too much.
On the bright side, a couple of weeks ago I had an awesome experience when I walked alongside hundreds of strong women and men at The Women’s March, in Amsterdam. It invigorated me to be surrounded by so many amazing people and feel the limitless, mutual support. The Women’s March left me feeling empowered and united with my fellow women.
The other day I heard someone say feminism is overrated and women are equal to men if they just work hard enough. I think this person doesn’t understand that other women’s situations are not the same as her own. Next time I chat with this woman, I will invite her to come to a feminist event with me. It opened my eyes to an entirely new world, and I’m sure it would do the same for her. I saw myself in the eyes of others. It amazed me the amount of women, like me, fighting for their voices to be heard and accepted!
Stop bringing fellow humans down and start empowering and raising them up. Think before you speak, think of others and not just yourself. Support each other, lift each other! To the people that have been negative towards me and make me feel insecure, I have a message: Your words stick with me, and they are not very charming. Try to empower someone next time. It is so much more fun! And if you don’t, or you won’t try, then shove your bitter opinion up your ass! Your opinions will not stop me from doing what I’m doing, and I won’t let it bring me down. I am proud to be open about my menstrual struggles, and feel free to say: I’m Bleeding.
by Louka, April 2020
Want to read more from Louka?
Read more about the Mondays change-maker Louka Bot and her (n)ever ending periods, start here with her first guest post of Mondays with Louka).