Courage Is Ending Period Poverty
This is a sponsored post written by Michelle Poler on behalf of Always. The opinions and text are all Michelle's. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Hello Fears!
When Always contacted me to be part of their #EndPeriodPoverty campaign, and revealed to me that 1 in 5 American girls lack access to period products, I was shocked. What’s so heartbreaking to me is to hear that girls even miss school because of it.
Since my mission is to empower girls to tap into their full potential and become their confident selves, I decided to join Always on this initiative to #EndPeriodPoverty and speak up about it so no girl has to miss school ever again because of this.
How can we all help? Glad you asked!:
1. Share this article, or better yet, your own #PeriodStory (at the end of this article)– which I’m not going to lie, it took a whole lot of courage to do! Let’s spark conversations and raise awareness about this reality, so more people know about it.
2. Purchase Always products at Dollar General stores. Always partnered with Dollar General so every purchase of Always products made until September 8th will trigger a donation of product to girls in need. Always, aims to donate 15 million period products via Feeding America and through their school pantry program. So if you’re going to buy it anyway, why not do it at Dollar General? I just did!
Now, my #PeriodStory
I was 14 years old. It was summer and I was vacationing in Miami, FL. It was the first time I traveled by myself – a big accomplishment for a fearful 14-year old girl, right?
I wanted to visit my cousins and my uncles and stay with them for a few weeks. So I did it! I faced my fear of traveling solo. What I was not expecting during that trip was that traveling solo was not the only thing I did for the first time.
Something else happened that summer that made me feel more like a grownup, something unexpected.
It was a Saturday morning, I woke up at 6:30 am with terrible “stomachache” – or at least that’s what I thought it was – so I went straight to the bathroom taking advantage of the fact that my cousin was still asleep.
I sat in the toilet and it took me a few seconds to realize there was a brown and pretty big stain on my panties. What the heck! My first thought was “Omg, I must have pooped myself while sleeping, I mean, what else could this be?” Then, my pessimistic-self convinced me that I had a horrible disease and that I was probably going to die.
I was full of uncertainty, but above all, full of shame. I knew I needed help, but how could I explain what just happened to my aunt or my cousin? I was NOT going to show them... that!
It was 2002, so I had a Nokia phone that was awesome for playing Snake but didn’t have any kind of usability outside of my country, so I couldn’t text, call or Facetime my mom as much as I needed her!
I was so paranoid that I decided to overcome my deep shame and tell my 13-year-old cousin, Jessica, about what just happened. I was expecting her to freak out, but instead, she laughed, rolled her eyes and gave me a pad. I clearly had no idea what to do with it so she taught me how to wrap it around my underwear and was kind enough to help me do it – on a clean pair of panties, of course.
I was not so special after all. I was not dying either. Phew. My period had come for the first time, and apparently, it was no big deal.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I didn’t know what the period was or anything, I just pictured it differently in my mind. And for sure I was not expecting it to come while being away from home!
So, my cousin called her mom to the bedroom and told her about what just happened with a big smile on her face. My aunt got so excited that started celebrating right there and then! She almost framed my dirty underwear (but she didn’t, I promise). She then called my mom and suddenly, it all turned into a happy event, it was like my bat-mitzvah all over again.
Very quickly I went from “I’m dying” to “I’m a big girl now, YASSSSS.”
Now, just out of curiosity: how in detail do you remember your #periodstory? Was it traumatic? exciting? shameful?
Do you remember exactly how you felt when it happened? Which word would you use to describe the feeling? I would have a hard time believing if your word would be one other than shameful, scary, awkward, or something around those terms.
Now, try to imagine your #periodstory but with a twist at the end. What if when you realized your period had come, no one would have passed you a sanitary towel or a tampon?
What if at that moment whoever was with you would have said something like: “Good for you big girl! Get some toilet paper... pads are expensive, and we don’t have enough money for that”
How much more shameful, awkward, uncertain and disappointing would that moment be? Think about how you would have reacted in that scenario.
If you liked the conversation around the #LikeAGirl campaign that Always released a few years ago, which I absolutely LOVED, make sure to also join this conversation which can have a tremendous impact if we all pitch in.
So, what’s your #PeriodStory and would you help us #EndPeriodPoverty with it?