Reducing my carbon footprint: The period undies!

A few weeks ago I posted an article about the tampon tax, where I blasted our government for daring to continue to tax women for an uncontrollable bodily function. I was pretty scathing in the article, and ended up discussing different options to using pads or tampons, not out of any sense of suggestion but to highlight the lengths women would have to go through to not be taxed by the government. And although I was pretty critical, it actually did get me thinking about my carbon footprint, and what more I could be doing to reduce my own personal environmental footprint. So I thought, “Screw it, I’m going to get me some period undies!”

How to begin? Search the internet of course. I was quite dismayed at first then when I typed in “menstrual underwear” into my search engine, that the third top search result was a website for mens underwear.

tefiti

 

But not to be disheartened I continued my search. There were actually quite a few websites dedicated to this increasingly popular trend. Unfortunately all of them had one thing in common: the price. Most pairs of undies looked to set me back at least on average $30 each. Sigh. But as it was pay week I decided to go through with a purchase, telling myself that in the long run it would be worth it. Hopefully.

I settled on ModiBody, an Australian company where the price tag wasn’t too outrageous. The website described at least 6 various types of styles to choose from with varying levels of protection within each category. However, I immediately discovered how popular these undergarments must be, as when I went to purchase on my chosen pairs they were sold out. So I had to go with a slightly different style to what I was after, black and medium absorbency. $99 later (for 3 pairs. I know, ouch) I waited 3 weeks for them to arrive by mail, hoping against hope that they would fit me ok (internet measurements can be tricky at the best of times, and I’m also in denial about my waist size at the moment). Annoyingly, two things that I ordered from America on the same day still managed to get delivered to me at least a week ahead of my Sydney dispatched order.

tefiti

Finally receiving the package, I unwrapped them in great anticipation, inspecting them for quality and durability (and size). They fit well enough, and were just as comfortable as any other pair I own (and in some cases, more so). The lining was thick and reminded me of the cloth nappies I’d been using for Stormy those first two years of his life. But would they work?

New undies in hand, I merely had to wait for “P week” to arrive. Luckily my first day happened to be a weekend, so I didn’t have to deal with the stress of going to work and freaking out about having any unfortunate accidents. I did however still worry about the actual act of just bleeding into my underwear. Was I going to feel “wet” all day? Will it just stop working after a while and just run out the sides? What about the smell? Won’t I smell? But as the day progressed I started to feel better about it. Firstly, no there were no leaks. The underwear was quite absorbent and there was never any danger of it running out the sides. There was a slight wet feeling, but no more so than if I were just wearing a pad (I should probably note at the point that I have never in my life used a tampon. I just don’t like the idea of them and have been quite afraid of toxic shock syndrome, so I’ve just never bothered. Each to their own I suppose). Secondly, why would I smell any different? Even if I were wearing a pad, the blood is still just sitting in there. Ok so the difference is that you have the opportunity to change pads throughout the day, where I was aiming to just wear the same pair of undies the whole day through. But the absorbency of the lining (according to their website) is actually designed to eliminate odours, and did so quite well.

As the week went on I become more comfortable and confident. They were also convenient to wear on the last few straggling days, where I wasn’t getting a full period but just annoying discharge. The type of discharge that I would still need to waste wearing a pad for in order to not soil my undies.

It’s been two months now and both times I’ve felt that the underwear have done their job. I may not have got my money’s worth just yet (one pack of off brand pads cost me less than $20 and can usually last me for up to 3 months), but I’m happy to say it was money well spent. The price unfortunately may be the down side, putting most people off who just may not be able to afford to shell out that much in one month. Plus you really do need at least 3 pairs to get you through your cycle even if you’re going to do a wash in the middle.

On the down side is longevity. The website does states that the quality of the underwear can last anywhere between 6 months and 2 years. Not quite long enough to be worth the money spent in my opinion. And when you’re done with them where do they go? Landfill again? I’m hoping there’s some sort of recycling exchange program in place.

One thing I also can’t attest for is the heaviness of a period. I’m lucky enough that after having my son, and with the use of the contraceptive pill, my endometriosis symptoms have calmed down quite a lot, and I no longer have massively heavy bleeds. Whether someone who bleeds extremely heavily would be game to try them I’m not sure. The website does have options to purchase undies specifically designed for heavy bleeders, but you would have to trust your own body I think on that one.

Would I recommend them? Sure, they’ve been good for me so far. Would I shame you if you didn’t try them? Of course not, and nobody every should! Do what you got to do. One thing I do know for sure though, I’m still not game to try the menstrual cup yet.

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The Parenting Paradox

There really isn’t anything like a good SMBC cartoon to give you a laugh.

SMBC

God damn Zach Weinersmith (if that is your real name) you definitely know exactly what it’s like.

Have you ever had those moments where you just question everything you’ve ever done? What am I saying, of course you have! This is your life now. Every second of every day I doubt myself, or question myself, or second guess myself. I call it the Parenting Paradox. The never ending questions I have about raising Stormaggedon, and how well I’m doing, circle around me at every moment. Do I give him enough attention? Am I providing enough physical contact so as to make him feel secure. Or am I hugging him too much, thereby taking away his sense of dependence. Do I do too much for him, or by giving him his freedoms will he develop anxiety? Is he watching too much TV, and will he develop ADHD from it? Am I helping him build a strong character by saying no when he wants to sleep in my bed, or am I contributing to his eventual abandonment issues? Should I praise him more or will that fill him with a sense of over achievement and entitlement? Am I raising him right, or am I just screwing up at every turn?!

Inevitably, my view of the future is of a son who never speaks to me, has either developed severe mental health issues or has turned into a psychopath, has dude-bro entitlement issues, and will think of no one but himself. And that’s even without the normal every day fears like “what happens if he starts taking drugs” or “he might choke on a grape and die!”.

Yes, I am a nervous wreck, and will frequently indulge in the “worst case scenario” game. Anyone else who is just in the slightest exactly like me will understand just how exhausting living our lives like this can be. But live this life we do. And as exhausting as it is, will still manage to function. We still manage to claw our way through the day, making mistakes, making up for them, getting terrifyingly mad at ourselves for the way we acted or behaved when dealing with our children, finding the courage to forgive ourselves, then doing it all again the next day, and every day, day after day, for years to come.

So it may come as no surprise that when I come across things like this on the internet that I get a little mad:

airport baby

And no, not in the way you’re thinking. I’m not judging this woman, but judging why this photo was taken and shared in the first place. This particular image was attached to an article, where the mother in the photo described having to defend herself to the world after the picture went viral, with a caption attached to it: “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots”- Albert Einstein.

At first glance you could say that it was normal to jump to the conclusion that she had no interest in her child and would have much rather been looking at her phone than looking after her baby. But take a moment to think about what the story behind the photo may be, and you realise not everything is as straight forward as it seems.

The photo was taken at Colorado airport in 2016 after a major computer malfunction. Hundreds of passengers were stranded. The women in this picture had been told at first her flight was delayed, then cancelled, then re-scheduled, then re-scheduled again, and so on and so on. In total she spent up to 20 hours at the airport, just sitting and waiting not receiving any help from anyone. She was alone and exhausted. She had been carrying her baby in her arms for hours. The baby was 2 months old, so how heavy do you think that would be? Six maybe seven kilos? I’m sure we all know what it’s like to carry a baby around for hours on end. What at first seems as light as a feather quickly turns into a lead weight as your arms begin to tire. So spare a thought for the exhausted mum who decided it would be a good idea just to let her baby stretch out on the ground as she texted her family to let them know what was going on. In the meantime some creep decided to invade her privacy and the privacy of her child by taking a picture of them without her permission, then splashes it all over the internet for the world to see with some stupid high-and-mighty quote THAT EINSTEIN NEVER EVEN SAID!

Holy crap it is exhausting being a parent. Not only do you have all those doubting, nagging thoughts of your own to contend with, but now you have to be on your guard every second of every day just in case some jackass with a smart phone decides to record you at your worst possible moments. Did this person even think for one second “Maybe I should go over there and see if she needs or wants help”? Obviously not. It was far easier for them to just take a picture and smugly post about how “this generation today doesn’t know how to interact with each other thanks to technology”, doing so ironically with their smart phone and social media platform.

You know how a picture can paint a thousand words? Perhaps try to remember that the next time you see the split second snapshot of a moment, you should think about what the story behind it is first before jumping to conclusions.

 

Just Say Yes

Three simple words. Just say yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Just three little letters. Say it in your head. Yes. Now say it out loud. Yes. Sounds good doesn’t it. Yes. Kind of makes you feel great. Yes. Saying yes can lead to nice things.

Can I have an ice cream? Yes.

Can I have the day off? Yes.

Can I go see that movie? Yes.

Already you feel like you’re having a great day, right?

Now let’s look at it from another point of view, what happens if you start to say no every time.

Can I have an ice cream? No.

Can I have the day off? No.

Can I go see that movie? No.

You’re feeling kind of shitty now aren’t you. Like saying no is taking away all your fun. Like someone else gets to dictate to you how you spend your time or live your life. Doesn’t feel great does it.

Will you marry me? Yes!

Will our country allow us to get married? No.

Ah-ha! We’ve reached the true meaning behind that cleverly disguised opening paragraph! Well played Truthmummy, well played.

You’ve probably guessed it, but I am a Yes voter. I have in fact already voted yes, and my vote is well on its way to the ABS headquarters. That is if no one has opened my vote and thrown it away! (Before we go any further, FYI, no one at Australia Post is doing that. Not only are voter fraud and mail tampering two extremely serious criminal offences, but I’m pretty sure Australia Post have policy and procedures, and checks and balances in place to prevent such a thing from happening. So seriously, don’t even let this ridiculous conspiracy cross your mind.)

But what you may not have guessed was that many years ago I would have been a no voter. Growing up Catholic, it’s no surprise that I was exposed to the argument that being gay was somehow “against God’s plan”. So for longer that I would care to admit, I too believed that there was something inherently “wrong” or “unnatural” about wanting to be with someone of the same sex. However, after a time I just grew up and changed my mind. I read things, I listened to people, and formed very close friendships with people who identified as queer. I saw love. True, beautiful, natural, normal love that shouldn’t require a label, and shouldn’t need the approval of others. 

I’ve said previously about how it’s important to accept that as adults we grow and mature, and therefore can and should form new and different opinions. Just because you believed something when you were 13 does not dictate that you should still believe in it when you turn 30. Otherwise we’d all still believe in Santa Claus.

And that’s why I decided to write this. Because I’m not just preaching to the choir, or yelling into my bubble, or screaming into the void. If I was able to change my mind years ago, maybe it’s not too late for others to change theirs. So please read to the end, and if you do I promise there will be cookies!*

*ok, not really, I can’t back that up.

So far I’ve seen a lot of craziness from both sides of the debate, but I’d specifically like to address the (mostly insane) main arguments with some of my own answers.

“It’s just a piece of paper!”

If it’s just a piece of paper, then what’s the big deal then? Why do some people get to have “just a piece of paper” and others don’t? Are you scared their piece of paper is going to look prettier than yours? Are you jealous that yours is just on plain paper and theirs is going to be covered in rainbows and glitter? Because you know that’s exactly what’s going to happen as soon as SSM is legalised. Births, Deaths and Marriages will release a limited edition marriage certificate, and you won’t be able to get one!…Oh my God, I just worked out what the Gay Agenda is!

“We don’t need to amend the marriage act. We just need to strengthen the laws surrounding de facto relationships.”

So what you’re saying is you’d rather strengthen the rights of straight people who can’t be bothered to get married over the rights of gay people who we’re not allowing to get married? Uh huh.

“If we let gay people marry, what will that lead to next? Siblings? Animals? Children? Objects? The world will go mad!”

Oh boy, where to start? Firstly, no, the world will not go mad. Not withstanding the precedent set by every other country that has legalised gay marriage where NONE of these things have happened, but that all of these suggestions are in fact illegal. Being gay is not.

“But being gay USED to be illegal.”

Look, I don’t really know anything about the history of the decriminalisation of homosexuality nor anything about the legal precedents of such a thing. All that I do know is that a bunch of people got together and decided, “Actually, two people who love each other regardless of their gender isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe we need to change the law”. And so we did. Not that hard was it?

“But it could lead to paedophilia being legalised!”

NO IT WON’T, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!? Sorry for yelling, but there is literally no sane argument to counter that kind of ridiculous statement.

“I don’t know, if we legalise SSM, maybe we’ll start to feel comfortable in accepting these other types of relationships as well”

Sigh, ok, let’s talk about these “relationships”. Firstly to define a relationship you need what is called CONSENT. Without CONSENT it’s not a relationship. Take children for example. Children by the very definition of what a child is under the law cannot consent. They cannot sign documents. They cannot make legal decisions (like vote for example). That will never change. Animals are the same, they cannot consent. Anyone who wants to argue this by pointing out that parrots can talk and some monkeys can use sign language, seriously what’s wrong with you? Objects cannot consent. They’re objects. No, no just don’t go there. No.

“Ha! What about siblings. They can consent! We could be living in an incestuous nightmare!”

Sorry to break this to you, but have you actually read the Marriage Act 1961? Section 23(2) states:

(2) Marriages of parties within a prohibited relationship are marriages

(a) between a person and an ancestor or descendant of the person; or

(b) between a brother and a sister (whether of the whole blood or the half-blood)

Basically this means that you can’t marry someone by direct decent. What it DOESN’T say is anything about relations through non-decent. Meaning you could marry your first cousin if you so desired. (Why would we want to marry our cousins? Because they’re beautiful!) But it doesn’t stop there. Aunts and nephews, and uncles and nieces can marry under our current law. Can anyone imagine going up to their mum and being like “You know I really dig Uncle John. So guess what? I’m going to be your Daughter-Sister!” Ew, ew, fucking ew. But it’s legal!

“I got a text message from the Yes side telling me to vote yes. My privacy has been so invaded!”

Unlike the privacy of those who the entire country has been asked to vote on whether they should be allowed to get married? By the way, if you’ve ever done one of those Facebook surveys about what Disney Princess/Harry Potter house/Game of Thrones Sex position are you, played an online game app, or ever signed up to a loyalty card, then guess what? Your privacy isn’t so private.

“A child needs a mother and a father!”

This argument is frankly a slap in the face of any person who is already the product of a same sex relationship. Let’s not forget that gay couples can still have children through surrogacy or adoption. Changing the marriage act isn’t going to affect that, but merely strengthen the rights of those families. It is also a slap in the face of any person who was raised by a single parent. And it is most definitely a slap in the face of any person who grew up in a troubled or broken household where one or both of their parents were abusive, but stayed together out of some sense of obligation.

“Won’t somebody think of the children!”

Yes, why won’t somebody think of the children? The children who are currently copping abuse from people who are bullying them for being gay. The children who are being physically attacked for being trans. The children whose government is telling them that their parents aren’t allowed to get married. The children who don’t feel safe to walk the streets. The children who can’t look at social media or anything on the internet because they come face to face with the violent vitriol of people disrespecting their lives. The children who are so depressed, or despise themselves so much that they feel the only way out is it end their lives. You’re right, why WON’T we think of these children?

“I don’t feel safe giving my opinion because when I tell people I’m voting no they’re really mean to me!”

Oh no, people are bullying you for your opinions and lifestyle choices, and you don’t feel safe!? Really, I can’t IMAGINE how that must feel!

Alright so a lot of my commentary may seem a little derisive. It’s hard not to be when I keep seeing these ridiculous lines of attack on people. And that’s exactly what they are: attacks. This isn’t a respectful debate. To debate something, you should have equal weight to both arguments. When one side has spent years holding most of the power, dictating laws, turning their backs on people suffering, and allowing people to feel somehow inferior to the rest of us, then you’re not debating. You’re dictating. You’re dictating to people that they’re not worthy as the same rights as the rest of us.

Everything that I’ve seen advertised on TV so far from the No side seems to be various scare tactics: our children won’t know what gender they are, it’ll destroy the sanctity of marriage, the church will lose their religious freedom, where will this all possibly lead to? Is it time to crack open each other’s skulls and feast on the goo inside? (Ok, probably not that last one).

All I’ve seen from the Yes side is one simple statement: Let’s allow gay people to get married.

So let’s do that. Let gay people get married. Vote yes. It’s the right thing to do.