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GUEST BLOG: John’s Road to Volunteering

In this guest blog, John talks a little bit about his story and a new exciting project!

 

If you asked me the one thing I adore in life and my answer would be giving my time to others.

It’s what I was born to do and after finding my vocation, my love for social action has continued to grow.

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Even though I’ve been in the charity sector now for nearly 4 years, it only feels like yesterday I signed up for my first volunteering role and how my life was about to change for good.

The moment I walked through the doors being greeted by an array of smiles, my first role told me a story. A story that we have the power to use our lives helping others live theirs and how our negative pasts can actually be the tool to make the difference.

Before I go on, Hi! I’m John, Founder of John’s Road to Volunteering and a global ambassador for volunteering. John’s Road to Volunteering tells a story; my story and how I’m using this to help others to start their journey.

This is why something BIG is coming! I’ve had the pleasure of working with individuals, groups and charities around the world, since creating John’s Road to Volunteering and my 2017 is all about giving back in the only way I know…IN A BIG WAY!

I’ve done the small projects, and I’ve written content daily, yet I always strive for more. I like challenging myself in a way, my dedication and passion is put to the test and with JRTV100 launching on January 1st, it’s bound to be my most influence challenge.

What? Why? When? How? Who?

What – JRTV100 is quite simple…John’s Road to Volunteering’s 100 charity challenge.

Why – Why not? In other words, I’ve given my time already in the past as a volunteer and as a blogger, why wouldn’t I do all I could for 100 charities.

When – JRTV100 has no set time-frame. I’m going to enjoy working with charities, groups, anyone in the charity sector really without the added pressure of time. My time will be spent helping others.

How – This’ll be agreed with the charity. Whether it’s helping at an event, becoming an ambassador for a programme, helping others get active, the opportunities are endless.

Who – Anyone that needs help.

It’s a simple concept, but it’ll be a project everyone involved in will remember.

I believe I’m on this planet to be the voice and this project is only another example of why you should believe in yourself and what you can do for others.

JRTV100 is coming and you can be part of it! Follow my journey over at http://www.johnsroadtovolunteering.com or find me on Twitter @JohnRdtoVol.

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Project Lunar: Education is due an upgrade

In this blog Ash talks about why education regarding bodies and periods needs to be updated…

The other day, I was complaining to my course-mate about how tired I felt. He asked me if I had been out clubbing the night before. Truth was, I had spent the previous day curled up on the sofa with a hot pack pressed to my stomach, and constantly checking the time to see when I could take more paracetamol in an effort to kill my cramps. But instead of saying, “No, I felt rubbish because I was on my period”, I simply told him that I had a quiet night in. I wasn’t exactly lying (depending on whether whimpers of pain still fall under the ‘quiet’ category) but I was fully aware that I had deliberately avoided telling him the real reason for my fatigue. Why had I done that? It’s a perfectly normal thing, and it’s not exactly a secret. Some of the basics of menstruation are taught in secondary school science lessons.

Trouble is, we’ve all been conditioned to treat periods as a taboo, yet there is absolutely no advantage to this. If anything, this just causes more problems. We can barely bring ourselves to say “period”, or “tampon”, or “sanitary pad”. We have these euphemisms, like “our little monthly visitor”, and “feminine products”. (The latter example only serves to exclude men and nonbinary people who menstruate, as well as imply that women who don’t menstruate aren’t real women. Invalidating much?) But as we learnt when reading Harry Potter, fear of a name only increases a fear of the thing itself. We don’t need to be afraid of periods, or of discussing them. They’re not even a magical evil overlord – just a natural bodily function. Far less scary than Voldemort. And much less likely to attempt to rule tyrannically over the world.

Open communication is key here. It’s the best way to be educated about anything, including menstruation.

Another thing that sucks about how society presents periods is how it’s taught. Don’t get me wrong, educating kids about periods is GREAT. It teaches them about what is going to happen in some of their bodies when they’re older, or for some, what is already happening. But what schools teach about menstruation only scratches the surface. For one thing, my school only taught us about how to use disposable sanitary pads and tampons. But there are other menstruation products out there, such as menstrual cups, that I was never taught about and had no idea how to use! I’ve bought one but even with the instruction booklet, I haven’t been able to use it successfully. Really could’ve done with education about this.

Schools also fail to address a lot of the misconceptions about periods. For example, that using tampons will pop your hymen and make you no longer a virgin. Virginity is a social construct that has no objective value anyway, but point is, the only way you can lose your virginity is by having sex. Tampons will not change your sexual status. I was told so many times by my mother that I shouldn’t use tampons until I’ve had sex for the first time, when really, that doesn’t actually matter and it should totally be your own choice. The most important thing with periods is to do what works for you. There is no one way to deal with periods, and while one person may find menstrual cups the most comfortable option, another might prefer using tampons.

One other thing that I think really needs to be taught in schools is endometriosis. We are told that period pains hurt like hell, and they really can! But endometriosis is a whole other level. The problem is that some people who menstruate might not even know they have it, and therefore don’t seek medical help and don’t get treatment which can ease the severe pain (from what I’ve heard, “severe” doesn’t even cover it). The NHS page on endometriosis describes it as “a common condition”, so why is it not taught at school? Endometriosis should not have to go untreated.

To sum up, the education that schools offer about periods is severely lacking in important information, and it desperately needs an upgrade. People should learn about their bodies and not be ashamed of talking about it, and one of the best ways to do that is to start with the education system. Teach kids when they’re still kids. The next generations deserve to grow up with healthy attitudes towards their bodies, and shouldn’t have to spend years being ashamed of them like we have.

 

About Ash:

Ash is nonbinary and can be found on Twitter as well as on WordPress – watch this space for new blogs coming soon!

 

If you would like to contribute your own piece or share your ideas, let us know in the comments or tweet them to me: @maldrichwincer.

 

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Project Lunar: Cultural Influences

In today’s post Shikha talks about cultural influences on the perception of periods…

I come from a culture where gender roles are excruciatingly strong. You have men, you have women, and the concept of other genders is completely foreign. Men are the primary breadwinners and women are expected to care for the family, look after the household responsibilities whilst still being professionals. However, not so professional that their husbands jobs or other family responsibilities would suffer. Gender oppression is a norm, and so widely accepted that the slightest mention is immediately shut down.

Confusingly enough, different areas of Hindu culture have different approaches to menstruation ranging from it being seen as an incredibly positive thing to being seen as disgusting and shameful. In southern India, the first menstruation is reason for celebration with close family and friends, extravagant food and gift giving – which I would have fully embraced growing up.

More traditional and orthodox families have a much less accepting view to periods. If you’re on your period, you are asked to stay away from any domestic activities, physical contact is limited and any creative activities are prohibited as you are seen as impure and everything you touch will become impure too. You are also not allowed to enter temple, sacred areas of the house, or partake in any religious activities. In especially strict families, you are required to remain in a separate room or even not allowed to enter the household whatsoever. Once the menstruation period is over you are required to thoroughly wash and clean any items that you have ‘contaminated’.

However, speaking to family members that do belong to more orthodox families provided a rather interesting insight. They all said that day to day life was incredibly stressful balancing work and family as professionals when all the household chores and family duties fell on to them. So when it comes to coping with the additional discomfort of menstruating they embrace the break they get from their other responsibilities, if only for a few days a month.

I was personally incredibly lucky with my family in that menstruation was a relatively open topic in my house. My mother made sure I was made aware that it was a totally natural process and that its condemnation, like many traditions, stemmed from a time that it was not fully understood. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to conversation and education about periods, but I am incredibly grateful for the noticeable progress amongst the generations as it means we’re taking steps in the right direction.

 

About Shikha Kataria:

I am a British Indian woman forever trying to find a balance between the two cultures. Challenging sexism and oppression is incredibly important and something I’ve struggled with from a very young age, however very difficult to do in a family that strongly cling to religious and cultural tradition.
If you would like to contribute your own piece or share your ideas, let us know in the comments or tweet them to me: @maldrichwincer.

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Project Lunar: A Cisgender Man’s Perspective

Gender representation was really important for Project Lunar, so in this post we have a cisgender man’s perspective of periods and education:

I first learnt what menstruation was in primary school. I do not really know whether it was the Italian education system, or the Catholic nature of the Italian culture, but I was never introduced to the idea that a) menstruation was not just about women and b) that it was ok to talk about menstruation in public. There did seem to be a rather negative stigma attached to concept and the word itself. As a consequence I grew up in an education system that considered the topic of menstruation as a taboo. This is to extent that during their periods, people in schools were expected to keep their tampons hidden, whether in a purse or a school-bag.

When I think back I can actually remember girls in the classroom going to lavatories hiding their tampons so nobody would notice. Strangely enough, once I moved to the UK, the system did not prove to be any more open-minded or less prejudiced. At GCSE level, Biology classes discussed menstruation from a purely scientific angle, failing to consider the social implications of the topic. Needless to say that could have been improved. Why wasn’t I taught that periods should be talked about it in public, or that ‘women and periods’ is a totally flawed phrase? Strangely enough I did always think that it was possible for men to have the same symptoms once a month. Turns out there is an actual syndrome- IMS. Irritable Male Syndrome is actually a scientific concept; men may experience a drop in testosterone on occasions, due to numerous reasons such as stress, anxiety and change of diet. The visible consequences are the same as those attributed with menstruation, anger, mood-swings, depression and lower self-esteem.

So I suppose my question really is: why is this not taught in schools? Should we not teach children that attaching stigmas to periods does nothing but create further gender inequality? I think the key social problem here is education, but that same education is also the solution.

 

If you would like to contribute your own piece or share your ideas, let us know in the comments or tweet them to me: @maldrichwincer.

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Project Lunar: “Menstruation is not, never has been, and never will be a quintessentially womanly experience. “

In this blog, Kasey, a non-binary person, speaks out about why we need more inclusive discussions about menstruation. (TW: rape & gender dysphoria)

I am a non-binary person, and I menstruate. And, as it turns out, I sometimes (read: often) find myself excluded from conversations about menstruation. Because I am living in a cissexist world, and from a cissexist perspective (i.e. one in which trans people don’t really exist), only women menstruate. And from a cissexist perspective, it’s funny sometimes to speculate about what it would be like “if men had periods”.

Newsflash: men do, sometimes, have periods. And that experience can be fraught enough for them, as menstruation is often a dysphoria trigger for trans men and other transmasculine people, without also making them the butt of jokes that erase their experiences entirely.

Menstruation is not, never has been, and never will be a quintessentially womanly experience. It’s not the exclusive domain of women, and it’s not even an experience all women have in their lives, whether because they are trans, or because they have a medical reason why they simply don’t menstruate. And it is important to remember that.

At the same time, I see many cis women’s frustration when this is pointed out to them. And I get it, because y’all have some very real beefs with the way periods are treated, the way we are all expected to keep them so super secret and make sure that cis men (delicate flowers that they are) are never reminded that this extremely normal bodily function exists. Your frustration is valid.

And yes, these issues are very much women’s issues. I’m not even remotely going to argue they aren’t – the secrecy and fear and misinformation that surrounds menstruation in popular culture are all part and parcel of misogyny, and of patriarchy – those of us who menstruate but aren’t women are, to some extent, collateral damage in this arena.

But that doesn’t make it ok to erase us from existence in this arena any more than it is ok to do so in any other context. Trans people’s existence is so often and so easily forgotten in conversations among cisgender feminists, and it really isn’t ever ok.

I’m not asking you not to be angry (I am angry right along with you, trust me!), nor am I saying you can’t talk about menstruation, or even frame it as a women’s issue. But I am asking you to be more thoughtful in the way you talk about these issues. If you can talk about other women’s issues that don’t exclusively impact women, in a way that centres women without erasing the other people affected (rape culture comes to mind – you don’t often, or ever, see people forgetting that people of any gender can and do experience rape) you can do the same with menstruation.

 

About Kasey:

Kasey is a non-binary librarian on the asexual spectrum. They write about their experiences around these and other aspects of their identity, as well as other social justice issues, at Valprehension. You can also follow them on Twitter and Tumblr

 

If you would like to contribute your own piece or share your ideas, let us know in the comments or tweet them to me: @maldrichwincer.

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Project Lunar: Another Bodily Function

In this blog, Brenda talks about periods and the frustration it causes when people are grossed out by such a natural bodily function…

For whatever reason, periods provoke squeamishness and disgust in its purest and most extreme form. Why? I do not know. Periods are just that, periods. It’s natural, it’s a part of human nature, and it’s just the way bodies function. It’s pretty much the same concept as the way our fingers move typing on a keyboard or the way our eyebrows scrunch together in disdain or confusion. It’s just natural, end of story.

For this reason, I never understood why periods were and are such a taboo topic. Is it the fact that blood is literally pouring out of our vaginas? Is it the fact that it’s just that, blood? Is it the fact that the first drop of blood in between our legs is the surefire sign that puberty is coming our way? What is the reason for the appalled reactions at the sound of “period?”

I mean, you’d think that the fact that more than half of the world’s population goes through periods that it wouldn’t be considered taboo but apparently it is. Maybe time hasn’t progressed enough to forget the ridiculous and totally false concept that  people who had periods were summoned by the devil. I definitely do not think that those who have periods are demonic because, well, it’s just not true. But it also might be that periods are considered unclean and simply dirty, which is also not true. Yes, there may be a bloody mess in the bathroom one day or another but it’s natural!

Despite all the shame or embarrassment that MAY come with a period, it all comes down to the fact that periods are natural and there really is nothing to be ashamed about, especially if more than ONE-HALF of the people on earth go through it.

 

About Brenda Liang

“I’m Brenda Liang, a 16 year old blogger over at www.Butimbrenda.com. Just as a little ice breaker, here’s a few facts about me.

  1. I take short (3 minute) showers.
  2. I relish in nothing more than taking my bra off after a long day.
  3. I find so much joy and glory in putting on my makeup.”

You can follow Brenda on Twitter here. 

 

If you would like to contribute your own piece or share your ideas, let us know in the comments or tweet them to me: @maldrichwincer.

 

A big thank you to Georgia Grace Gibson for the feature image for this post: “I Don’t Only Have Glitter in My Veins”, 2013 
http://www.georgiagracegibson.com

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Project Lunar: “We are out here; men and nonbinary folk who have periods”

 

In this blog, Nixon talks about men and nonbinary people who get periods and encourages us to challenge our assumptions… (TW: gender dysphoria & self-harm)

As a man, society looks at me and expects me to approach the topic of menstruation with the same air of mystery and squeamishness that most men have about the subject, and expect me to never comprehend the torture of cramps and passing clots. And why not? Menstruation is such a taboo topic in most western cultures that I know many girls from conservative families that had their cycles sprung upon them with no preparation from their parents at all, so it would make sense that as a man, I’d have less than spectacular insight as to woes of those who bleed.

I am, however, a trans man. To paraphrase liberally from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, “If you put a uterus in me, do I not bleed?” (Oh yes, yes I do)

For the unaware, trans men are those of us who were incorrectly assigned female at birth. We came out, the doctor/midwife saw a vulva and proudly proclaimed to our parents, “It’s a girl!” Genitals, however, do not a gender make. So out I came, the doctor announced my girlhood to the room, and on we went from there. Including all the wonderful trauma that happens to a 9 year old boy who gets his first period. It’s shocking, I imagine, for everyone who gets their first menses, but my first period sent me reeling. Until then I’d been able to live inside a bubble where I was just like my brothers—strong, athletic, brash…the first sight of blood between my legs was (and continues to be) the ultimate act of my body betraying itself. The dysphoria that would come with every cycle would send me reeling, thinking thoughts of self-harm and wishing—PRAYING—that I’d get uterine cancer and have to have it out.

I’m not sure how other people feel about their periods, but during that time I can’t really cope with much. In the past, suicide has seemed like a legit option. It’s hard to feel manly when you’re doing what the world thinks of, aside from giving birth, as the womanliest thing on earth there is to do. And that disconnect is painful in a real way. It’s encoded in our language—we call pads and tampons “feminine hygiene products,” we call it “lady days,” and “my womanly time” to avoid calling it what it is. You can’t go into the men’s restroom at a bar and get a tampon, and if you could, you can’t dispose of it in the stall, since men’s stalls typically lack the little garbage can women’s stalls enjoy.

As a man who has periods if I can’t take my testosterone on schedule (which is sometimes the case if money is tight. The kids need to eat more than I need that medicine), I have to face down the task of buying, and using, menstrual products in a world that defaults to “only women have periods.” It’s a painful reality to live in, and it’s simply wrong. We are out here, men and nonbinary folk who have periods. To assume that the man in front of you can’t possibly relate is simply not always true. We exist. We feel your (cramping) pain—literally and metaphorically.

So throw an extra tampon or two in your bag the next time you go out…there may be a bloke at the bar who is smack dab in the middle of his shark week and needs you to throw him a lifeline.

 

About Nixon VanJustice

Nixon VanJustice is a pretty much the luckiest partner and father in the world. He’s been in love with his partner since they were 11 years old, and together they have two epic tiny humans and an Italian Mastiff. I guess you could say he’s pretty average for the typical American guy, insofar as guys whose parents thought they were little girls growing up.

Follow him on twitter: @NixRedux!

 

If you would like to contribute your own piece or share your ideas, let us know in the comments or tweet them to me: @maldrichwincer.

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Project Lunar: Health and Fitness whilst on your period..

This post was written by Ellie Abel. I asked Ellie to write about her experience and expertise around health and fitness* whilst on your period..

The dreaded time of the month, when your period hits. You get stomach cramps, bloating and you crave everything in sight, staying healthy can be a major test of your willpower. Not all is lost, if you can make a few adjustments to your eating habits, you don’t have to suffer that one week of a month.

When on your period, there are a few simple things you can do to help you through this time of the month, for example eating smaller portions more frequently. This will help to reduce your cravings and keep you at a happy medium of satisfaction. Also helping with any sickness you may get from cramps.

You should also be eating lean protein and fibre to help you blood sugar remain stable, which ultimately will help with your cravings. Again eating and drinking frequently will also help with your bloating as this relates to what you eat. If you drink sugary, carbonated drinks you will bloat more. You want to be looking for low salt foods plus whole foods such as nuts, fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid processed and packaged goods.

It is also very important to keep your iron levels up. During our periods many of us lack the appropriate iron levels because we lose a lot of it when menstruating. You may find you crave more meat, like hamburgers but there are healthier choices. For example, you can have lentils, spinach, white rice, kidney beans or tomatoes to name a few.

Another little hint, is to drink some caffeine first thing in the morning! Coffee is a great choice as it does have some health benefits but you can also get your caffeine kick from fruit teas, especially green tea. Not only that but green tea is great for bloating and speeding up your metabolism which will aid weight loss.

 Now to talk about exercise! A lot of us will avoid the gym during our periods but really it’s a great idea as studies have shown that people feel better when moving whilst on their periods. Being active can actually help the overall feeling of your periods, less cramping and a less heavy flow. Not only does sweating help to eliminate excess water, which helps resolve bloating, but endorphins also help to take your mind of any pain. The best form of exercise to do is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). If you’re feeling groggy and tired exercise is always a great way for overcoming this and actually can give you more energy, try working out first thing in the morning, setting you up for the day.

 Many people will also pop a few paracetamol to help relieve the pain of cramps during their period but exercising is a great natural way to combat this. If you prefer to do something a little less intense, then Yoga is for you. Relaxing your body can help with your flow and there are certain positions to help with back pain and relive cramps.

About Ellie Abel

Founder of Sculpting the Elite You. Sculpting the Elite You is a health and fitness page that I have put together to help promote and inspire a healthy lifestyle as well as to promote my product. I have recently had a re-brand from Sculpting the New You to Sculpting the Elite you to tie in my business team more, so apologies for the different names in my links.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sculptingtheeliteyou/
Twitter: @SculptingtheEliteYou
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sculptingthenewyou/
Website: https://sculptingthenewyou.com

If you would like to contribute your own piece or share your ideas, let us know in the comments or tweet them to me: @maldrichwincer.

 

*DISCLAIMER: this post does not include medical advice. As with any form of exercise or changes to your diet, please consult a doctor or health care professional.

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Project Lunar: PMS; It’s Not Just Big Pants and Cadburys  

In this blog, Caitlin talks about PMS and sex education…

It is a Sunday evening and I’m sat on my sofa waiting for my weekly food shop to be delivered. The day so far has been very relaxed, a good day. However I keep getting waves of anxiety and sadness, sometimes bubbling over into anger.

This week is the week I commonly refer to as ‘crazy week’. It’s the week leading up to my period and over the years I’ve come to accept that I’m going to feel a little out of sorts during this time.

‘Out of sorts’ is perhaps an understatement for how I actually feel, have felt during this time. I have memories of crying on my bathroom floor because I feel ‘too fat’ to go out and see friends, standing at train platforms wandering towards and over the yellow line, sitting at work feeling completely incapable of making that client phone call.

PMS, premenstrual syndrome, the name for the physical and emotional symptoms that occur a week or two before a period, that’s what I’m talking about here. 

I really resent referring to it as PMS because of the connotations that society has put on it; big pants, chocolate, an unpredictable temperament, a loss of control. The words that are whispered with a knowing wink when a person is acting ‘irritable’, “Psst, I think it’s their ‘time of the month’”. Everything about that makes me wriggle in my seat and clench my fist.

This is another example of how society puts people in boxes when there is an element of them that is ‘other’. To make themselves feel comfortable about it, they create a caricature of what a person on their period is like, poke fun at it and move on with their lives.

This is not enough. It can’t be. Statistically there are around 33 million people that have periods in the UK alone. 

These people are parents, carers, civil servants, athletes, politicians, service people and they are dealing with psychological and behavioural symptoms on a monthly basis and we make no room for that.

A company in Bristol, Coexist, attempted to tackle this by introducing a ‘Period Policy’ which allows staff to go home when struggling with period symptoms, particularly physical pain.

Director Bea Baxter spoke about how we don’t fully understand the impact of periods and claimed that “When [women] are having their periods they are in a winter state, when they need to regroup, keep warm and nourish their bodies. The spring section of the cycle, immediately after a period, is a time when [women] are actually three times as productive as usual.”

Personally this rings true for me. However whilst it is refreshing to see a boss, albeit someone who experiences periods themselves, to attempt to make a positive change, I think this actually causes more discrimination and ultimately embarrassment.

We need to go right back to basics and change the way we talk about periods

Sexual education should be more than just about how to put in a tampon. Remember doing sexual education at primary school and being separated by perceived gender, taken to separate rooms and being told what puberty would be like for you?

I remember sitting on an itchy blue carpet staring up at my teacher as she told me about the different forms of sanitary protection and tentatively described how and where the hair would start to grow on my body. I don’t know whether this is actually the case, or if this is a fabricated memory, but I remember my teacher whispering these precious nuggets of information to me, as though it was a secret. I felt embarrassed and ashamed.

Why were we separated by gender for these conversations? It would have been so much more helpful to understand what everybody would experience, remove the taboo, banish the embarrassment and lay it all out there.

I wish at that point, we had all sat in a big room together and were just told the complete truth. An open, inclusive conversation that covered both the physical and psychological impacts of puberty and being a human.

And what I wish most is that we were taught to respect one another and ourselves enough to feel that we never had to hide these symptoms.

I, for one, talk openly about my experience of PMS and I never hide my tampon up my sleeve when nipping to the loo in the office and that is what I will carry on doing to try and tackle this taboo in my own small way.

Follow Caitlin on Twitter: @Caitlin_AW

 

If you would like to contribute your own piece or share your ideas, let us know in the comments or tweet them to me: @maldrichwincer.

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Project Lunar: On the Job

This post was written by Eleanor Owens. I asked her to write a bit about how having a period impacts her at work…

Physical labour is required of me day in day out – I can’t really afford to take 3-5 days off each month because I have my period. When you’re on your period, it can make it harder to go to work as you’re more fatigued and generally uncomfortable. Work I have to do includes prolonged standing, using my stomach muscles and bending/stooping down. These kinds of activities can have negative impacts on your body whilst you’re menstruating; 4-6 hours of excessive exercise per day requires a lot of energy. This means that I have to consume healthy and nourishing foods that will fuel my body correctly; without this, it could cause long term problems. No one wants to endure such problems if they can be avoided.

Manual labour is stereotyped as a “man’s job”. As I identify as a woman, therefore not conforming to this stereotype, some wrongly assume I am ‘weaker’ and less capable of doing the work. I have to fight this ideology every day and constantly prove I am more than capable to my clients; this becomes considerably harder when I am inhibited by my period once a month. I don’t want to be given ‘allowances’ by kind clients when I am struggling as it makes me feel patronised; especially when I am already fighting to compete in my male dominated industry.

As a start-up business I don’t have all the power tools used in horticulture that would potentially make life easier on the job. This increases my manual work load and clients often tell me they’d rather ‘get a man in’ than trust my skill level. This is increasingly frustrating. How am I meant to prove them wrong whilst battling my period that can make me feel weak and defeated?

On the plus side, there are many benefits of exercising whilst you’re menstruating as it relieves cramping, pain and bloating by regulating blood circulation throughout your body. I often feel happier and I find it easier to sleep after working through my period. Working outside allows me to walk and stretch, removing most cramping pain; unlike people who remain sat down in an office throughout their period whom don’t have the opportunity to stretch and walk about as much. Working in the fresh air also extinguishes head aches and any feelings of sickness.

I am very lucky to work in the sector I do, but I am still learning how to make it more comfortable whilst I am on my period. I am exploring alternatives to tampons such as using a moon cup; as it is so much better for your body and the environment. I am also keen to voice the issues I’ve touched on today for other people who have periods in my industry.

 

 

About Eleanor Owens

Eleanor started her business in 2015, delivering garden maintenance and design services in West Sussex. She is passionate about challenging the sexist practices within the Horticulture industry and is also keen to inspire young people to get involved in gardening.

Check out her website and follow her on twitter @eogardening.

 

 

If you would like to contribute your own piece or share your ideas, let us know in the comments or tweet them to me: @maldrichwincer.