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On one of the first Fridays after starting my internship, I was working at the GladRags HQ when I started my period.

It came as a surprise because I hadn’t had a period in about six months because of the birth control I was using. The timing could not have been better because I was able to choose from all of the GladRags my perfect reusable product (perks of being an intern).

moon cup

My very first Moon Cup!

I decided on the Moon Cup. It took about twenty minutes of me in an awkward position on the toilet to get it right.  The hardest part was keeping the cup folded long enough to have it sit high enough in me. It was a little frustrating in the beginning, but I reminded myself to just take a few breaths and relax and the process got a lot easier.

I left the bathroom with a strange feeling, and that feeling was nothing. I couldn’t feel the cup in me in the slightest, which was new for me because I always had issues with tampons.

It was like my first period all over again! I was so excited about being able to use the product for the first time. I texted my friends and my mom probably with way too much information. But I was feeling good. I was saving the environment. I was experiencing period positivity.

And then about two hours into it, the cramps set in and I was not-so-gently reminded of what it felt like to have a period.

But with the cup, having my period again just wasn’t that bad.

First, I had no leaks. I wore a GladRags pantyliner just in case, but even when I went on a big hike out to the beach and couldn’t get to a bathroom for about six hours, nothing ever left the cup.

Second, the whole process felt a lot cleaner than it did with tampons. Now I’m a little disgusted by tampons, thinking about what they do to my body and where they end up when I’m done with them.

The Moon Cup and I have been through three cycles now, and there have been no problems. I had to trim the stem because the cup doesn’t tend to fit high in me. I’ve told all my friends about it, and they’re excited to try the cup too. I’m positive that I will never go back to disposable products again.

I had a pretty great first experience with GladRags and the Moon Cup, but what about you? What was your first experience with reusable menstrual products like?

bronteAbout the author of this post:
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.

Name: Vrindavani Avila
Age: 23
Hometown: Sequoia National Park, CA
Current location: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Nanny/Student/Glass Blower/Community Activist
Interests: humanitarian issues, especially within womyns health. art, creativity, politics, mynstruation!
Dreams: To build my own home, fully sustainable, have my own organic herb and vegetable garden, to get off the grid, to create sculptures from refurbished materials.

How long have you used reusable menstrual products?: Since 2008-2009

Reason for making the switch to reusables: I was taking a class on feminism and pop culture, and came across articles and stories of these cups and pads, that womyn made and advocated. I felt so empowered that I had to try it myself, and it was around the time that I was becoming aware of waste, sustainability, organic food, etc. After the first months, I was hooked! I talked to my friends, family, men and womyn about reusables! I still do! I hold workshops at schools, gardens, and at homes about these products!

Funny anecdotes, deep thoughts, or anything else you’d like to share:  Coming into this Mynstrual Activism, and becoming more liberated from the industrialization of womyns bodies, I realized how important it is to share our experiences as womyn with our loved ones, friends, and soon to be friends. To understand that we are not alone with our thoughts and experiences of trauma due to the medicalization of our vaginas, and the politics surrounding our uterus’. We need to come out from the shadows and realize these corporations that are focused on womyn, hurt us, and don’t heal us. We need to become independent from this culture that silences our voices.  I realized how much I want to continue my work on health and mynstrual activism in the communities of color, especially in Los Angeles. This information is vital to the people of color communities, as a womyn of color, I witness the deprivation of knowledge in my lower income neighbors, and we are starve and strive for new information, just as the more affluent communities do.
I am working with The Shodhini Institute to educate womyn, Masculine of Center womyn(Moc), transmen, and gender non-conforming individuals. Developing our own radical health and sex education with a holistic self-help foundation.
We need to unite with all womyn around the world. And it could start with a cup, pad, or a sponge and a conversation.
Name: Caroline P.
Age: 32
Hometown: Vienna, VA
Current location: Mayumba, Gabon
Occupation: ecologist
Interests: plants and animals, growing vegetables, upcycling, seeking out and cooking ‘slow food’, any excuse to get outside, dabbling in soccer and squash
Dreams: a long distance sail and a long distance horseback ride
How long have you used reusable menstrual products?: Glad Rags since 2005, added the MoonCup in 2007
Reason for making the switch to reusables: I couldn’t bear the thought of the trash I was generating….and I can’t believe I went so long before I switched.  As others report, my relationship to my period has become less resentful since switching.
Funny anecdotes, deep thoughts, or anything else you’d like to share: My work with the Wildlife Conservation Society often takes me to remote villages or out camping, often with teams that are entirely male and where you’d be hard pressed to find a bathroom, trash can or convenience store, but you can always find a private place and wash water-often with an incredible view. My reusables make these experiences smooth, stress-free and waste free, which they definitely wouldn’t be if I was still using disposables!

Courtney is the head blogger over at crunchy beach mama, click the icon to check it out!



Name: Courtney
Age: gosh asked me this 2 days ago and I could have said younger! 35 :)
Hometown: Iowa
Current Location: Carolina Coast
Occupation: Mom to 3 boys & Blogger at Crunchy Beach Mama

Interests: Love to read. I like to scrapbook but am years behind. Talking walks and bike rides around the neighborhood with my kids. Watching sports games with my family. Studying how to be a better person spiritually.

Dreams: To be financially secure so my hubby doesn’t have to work so hard. To live a long healthy life. To buy and decorate a home on the ocean where I can fall asleep listening to the waves and wake up to play in the sand.

How long have you used reusable menstrual products: 1.5 years
Reason for making the switch to reusables: We started cloth diapering my 3rd baby. It didn’t seem right then that I wasn’t using cloth for my own uses. I wish I would have started both long ago! Much more comfy, affordable, healthy, and green.

Funny anecdotes, deep thoughts, or anything else you’d like to share:I like teaching others that being ‘crunchy’ or natural is easy. It not only helps out Mother Nature, but it saves us so much money! The health benefits alone should encourage everyone to look into how they can change their lifestyle. One step at a time.

Name: Kathryn Dusseau Kloos
Age: 34
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Current Location: Portland, OR
Occupation: Naturopathic Physician and mother

Interests: natural medicine, plant spirit medicine, women’s health, playing the guitar, being out in nature, travel to warm tropical places.
Dreams: Before I attended Naturopathic college I spent time studying healing arts with traditional people in the Brazilian Amazon. At that time I was in a deep contemplation if I should stay in Brazil and continue my studies with the plants or go to naturopathic school.  One of my friends there was a beautiful nineteen year old daughter of a shaman.  She knew the medicinal uses of every plant in the the forest and the unique songs that went with each one.  When I asked her what she wished she could do in her life, she told me all she wanted to go was go to medical school.  She said this with sadness in her heart knowing that there was little chance she could ever attend a university due to a lack of opportunity for the people of that region.  It was in that moment when I realized I should go to medical school. If she couldn’t go, I should at least take the opportunity to pursue a higher education that so many people globally don’t have access to.  My vision then and my vision now is to create a knowledge exchange between indigenous and contemporary healers.  One day I would like to take a group down to the Amazon to distribute much needed medical supplies as well as aid in the preservation of their herbal and healing traditions.

How long have you used reusable menstrual products: 14 years
Reason for making the switch to reusables: They are are more comfortable than disposable menstrual products and better for the environment.

Funny anecdotes, deep thoughts, or anything else you’d like to share: I think that we are in a time now when women are being asked to do a lot in the world.  Its really important that we take time to replenish ourselves by resting, spending time in nature and doing whatever brings us joy.  As women we need to remember to honor the rhythms of our moon cycle and not push ourselves too much, especially during the time of menstruation.  Traditionally women used to bleed during the new moon which is a time for quiet reflection and planting seeds of new dreams.  Ovulation would traditionally happen on the full moon which is a time of outward creativity and expression.  My hope is that we can collectively remember to honor our moon time as a time for rest and reflection as well as value the importance of ‘being’ as much as we value ‘doing’.

Name: Steph Tubman
Age: 25
Hometown: Rochester, NY
Current Location: Southern Highlands (Quetzaltenango), Guatemala
Occupation: Peace Corps Volunteer and Graduate Student

Interests: Writing, Environmental ethics, Foreign languages, Hiking, Whole foods
Dreams: For the moment, leave my community at least a little better off than how I found it! Eventually, finish my Masters’ degree, have a family, and keep learning, teaching, and growing.

How long have you used reusable menstrual products: Two and a half years
Reason for making the switch to reusables: After college I visited an intentional community, which inspired me to try to go zero waste. Getting a menstrual cup was an obvious first step, but I still used disposable pads when my flow was heavy. When I moved to a Guatemalan town with no adequate waste management, the challenge of zero waste became quite practical rather than simply philosophical. I bought a set of GladRags and never looked back!

Funny anecdotes, deep thoughts, or anything else you’d like to share: If we’re really going to improve human development world-wide, I think we’ve got to embrace technologies that not only enhance quality of life but also reduce consumer dependency and impact on our ecosystems. I’m of the opinion that reusable menstrual pads are one such awesome technology, which hopefully in the next decade will be promoted – whether purchased or homemade – to more women world-wide (including here in in Guatemala).

Name: Zoe E.
Age: 24
Hometown: Santa Fe, NM
Current location: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Grad Student, Teacher

Interests: Writing, educating, cooking, learning.
Dreams: To open my own preschool where the kids would learn and grow body-mind-spirit.

How long have you used reusable menstrual products?: Over a year.

Reason for making the switch to reusables: So many! Saving money, not wasting, and keeping my body healthy by using a product free of harmful ingredients.

Funny anecdotes, deep thoughts or anything else you’d like to share: I almost get outraged when I hear people still use tampons! Not only are they bad for your body, but think of how many of these throw-away products are sitting in landfills! The sad thing is that many women I know haven’t heard of reusables or are too scared/grossed out. God forbid we’re in touch with our bodies, right? I’ve converted a few girls though!

Name: Dallas S.
Age: 19
Hometown: Moreno Valley, CA
Current location: Portland, OR — headed to San Francisco, CA
Occupation: Brand Ambassador

Interests: I like to work and I love to eat! I have an obsession with petting every dog I see. Coffee, traveling, girls, tattoos, and having a good time! Kowabunga!
Dreams: Move to a new place every year.

How long have you used reusable menstrual products?: A little over a year now!

Reason for making the switch to reusables: I had a friend who wanted me to try a menstrual cup, and after months and months of me saying that I would buy one, she bought me a Lunette!

Funny anecdotes, deep thoughts or anything else you’d like to share: I had to ask my mother to stop buying me tampons! She sends me care packages every few months, and they always have tampons in them. Considering I never use them anymore, I am so overstocked with tampons.

Name: Meg B.
Age: 25
Hometown: Naugatuck, CT
Current location: just relocated to Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Cosmetology student/Unemployed

Interests: Beauty, good food, animals, beer
Dreams: To learn how to sculpt those awesome Hello Kitty acrylic nails from Japan.

How long have you used reusable menstrual products?: About two years

Reason for making the switch to reusables: Aside from the obvious desire to lessen my carbon footprint, I switched to reusable menstrual products to have a better attitude about my period. Not that the whole process was this squicky mess that I would rather light my hair on fire than deal with, but I knew there could be a better way to get through my cycle without using scratchy cotton and dealing with leaks galore. My Lunette is so easy to use (after perfecting the “twist” when inserting), easy to clean, and easy to forget about throughout my day.

Funny anecdotes, deep thoughts, or anything else you’d like to share: I recently moved to Los Angeles for my husband’s work. He simply had to transfer but I’m still job hunting. Reusable products are great for women on a budget. I haven’t had to buy pads or tampons in almost two years! Little things add up, so I take all the help I can get when it comes to expenses.

Name: Anney T.
Age: 22
Hometown: Southern California
Current location: Brooklyn, NY
Occupation: I work for a company called GoodWood NYC based out of Brooklyn. We sell wooden chains to rappers and kids who love rappers. It’s the best job I’ve ever had. I answer a lot of e-mails and force my co-workers to listen to Justin Bieber all day. Just that one song “Baby”, though. Nothing else matters.

Interests: Fake cheese and everything else bad for you.
Dreams: Publish my book of rare, secret, based poetry. Once I do that, I want to get a nice apartment in LA so I can be close to my wonderful family. I want to make sure that all of my younger cousins have a bad influence in their lives.

How long have you used reusable menstrual products?: Just a little over a year now!
Reason for making the switch to reusables: First of all, they cost way less than purchasing tampons every month. Living in New York is not cheap. I never have to worry about having enough tampons or pads everywhere I go; it’s just very convenient. Plus, it’s a great conversation starter at parties. When my first go to conversation starter “hey, have you ever heard of Lil B?” fails, I move straight to “so, do you use a cup?”.

Funny anecdotes, deep thoughts, or anything else you’d like to share: When I lived in Portland, Oregon for a few years, I helped run this music venue called The Artistery. I had this roommate, Kevin, who was/is the most hilarious dude I’ve ever met. Every week Kevin had some new idea or project he was working on that involved absurdist-type humor and elaborate schemes that were half nonsensical but were 100% the best idea ever. Don’t quote me on that though because I’m bad at math. Moving on, Kevin was a bit of a caricature in my eyes for quite some time. It was hard for me to fathom him as a real human being. To me, Kevin was the only evidence of a very cruel higher power who placed him on Earth to taunt the rest of us saying “hey, look at this guy; you will never be as funny, smart or as cool as he is. AND his girlfriend is a total babe (hey rebecca)”. Anyway, this all changed one day when I was hanging out at the extension house attached to The Artistery. Kevin was taking a shower and had no idea anyone else was in the house, so he came out wearing nothing but a towel, sans glasses, singing “Crocodile Rock”. For the first time in the history of our friendship, I noticed that Kevin had skin (not in a derogatory way) and two tattoos on his ankles (an “equality” sign and an “anarchy sign”; remnants from his days of being 15 and punk). At this point, I had already dropped the book I was reading to watch my friend materialize from a myth to a man. He noticed me sitting there, turned to me and said “oh, hey, Anney” and then proceeded to sit down, still in his towel, and put on his socks.