MY CYCLE: Model and Writer Matilda Dods
For Byron Bay based model Matilda Dods, she gets her menstrual cycle. Treating every period as if it were a new moon, she's learnt how to ride the crimson wave and enjoy the ride. Here Matilda shares her period hacks, why we shouldn't be ashamed to ask for period sex, her relationship red flags, why it's perfectly acceptable to eat ice-cream for breakfast and how she's switching to a clean period routine. Read her cycle routine breakdown below.
Name: Matilda Dods
Occupation: In flux, but mostly I’m a model and a writer
Location: Byron Bay
I was 14, almost 15 and was the last of my group of girlfriends to get their periods so I was pretty stoked to finally get to join the super exclusive pads in my school bag club. My mum was away and bless my dad he didn’t really know how to help me when he found me on the bathroom floor with my first pair of bloody knickers, doubled over with cramps, so he called in the cavalry (My auntie) to help guide me through it.
I can usually feel my period coming a few days before she shows up. I will be a lot more sensitive and introspective, sometimes cranky and snappy, but I try to check in with myself to make sure that I am looking after all my other needs that can make me cranky before I blame it on PMS. This can mean checking in with my hunger levels, sleep and hydration.
I tend to get quite bloated leading up to my period which is not so fun, but my boobs also swell up a lot, which is more fun, even if they are incredibly sore for a few days. Taking magnesium during my period radically helps my cramps and also with pre and early period constipation. On day one and two I usually just completely let the pressure off. Ice cream for breakfast? You betcha? Moping around the house all day, absolutely.
I find that I am often quite inspired to write songs or poetry once I have started bleeding, I like to think that the act of bloodletting is also a wave of inspiration that allows me to get more in touch with how I’m feeling. While it’s also likely that I am just cranky and want to write poems about boys that were cruel to me when I was 19.
I have always had bad cramps and find that any products that need to be inserted can exacerbate them, so after almost a decade of being a tampon girl I have made the switch to period undies. I like that they feel dry and aren’t bulky like pads, and I often will even wear them to work when I am shooting if I know that the collection or client doesn’t need me to wear a nude thong.
I try to treat my period like a new beginning, a new moon or a new year, so I often will use the days that I am bleeding to think deeply about my goals and intentions for the coming month/s.
I think that after a decade of modelling I can sometimes become quite disconnected from my body and begin to see it as a product or object, and having my period is often the reminder that I need that my body is constantly working in the most mysterious invisible ways and that my body is far from being just my appearance, it’s the most magically complex machine that I have to care for, be kind to and respect for it to keep running.
I tend to get really horny around my period and refusing to have period sex is a big red flag for me with men. I have definitely had partners in the past that were completely clueless about menstrual cycles, however I now think that my radar is more attuned to finding and dating men that are comfortable with every day of a woman's cycle and not just the ‘fun’ bits. I have also observed that men that grew up with sisters are infinitely more comfortable with periods than men who have brothers.
I can’t remember a time being more embarrassed on set than when I was 16 and got my period during a shoot and bled on the product. Thankfully the stylist on the day was incredibly kind and understanding. However since then I make sure to not be caught off guard at work when aunt flow is imminent.
Working while I’m bleeding is often a lot more exhausting than usual. I am very tactile sensitive all of the time, but it is incredibly heightened while I’m bleeding, and just the act of being touched constantly throughout the day can feel absolutely soul draining.
Smoking weed and period sex are usually my go to hacks for cramps. Back rubs and swapping out coffee for tea also helps with my moodiness. Being able to free bleed while I swim can also be a really beautiful experience (I recommend doing this in the ocean and not your pool). Wearing comfy clothes and hanging up the stiff denim jeans for a few days is also a must for me.
I have recently bought an Ovira Tens machine that has completely changed the way that I treat my cramps. I have always been a disciple of a couple naprogesics and a hot water bottle, but since I have started using this little device I won’t reach for any pain killers unless the pain becomes unbearable, but they are no longer my first port of call for relief. It also makes me feel like a sexy period cyborg so what could be better?
My beauty routine is pretty consistent throughout my cycle, I might be more inclined to do a face mask when I’m bleeding more for the luxury than any kind of aesthetic aspirations. I will usually get a breakout or two, but I've learnt by now that consistency is key for my skin and shocking it with new products only exacerbates the breakouts.
If I do have to go somewhere while I have my period and want to put on a little make up; I often find myself more attracted to a dark red lip and even red clothing than the rest of the month. All of my Dermaviduals products, my microneedle wand and a facial every 6 weeks. Tom Ford lipstick and eyeshadow palettes are my ride or dies in my beauty bag.