Eastern Washington University’s student newspaper reported that over 40% of the feminine hygiene machines were broken on their campus, and it reminded me of an experience I had with feminine hygiene machines.
It happened to me in high school.
I had just started my period and wasn’t very good at keeping extra supplies in my backpack or locker. I found a quarter in one of those obscure backpack pockets, ever so slyly slipped it into my pocket, and prayed to the gods that no one would be in the bathroom so I could buy my tampon in peace and no one would have to know I was on my period.
But of course, I was not alone, and I had to buy my tampon with another girl in the bathroom, who probably didn’t even notice me.
It was one of the most mortifying moments of my life, and became even worse when the machine didn’t work. I left the bathroom and found one of my friends in the hall, who in fact did have an extra tampon on her, as she was on her period, too.
Knowing that my friend was on her period at the same time as me was oddly comforting. Shocking, I know, that it took a fourteen year old almost a year into her period to come to terms with the fact that she couldn’t possibly be the only girl in the world on her period at any given moment. But that’s what got me through that week, and now I’m thinking that’s all that matters. Although I never did get that quarter back.
It’s these kind of moments where I wish I had known about GladRags. Before this semester at school, I didn’t even know that there were alternatives to disposable tampons and pads. I had asked my friend if she had an extra tampon (I’m sensing a trend here about myself) and she told me she had never used a tampon. She had only used a menstrual cup since she started her period. I started doing some research, and was considering trying out a menstrual cup. I was also looking for a summer job at the time and Bitch magazine shared a summer internship opportunity, and I found GladRags.
My period is nothing to be shameful about, and now I think it’s more embarrassing that it took me years of being on my period to figure this out. The experience illustrates something that I think needs to change, and that’s how we talk about, or more likely not talk about, our periods. Finding GladRags and its community of followers helped me find that period positivity. It’s an empowering feeling that is central to the GladRags mission, and I am proud to be a part of that.
About the author of this post:
Bronte Dod is the summer intern at GladRags and attends Willamette University, studying politics, history, and women’s and gender studies. She is passionate about education, dance, and hiking with her dog.