Friday, February 12, 2016

back in the saddle

It's been a long time since menstruation was my middle name. For years I delved into, obsessed about, researched, dreamed, talked, lived, breathed periods. Against all odds and popular opinion I made my dream come true. My period project thoughts evolved into FLOW, the Cultural Story of Menstruation - 15 years from the inkling of an idea to a book on a shelf. With a fab launch party at Rizzoli's no less.

FLOW consumed me. It went far beyond research and writing. I scoured eBay and auction houses for vintage ads and packaging. Matched art to manuscript. Met with editors and designers. Wrote press releases. Created promo films. Pitched interview ideas. Spoke to reviewers, chatted on radio shows (Dr. Oz anyone?), spent a segment on The View with Whoopi, who thanked me for writing the book, and the rest of that morning cast. Amazon rankings ruled my emotions. Menstrual conversation took precedence over everything else.

And then it was over. Almost overnight.

I'd thought I'd be talking about periods forever. But instead, conversations moved elsewhere and the glimmers of interest dwindled. This process, that affects every person on the planet, whose presence signifies the ability to give birth, whose absence means life or life changes, still isn't something people want to talk about. Girls are still generally ashamed and uncomfortable. Women often dread or at least resent its arrival. Periods are the punch lines of jokes, the objects of ridicule, or the subject of blame. 

Except for out of the blue interviews, I stopped talking and moved on too.  

Then there was today. I got to dive in, revisit ideas, draw parallels and new conclusions. Talk about history and religion and girl power and packaging. Advertising and culture and puberty and menopause. Bodies. And blood. Where we've been, where we are, where we could go with mindfulness, constructive ideas, and the desire to make things better for future generations.

I wrote FLOW to inspire conversations about menstruation. Today I discovered they're happening. And I got to jump back in and remember why I put all this out into the world in the first place. 

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