FYI, there is NO class on Friday, August 3rd and Monday, August 6th for the long weekend.
Sorry, monks. Try tending to your soul, carrying and releasing your suffering and actively practicing compassion while your two kids demand three meals a day plus snacks, leave endless messes as they move from craft to craft, bring insects, mud and sand into the house, scream and cry, don’t eat anything you made for them and require your energy for 14-hour days. Sitting on top of a mountain all alone, living in a cave for decades? Having time to think? Meh.
I got a crown recently and I wore it everywhere. To school. In the airplane. All around two cities. I wore it when I felt shiny and gorgeous, like a diamond. Easy. I put it on when I felt stuck, like a failure, deep in struggle and totally not shiny and gorgeous. When I felt like I hadn’t earned it. Harder.
It also takes a lot to put on your own crown. Bah, Elizabeth. You had no choice. This was something that you inherited because of your family. But what does it take for a woman to crown herself?
So many people called me princess. I corrected them. I am not a princess. I am a Queen. One woman said, what are you Queen of? And I said, myself. Another woman said you know too much to be a princess. Right on, sister.
After decades on wearing disposable pads and tampons filled with chemicals, I recently switched to washable pads. And big gray flannel granny underwear specifically designed for my pads. For the first time in my life (besides being thank god, I got my period), I look forward to my period. To my bleed, as they say. I have beautiful things to wear against my skin. They all sit there, waiting for me, in a special place in my drawer. And that has shifted how I honour myself during that time. I try to really rest on that first day because I’m tired and slow and want to be left alone. I’ve been reading books on what women are learning and experiencing as they go through the phases of their cycle. It’s very cool shit.
It makes me think of how menstruation was treated when I was a teenager. (And likely is still now.) There was nothing honoured or sacred about it. No sense that, hey y’all, we are freaking powerful and beautiful and important and we are bleeding because, you know, no big deal but we have the ability to continue the human race. It was embarrassing and secret. Whispered about. Hoping you didn’t get it when you were wearing white pants. Getting it while you were wearing white pants. The mortification of leaking at school. The shame of buying tampons and then trying to figure out how to shove them up there.
What has been the effect on us of a culture that doesn’t want to know about, talk about or see something that happens once a month in our female bodies? How has growing up in a culture that doesn’t honour or treat sacred this very powerful ritual affected the way in which we view our sacredness and our right to be here?
I met a father who’s daughters recently had their first menstrual cycle and had been on a strawberry fast in order to celebrate and honour this important stage in their lives. This is what I hope for, for all of our girls.
If you have any ideas or experiences with approaching a young girl’s first menstruation cycle with sacredness and honour, I would so love to hear from you. Let’s start changing this now.