For Sydney-based writer and photographer Ella Jane, periods aren’t something she puts a lot of emphasis on.”I think that there’s a lot of association with periods and womanhood and I don’t really buy into that”. In conversation with Ella, who spends her days writing and capturing content for Tomboy Beauty and RUSSH Magazine, she recalls the moment she came into the world as a young woman, featuring hot chocolates, false alarm poos and a supportive sister by her side.
My period story begins. I was 12, I had just got home from school and I cried because my mum went somewhere without me. I went to the bathroom and I thought I had accidentally done a poo in my pants. So, I called my sister who was two years older than me and she looked at me and said “Oh, you got your period!”. Then my dad sat me down and made me a hot chocolate and said “wahoo” and that was it.
I was very lucky to have a very open family about periods and my first one as a petite 12-year-old girl was nothing shocking. I think that was kind of all I got and then it was like “when is the next one going to happen?”. I remember being excited. I was like “yay”, I’m older, I’m here emerging into the world as a young woman”.
It’s constantly changing and having different effects on my body and my life. I think that’s nice but I’m also someone who doesn’t place a lot of importance on periods. I think that there’s a lot of association with periods and womanhood and I don’t really buy into that. You can have your period and not identify as a woman or you can identify as a woman and not get your period or some women just can’t get a period. There are so many intersections and myriads of periods and who experience them. I kind of let mine do its thing and then I’m like “CYA next month!”
I never plan, which is not ideal. And I don’t track my period at all. I reference when my girlfriend’s has come because she gets hers a week before mine (laughs). I don’t know when it’s coming, I just know my boobs are bigger and then it’s there.
I think from a young age we are taught by society and from our peers that your period is not something to be seen, heard, smelt, talked about, which is obviously quite damaging. I think it’s just another way for the patriarchy to suppress something that women have that we really need to talk about and should talk about because so many people experience them. They are such an important part of life and for our bodies to reproduce. But because they are messy, inconvenient or scary, people have this fear of it being seen or someone knowing. I don’t think it’s fair for people to dictate how you should feel about your period. Or what your relationship should be or how you should talk about it. It is a stigma, but it shouldn’t have to be. Because we’re here, we’re bleeding - get over it!
Not a big deal Something that a lot of people have Cleaner than you would expect Sometimes painful Sometimes not painful Not actually red often Not like a waterfall Can tell you a lot about your body and what it’s doing---
Helena Vestergaard on approaching periods with her daughter and living more sustainably
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