Ditching Tampons Was a Rite of Passage

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An elder recently told me that plastic is a barrier to connection.

It prevents us from connecting to our food, the oils and butters to moisturise our skin, single-use items and hygienic wrapping create panic of germs separating us from each other. The plastic pads and tampons were sold to us not to keep us healthy and vibrant and tuned into this miraculous reproductive indicator. They were sold to us to be a quick, easy, no-thinking-required solution to something society told us not to talk about. It was shameful, dirty, taboo. These plastic products stuffed us up and shut us up. Most of us didn't talk to each other about it and we didn't learn why this happened.

This journey away from plastics has been incredibly revelatory for me. Quitting plastics connects us back to what was always there. Quitting plastic tampons did exactly the same.

I let go of the plastic tampons and pads I grew up on. And for the first time in my life, I had to pay attention to this menstrual cycle. Listen to this communication my body was telling me that I used to quiet with disposable plastics.

I become intimate with my body as I experimented with new methods of managing the blood. My approach shifted from merely cleaning up the mess to tuning into my natural rhythm of this incredibly special cycle. Instead of reaching externally to a giant box of plastic tampons and pads that would shove in or stick on to take care of the issue for me, I looked internally, tuned in to my cycle.

I was in absolute awe to notice the same changes happening to my body, emotions, energy each month in rhythm. I could feel when I was ovulating. I rode the energy build as I noticed a reoccurring spike in my sexual appetite. I acted when my energy and strength surged. I relaxed when it dipped as I neared my bleed. I was prepared when I was about to bleed because my body told me. I wasn’t numbing her communication, I was listening. I indulged the cravings for chocolate the day before. And the cravings for kale, avocado, green smoothies all through the cycle. I rested. I held ritual. I set intentions.


I still get chills when I remember the moment my mind shifted from burden to beauty. This thing that had been programmed to be a hassle, taboo, gross--drew me back to myself, drew me back to my nature. It connected me to the moon. To my creative potential. To my body. She had been waiting for me.

I feel sensual, feminine, juicy when I bleed. And thanks to all of these incredible new products, I don't have to hide away in bed. I can go out and express what is coming through. 
YES to embracing all that naturally occurs in our bodies. From stretch marks to wrinkles to monthly blood to gray hairs to menopause. We are human beings and we are nature. We go through cycles and seasons just as all other life on Earth. The more we embrace our natural seasons of change, the more we talk about them, and honour them--the more we understand, the more comfortable we will be, and the more we can innovate to better serve our needs. 

Sometimes I reflect and wonder what drew me onto this journey. What called me to quit plastics. Was it this love for the planet? Was it this fear for the oceans? Or was it a force much bigger? Did something in nature pull me away from the synthetics? So that I could connect back to the magic.

I have a growing, evolving, humbling meditation practice. One part of this I like to sit in “spirit circle.” I see the faces of my deceased mother, grandmothers, elders I have connected with throughout my life and travels, as well as other guides and light beings. They help me when I am unsure. When I feel lost or sad or depleted or hopeless, I turn to them for guidance. I have not always had clarity, and I certainly have not had much guidance in the physical plain. No wonder I was so open to steering from the metaphysical. My spiritual sails were wide open for the right winds to fill.

When I connected to my cycle, I became a woman. I was no longer a girl. With this body connection, I was grounded and I could step into my power. I could hold it. My feet were planted, I was connected to my womb, my rhythm, my cycle, I could hold the wind in my sails.

Quitting plastics in many ways has been a spiritual journey. But nothing was a bigger rite of passage as when I quit tampons and stepped into full power as a woman.

Kathryn NelsonComment