Until recently, I hadn't thought much about "free bleeding," because it seemed very obviously impractical to me to refrain from any kind of menstrual product and just bleed all over things during magic time. It seemed like a lot of laundry and public concern would ensue. I couldn't think of any motivation to consider the idea, nor could I see any practical way to implement it even if I did decide it was a great plan. ("Hello coworkers-- don't be concerned. I'm not hemorraging; I'm a natural woman! Oh sorry, was that your upholstered chair?...")
It suddenly occurred to me one morning that I am already, in fact, quite a shamelessly free bleeder. Up until then, I had considered myself just lazy about product refreshment schedules. I tend to go productless in the bath and shower, and often to bed for convenience in bedtime seductions (and afterwards, while all comfy and warm, how could I want to hop up to find a tampon or whatever?). Also, I tend to ignore signs that my products are becoming squishy and about to lose all effectiveness if I am doing something interesting. If I am not bleeding heavily, as is common these days on the evil pill, I often leave the house in a productless state, carrying something with me if I anticipate an emergency.
The thing is, I have always considered these acts to be instances of shirking my duty as a responsible person. Responsible people are tidy and don't take risks with messes involving bodily functions! They don't just wear dark coloured underwear on spotting days! Me: lazy.
This laziness about products has never been motivated by health concerns for me. When I quit using tampons in favour of a reusable cup I did note the supposed health benefits, but mainly it was the reduction of garbage that attracted me. If I have really horrible cramps, I often find that internal products make them worse, so sometimes I avoid products for comfort. Also, in baths or showers, I usually avoid products so as to achieve a more thorough clean during a messy time of the month.
The new, non-lazy view of my behaviour came about one morning after going to bed without a product, not ending up involved in any seduction after all, and being so warm and comfy and in love with the bed that getting up to retrieve a product seemed offensive, especially since I wasn't bleeding very quickly. Thus, I slept on my side and hoped I wouldn't make a big mess. In the morning, I hopped up first thing and ducked into the bathroom to discover two quite lovely smears of shiny, ruby-red blood on my thighs. I occurred to me that I liked being allowed to overflow. I don't know how these two events go together, but that is how it happened. Perhaps because the blood was attractive for the first time, instead of looking like a mess. It was a nice colour and a nice shape and it was mine.
Anyway, it occurred to me that the situation is not that I am bad at using menstrual products. It is that I don't mind overflowing. So there. Ha ha on responsible people. I don't mind rinsing my panties out in the sink, or getting blood in the sheets now and then. I like not feeling like I have failed somehow when a product leaks.
I told this to special boy and he was slightly caught off-guard but supportive. He said I could bleed on him in bed if I didn't want to be in a little menstrual hut. He also pointed out that all our sheets are garish beasts from thrift stores and he didn't care if little gusts of blood got on them. Hooray! He is a special boy. Did I mention he used to fold flannel menstrual pads that his mum sold? He is a man with a good attitude toward menstruation.
It still does not appeal to me to just gush all over things and not use any products at all, but I do like this middling-free situation. I think it allows satisfaction and practicality at the same time. Mainly it is just about being comfortable with menstruation. In that way I partly credit my old roommate with my current state of mind, as she was very open about when she was bleeding and when she was wearing pads with tight pants, and would let friends in to pee while she was in the tub and leave her period underwear on the floor and so on. I think using reusable products encourages this kind of behaviour, especially flannel pads, since you end up with a bucket of them sitting around soaking.
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