Signed in Blood

I pulled an overflowing menstrual cup out and spilled a gush of blood at my feet. It’s heavier than usual, and I’m quick to blame the supermoon, the closest the moon has been in my lifetime.

I had my dip pen ready, and a scrap of paper to practice writing on. I received a request to sign a Lilith: Queen of the Demons paperback in menstrual blood. It’s a brilliant idea. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before.

Lilith: Queen of the Demons paperback signed in menstrual blood by May Ling Su

My blood was surprisingly watery. I worried that it wouldn’t be dark enough to sufficiently make a mark. It looked thick and clotty at the bottom of the cup so I poured a bit of it out, but it yielded the same consistency on the page.

I decided to trust it. My blood has never let me down. It showed up whenever I painted on paper or on my skin. I held the page open with a paperweight till it dried a darker red. Now I have a Lilith: Queen of the Demons book signed in supermoon blood going out in the mail tomorrow.

Dip pen in #supermoon #blood and sign #Lilith #book. Hope I didn’t just make a horcrux. #onmyperiod

A photo posted by May Ling Su (@maylingsu) on

I joke about having possibly made a horcrux out of a Lilith: Queen of the Demons book signed with supermoon blood, but to be honest, I feel a deep loss from having to let go off such an intimate part of me. This book is now more magical than ever. Cherish it well, you who will receive it. Part of the moon and me will be in it always.

May Ling Su raises her menstrual cup to life. Cheers!

Cheers!

On My Period on Facebook

A 20-year-old law student from India wrote an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg asking him to add an “On My Period” button to Facebook’s status updates. Arushi Dua believes that an “On My Period” button on Facebook would promote openness in discussion of menstruation and hopefully change people’s attitude of shame toward it.

On My Period button on Facebook

While I’d love to see an “On My Period” button on Facebook, what I found most interesting about the article was her frustration with the age-old irony that society encourages (and in her culture, expects) women to have children, yet shames them for menstruating. Don’t they see that menstruation and childbearing are part of the same cycle?

Immediately after I gave birth, I spent a whole month bleeding, then nothing for almost a year. I learned that breastfeeding my child caused a delay in the return of my period. My body wisdom focused my energy toward my baby, before I was ready for a new ovulation cycle.

During that time I didn’t get my periods, I realized that in cultures in which women bear children one after another, menstruation would be a rare occurrence. If a woman is healthy, she could be with child as soon as a new ovulation cycle begins again, or at least within the next couple of cycles.

In a culture that values fertility, menstruation would be considered shameful because it signifies that a woman is either incapable of being pregnant or rebelling against her role in society. Whether she is barren by choice or by fate, a woman’s blood is seen as a failure to be a productive member of her community.

As the world shifts in paradigm from populating the earth to that of population “control,” women are spending less time being pregnant and more time menstruating. As uncomfortable as it feels for those still in the previous mindset, menstruation occurs more often in a woman’s life than it did before. It only makes sense that it becomes more a part of our society’s consciousness and conversations.

Hashtag #OnMyPeriod is already well-used on Twitter and Instagram. Do you think there should be an “On My Period” button on Facebook status updates? How would your social media conversations change?

Who says menstruating women have bad taste?

Raise your menstrual cups and toast to 2015 being the year of the period. Cheers! 2016 is off to a great start as women continue to fight menstruation myths through diligence and a sense of humor.

College Humor pokes fun at menstruation myths. I mean, who doesn’t know menstruation is the only thing stopping our personal demons from bringing on the apocalypse? So be good to your resident females and keep that toilet lid down. You don’t want snakes and alligators crawling out of the toilet and into your home.

Women sushi chefs have good taste! Nadeshiko Sushi in Tokyo is run by women and employs female sushi chefs, much to the chagrin of competitors who insist that women “have an imbalance in their taste” due to the menstrual cycle. Despite the criticism, Nadeshiko Sushi has been going strong since 2010. Here’s wishing them more success in 2016.

May Ling Su can taste a strawberry even while on her period.

I reposted Menstruation Links I’ve been collecting all these years. Thank you, Jessica, for alerting me to broken links. Jessica volunteers for QuitDay.com, an organization that helps women become and stay tobacco-free, and HealthyWomen.org, a women’s health website.

The Dark Side

“For each of us as women, there is a dark place within where, hidden and growing, our true spirit rises… These places of possibility within ourselves are dark because they are ancient and hidden; they have survived and grown strong through that darkness. Within these deep places, each one of us holds an incredible reserve of creativity and power, of unexamined and unrecorded emotion and feeling. The woman’s place of power within each of us is neither white nor surface; it is dark, it is ancient, and it is deep.”

– Audre Lorde

These are powerful words to end and begin another year, another month, another cycle.

In this blog I will focus on self-care, that deep dark place where I rest and rejuvenate myself. I’ve come to see my period as that time and place. I began my journey at odds with my body, full of PMS rage. Month after month I found creative ways to explore and meditate on my menstrual blood. As I approach my last decade or so of menstruation, I am so much more at ease with my body and my period. I’m sure many more changes are afoot, but I have grown in experience and patience with my body. I have “an incredible reserve of creativity and power.”

So here is my list of how I can better care for myself on my period in 2016. Feel free to do it, too.

  1. Sleep. I fight this all the time. There is so much more to do, I tell myself. But sleep is that deep dark place that holds our dreams, our creative energy, our power.
  2. Eat more mindfully. I reposted Nutrition and Care for the Menstruating Woman as a guide. I still think the whole of it is unattainable. I admit, I do love my chocolate and sugar fix. But I’ll put in greater effort this year.
  3. Take control of the screen. Staring into a monitor can’t be good for a woman who needs her dark time. Flowers bloom in the dark. So do we. Be more efficient with the use of the computer and devices. Be clear with tasks. Set a timer when surfing.
  4. Exercise. For me it’s house and yard work, going on photo walks/hikes, Wii Fit, yoga. You do you.
  5. Listen to and play more music. Every time I do, I wonder why I don’t do it more often. Also, listen with headphones, eyes closed. Motherhood has made me put away the headphones in favor of being available to every call of “Mama,” but now that we’re all grown, I need to put the headphones back on and treat myself to music I love.

Happy New Year to all!

A toast to the dark side, menstruation, and being a woman. Cheers!

Super Blood Moon

Super Blood Moon 27 September 2015

What a spectacle Mother Nature treated us to on Sunday night. We built a fire in the backyard, got sleeping bags out on the lawn and watched the super moon get totally eclipsed and turn red. I felt a personal connection to her, as close as could be and bleeding beautifully for us. So like a woman.

Now if only the rest of the world would celebrate menstruation the way they celebrate the Super Blood Moon. Here are a handful of links to what the world thinks of menstruation:

The U.N. is still afraid of the “M” word. It’s 2015, and the U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals still only alludes to addressing the needs of menstruating girls and women. We’ve only been menstruating for the entire history of human existence. How about a source of clean water and a private place to wash ourselves and our linens in?

Swedish teens’ menstruation-theme photo goes viral after principal bans it from high school yearbook. When will grown-ups learn? Banning something is the best way to have a global news article explode in your face. Also, the kids used fake blood, no different from a Halloween costume. Nervous much?

Women around the world are challenging menstruation stigma. This article is an excellent wrap up of current events that bring the topic of menstruation front and center in the public consciousness.

Menstruation 101 for Men. Or a refresher course, depending on your knowledge and level of experience.

“Period Barbie” misses the target. Let’s start with the target user: girls approaching menstruation, approximately 10 to 15 years old. I don’t want to generalize, and if you or someone you know is an exception, more power to you, but I don’t personally know any girl this age who still plays with dolls. And I know because my daughter falls in this age bracket. (My husband, on the other hand, loves dolls. Go figure.) So if you want to look like an idiot in front of your tween, like the parents in their ad, then you’re the target market for the Lammily Period Party doll. Or you can just be real, communicate openly and honestly, so that your daughters can trust you to be a supportive resource for information about all the physical and social changes that are about to take place.