“Underneath the color of our skin,
all women bleed the same, red, deep, ancient flow
of life force. It is this power what makes the blood that naturally
flows through a woman during her cycle seem taboo.”
THIS POWERFUL STATEMENT, made by Marjory Meijia is revolutionary in its depth and implications.
Under all perceived differences between us as women — our blood flows as one. This profound realization filled my eyes with tears at the first Jewish and Palestinians womens circle I held in 1999 in Israel (my country of origin). Having held many women’s circles before, and having been touched time and again by the power of sharing our first blood stories, I was unprepared for the depth of emotions that engulfed us all: Muslim, Christian, and Jewish women, divided by years of political bias, cultural stereotypes, and accumulated fear of each other’s nations, we found a common ground that effortlessly bridged any perceived abyss between us!
Raised in small villages or in large urban neighborhoods, by deeply religious or defiantly atheist parents, in close-knit traditional communities or in loosely bound modern ones, our first blood stories differed in details, yet shared profoundly common flavors: those of feeling alone and scared, unprepared, ashamed, fearful, or just plain ho hum, a similar cord ran through our stories — a thread of invisibility, of a Coming of Age lacking in welcome, honor, or celebration.
The potency of our newly found bond was intoxicating! It made all perceived differences between us pale in comparison, dissolve into nothingness in the face of shared monumental experiences of girls who started bleeding with no cultural context, no mentors, and no meaningful acknowledgment; Of women who have been bleeding monthly for years, cycling silently with the moon, bearing cultural judgments and taboos about our bodies and our blood being unclean, gross, unmentionable, and rendering us crazy, lunatic, or sick (as in needing to be medicated).
The liberation we felt was palpable, the bonds we formed unshakeable. Yet it wasn’t until I read Marjory Meijia’s quote that I realized we missed something: Not only does the river of blood we all shed monthly serve as a thread that connects us beyond any divides. Not only is this common experience a dissolving agent for all our culturally cemented differences. But rather it is because of this potential bond among all women that our blood became taboo!!!
As women in indigenous cultures, we sat together in moon huts, moon lodges, or red tents all over the world. Our bleeding times were times of connection and alliance. Making our blood a cultural taboo didn’t only create a sense of personal shame, feelings of inadequacy, uncleanliness, and isolation. It didn’t only create (over generations) an inner distress that led to physical discomfort and symptoms labeled as ‘PMS’. It broke us apart! It created a cultural climate in which every woman bears her bleeding time alone; in which women believe they may be the only ones so uncomfortable, so out of sorts, so disconnected as they feel in any given moment. Women united are so powerful – it may scare the living daylights out of cultures who seek to dominate them!
The taboos around our blood not only disempower us individually, they weaken our collective identity. They tear us apart. They sow isolation and alienation. They make us easy to manipulate, medicate, and sell to.
Let’s take action to break the taboos (which serve those who wish to keep us in line) by uniting as bleeding women and voicing our blood stories (the good, the bad, the ugly, and the sacred) as the solvents that dissolve cultural taboos. Speaking about our blood, connecting around it, recognizing it as the central experience which defines us as women – are acts of defiance, and as such are revolutionary! Start a revolution today: tell your first blood story!
You are invited to Break A Taboo
right here, right now,
by sharing a Blood Story:
Your first or last blood,
your most or least favorite, your most outrageous,
most embarrassing, most painful, most funny,
or most sacred…
Speaking our silent truth
is an act of revolutionizing the world!
-DeAnna L'am, a selection from the upcoming Girl God Anthology, Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak.
|Celeste Gurevich, Whatever Works Contributor|
Available late March - pre-order here.
DeAnna L'am is an internationally established expert on Menstrual Wellness, author of ‘Becoming Peers - Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s Guide to Getting Your Period’; Founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™, and of Red Tents In Every Neighborhood – Global Network.
Fondly known as ‘Womb Visionary’, DeAnna has been transforming lives worldwide for over 25 years, teaching women and girls how to love themselves unconditionally! She helps women dissolve PMS symptoms by drawing spiritual strength from their cycle; Guides women in the art of welcoming girls to empowered womanhood, and inspires women to hold Red Tents in their communities. DeAnna L'am was the first to bring Menstrual Empowerment work to Israel/Palestine, her country of origin, where she helped Jewish & Palestinian women surpass political and religious differences by deeply bonding as cycling women. Visit her at: www.deannalam.com