Stop Policing Women’s Bodies

October 11th, 2021 Comments off

A phrase that is near and dear to me.

It’s been used to fight for reproductive rights, combat slut shaming, shut down dress codes full of double standards, and promote body positivity. But it often gets thrown to the wayside when certain feminists don’t like the choices other feminists have made for themselves.

In 2010, I wrote a post called, “I don’t hate you, Feminism. You just get on my nerves sometimes.” The title still holds true, but there’s quite a bit in there that I don’t agree with anymore. I doubt any of the people who tried to educate me at the time still read my blog. Man, was I infuriating. I would not be friends with 2010 me if I met her today. She was dead set on not getting it. I’m glad she’s not me anymore.


There’s this notion that expecting women to remove their body hair is rooted in pedophilia. It’s probably correct. I’m not here to argue with that.

But with this notion, as with all feminist ideas, comes a crowd who is vehemently against removing body hair and will tell women who continue to shave that they’re “setting the movement back decades.”

I don’t know about all that. Here’s what I do know:

You don’t know most of the women you’re saying that to. You don’t know why they choose to shave. And even if you do, it’s their body, their choice. You don’t get a say. I don’t care how offended you are by what you think them choosing to shave represents.

I started shaving when I was 12. Everywhere.

No one told me I had to. My mom only shaved her legs and only when she was going swimming. She was pretty ahead of the times as far as feminism is concerned. She started wearing dress pants to work instead of skirts before that was socially acceptable. She stopped wearing heels when it was still required of her. She worked with the Girl Scouts, focusing on teaching girls survival skills in the wild and in everyday life.

In fact, my mom tried to hold me off as long as she could, and in middle school, I stopped shaving for a while because I didn’t actually like doing it. But then a boy I had a crush on made fun of me, so Mom bought me an electric razor and let me shave with that.

Over the years, I’ve gone back and forth with shaving.

I rarely shave my pits because I don’t really get much hair there and I think pit shaving is stupid. The hair that does grow is mostly blonde so you can’t see it unless you’re really close. But eventually, I shave them because I know M prefers it, and it takes 5 seconds, and I’m not adamantly against it, so I do it when I feel like it.

At some point in my adult life, I developed really sensitive skin. I don’t know why or how that happened. But it’s bad. So bad that if I don’t at least shave my bikini line, I get really painful rashes from the friction of hair against skin.

A few years ago, I developed a weird skin condition (that I still haven’t gone to the doctor for because it ends as quickly as it begins so by the time I’d be able to be seen, it would be gone) where I get really, REALLY itchy everywhere for no apparent reason, and when I scratch, I start to develop hives. It’s the worst on my legs. If the hair gets long enough that a breeze makes it move, it’s damn near unbearable. But if I shave too often, my skin gets dry and itchy which also exacerbates the weird skin condition.

So I shave about once a week. When I’m on my period, I give my FUPA and vulva a break to allow any ingrown hairs or razor burn to heal. I still shave my legs, though.

I took at least a year off once, convinced that the people who kept telling me that I was experiencing those things because I shave were right. My skin would acclimate. I’d stop getting rashes and itches. I’d eventually be able to stop shaving forever. Which would be great because I actually hate the act of shaving. It takes so long, and it’s dangerous (because I’m clumsy), and until the last couple years (and switching to a mens razor), no matter how careful I was, I got really bad razor burn everywhere I shaved.

And I was miserable.

My skin never acclimated. I kept getting rashes. I tried everything. Showering more. Showering less. Lotions. Oils. Lube. Desitin. Vaseline. Powders. Not wearing underwear. Only wearing underwear that didn’t have elastic. Wearing loose underwear. Wearing tight underwear. Drying and/or washing my creases every time I went to the bathroom. Nothing helped.

So I started shaving again and never looked back. I refuse to sacrifice my health and comfort for an ideal.

And even if I wasn’t doing it for my health and comfort, I should be allowed to choose to shave where ever I want to without being shamed by other feminists, just like I allow them to choose not to shave without being shamed by me. I mean, I don’t think femme-presenting people should be required to shave, so I’d never think to shame them for not shaving in the first place, but you get my point.

Feminism is and should be about giving people choices. It’s also about equity, and that’s important, but with equity comes the right of choice. People should be allowed to make their own choices regarding all aspects of their lives as long as the choice they want to make isn’t endangering another individual.

And spare me the notion that my decision to continue shaving is endangering another individual by perpetuating the myth that not shaving is unhygienic.

Most people don’t walk around staring at other people’s legs and the only person who sees my vadge is M most of the time. No little girl is going to somehow find out that I shave and decide that she must shave or be considered gross or dirty. And if some kid did ask me about shaving (I’d be really fucking confused because I don’t have many conversations with kids), I’d tell them I do it because I get painful rashes if I don’t, but that I’m the exception, not the norm, and they should do whatever they want with their body.

I get the point. I even get why they feel the way they do about people who continue to shave despite the connotations. But if your brand of feminism includes telling people what they’re allowed to do with their own body, you’re doing it wrong. Especially if you don’t even know why they’re doing it.

So stop policing women’s bodies.

And I guess that’s all I have to say about that.

Categories: Rayne Tags:

It’s been a while…

August 25th, 2021 Comments off
4 unfinished paintings
Just unfinished tings. That Confederate Flag is gonna be burning when I’m finished with it. That’s the extent of the concept. Burn it down.

Holy shit. Almost ten months to the day. It’s been…it’s been rough, y’all. I’m not even sure how we made it through. Maybe we haven’t. Maybe there’s more to come. Who knows?


HI! How are you?

No, really. How are you? It’s been one motherfucker of a couple years, huh? Who’da thought that when Trump lost, a bunch of domestic terrorists would attack the capitol and try to keep the vote from being certified?

I feel like we’re sitting on a powder keg. November 3 is the match. And to be frank, I’m not sure the outcome actually matters. It’s going off either way.
Oh wait…I did.

Tbh, I’m kinda shocked that nothing happened earlier this month when he wasn’t reinstated. I wonder if he’s finally losing supporters. But I’m not naive enough to think he’s the worst we have to fear. Republicans have shown us who they are. I think it only gets worse from here.

Christians sure do like to control the people around them, eh? The Bible talks about testifying and witnessing, but at least after the crucifixion, there’s a distinct commitment to free will and minding our own business. I guess that part isn’t important.

I am not Christian. I was. That was a long time ago. I studied the Bible for 3 years (my fave of the responses I’ve received to that so far has been, “why would you need to study it for 3 years? Do you suck at reading?”), and I realized the god mentioned in that book is just not a deity I want to follow. If I’m wrong, at least I’ll be in Hell with all my people.

I don’t really want to talk about COVID except to say that I’ve come to the conclusion that Earth has had enough of our shit. Climate change and COVID are her way of course correcting and controlling the population. We are smart enough to stop them, but to do that, we have to change who we are as a society. I would love to say I can see that happening, but it doesn’t look likely. Everybody thinks they’re right and everybody else is wrong and nobody is interested in changing.

Learn to swim. See you down in Arizona Bay.

Or wear a mask, get vaccinated, recycle or reuse, and do what you can to leave every place you visit better than it was when you got there.

I prefer the latter. I know how to swim, but I’m not really a beach gal. I like the woods and the mountains.

Speaking of which, we’ve moved to the woods in the mountains. Literally. We got pizza one of our first nights here, and the fella who owns the place told us the closest liquor store was around the mountain.

cabin in the woods
I forget when I’m sitting inside that this is what my house looks like now.
I’m obsessed.

“Don’t let that deter ya,” he goes. “Round the mountain is literally a five minute drive. They should be open for another hour at least.”

But it was raining cats and dogs (no, not literally), and we were exhausted, and it was starting to get dark, and we’d never even visited the area we live in now, so we passed on taking a drive round the mountain until we were in a better mental and physical state and the outside was behaving better.

The move was stressful as fuck.

Neither of us is really in good shape physically. 2020 fucked us up like it fucked up everybody, and we stopped going for walks, hiking…pretty much all of the things we love to do. Not just because of COVID, though that was a factor. Also because we were both stewing in our own shit, and when we do that, we just kind of lock ourselves away and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist.

Then the car starting breaking. We’ve emptied M’s retirement account twice in the last two years to pay for car repairs. We eventually had to borrow money from my mother (which I absolutely hate doing) because we were trying to move and the whole front suspension went, and then the tires went, and we blew a radiator hose, and the brakes were completely shot, and now there’s a new problem in the front end, which is so frustrating because we just replaced damn near the entire front end. Obviously, we missed a part or two.


We didn’t move because we wanted to. We were considering buying that place, despite the fact that that was definitely not where I wanted our forever home to be.

We lived on a literal highway and our front door wasn’t that far from the road. It was super dangerous. Any time we left the house out the front door, I panicked the entire time we were gone because I once watched my neighbor’s dog get hit by a van in front of that house, and I would convince myself that somehow Bash (always Bash…probably because Priss never tries to get out of the house) found a way outside when we were leaving and got hit by a car while we were gone.

THAT’s fun.

I also hated the walnut trees, and wasn’t stoked about living next to a restaurant/motel. Especially in a red district in the times of COVID.

Don’t get me wrong. We loved the time we had there, and we’re still grateful for the opportunity. But what I really want is a secluded cabin in the woods. And right now, we’re as close as we can afford to having that. I can’t wait to light up the wood burning stove this fall. A real one this time. Not propane. We’ve already got a cord of wood in the wood shed.

We have a wood shed.

We moved from the longest coast-to-coast US highway to a one mile road. Our “neighborhood,” if you can call it that, consists of artists and homesteads.

Our new landlords are artists whose political beliefs align with our own.

We asked L if there was a pizza place in town, and he said, “there’s an ice cream shop that serves some food, but we don’t go there. They’re Trumpers.”

The relief I felt…y’all.

Maybe it’s stupid, but I was so scared we were going to end up paying rent to Trumpers. I know I spend money with them somewhere, because it’s almost impossible not to (and not everyone makes their political affiliation known to the world), but the idea of knowingly adding to the wealth of someone who supports that whole “movement” on a person-to-person level makes me sick to my stomach.

He was talking about the other candidates who looked at the house, and said, “one car pulled in with a Confederate Flag on the back, and I thought to myself, ‘come on, man. I’m not gonna rent to you with that on your car. I’d be stupid to do that.'”

They support BLM and the LGBTQ+ community. It’s really nice to be renting from people without having to worry that that money is going to support things I find morally repugnant.

Not that we had to worry about that with our last landlord. He’s pretty much on our level politically, too. But previous landlords for sure are Trump supporters now. For sure. And neither of us really wanted to end up with a landlord like that this time around.

We were rebuilding our credit and pulling ourselves out of debt slowly, and when our friend told us he needs to sell the house, we started to try to kick that into high gear, thinking maybe we could work something out, find some way to make the purchase work. But then, like I said, the car kept breaking, and it became abundantly clear that our only option was to find another place to live.

I spiraled about it for a while because if I had a job, we might be in a better financial position, but M really does not want me to work a normal job.

And it’ll cost a good amount of money for me to be able to work, anyway. At the last place, we were far enough away from everything that I needed a license so I could drive myself to and from work. M can’t really take time off twice a day, every day, to drive me back and forth. He doesn’t have time for that. That means I have to get my permit so I can legally practice driving since I haven’t done it in 20 years. M doesn’t want me driving a car that keeps breaking, so until it’s fixed to his satisfaction, getting my permit is pointless. But after my permit, there’s the five-hour course, and the driving test, and the license fees, and the increase in insurance which is likely to be substantial.

If I were in better shape, I could probably walk to work here. There are a couple shops in town and they’re hiring. But right now? I’d get to work and need an hour break and a change of clothes before I even started because it’s two and a half miles in the mountains. If it was flat, I’d probably be okay. Mostly.

So now, all the progress we’d made on our debt and our credit scores is reversed. I’m a little sad about that, but in the end, we can rebuild our credit again, and I love our new place.

the view from our front porch
I mean, come on.
(We were still organizing.)

It’s a two bedroom with a tiny kitchen, even tinier living room, and a giant finished (but not insulated) porch that is at least 4 times the size of the living room.

We hate the bathroom, and will be doing some renovating in 2022 if we’re still here. We should be. The landlords were specifically looking for people who were planning to live here for a while. C said, “we’re looking for longevity,” when we met for the first time. I said, “us too!” We’re so tired of moving.

In the meantime, I’m going to replace the drain plate in the tub, and recaulk everything. It definitely needs it.

Our bedroom is a loft with no door. I love it. I thought I would hate it. Mostly because the ceiling is sloped, and I was never a fan of sleeping under sloped ceilings. Probably because I always cut my knuckles on the popcorn ceiling in my high school bedroom. But this one is smooth, blue washed wood, and I adore it.

The office is the literal size of a king size bed. Our desks fit inside and that’s about it. But this view though…

Finding this house was so painful. We searched for months, in various publications and websites, before we found a landlord who would let us bring both cats and didn’t want to do a credit check.

It was the weirdest thing. Call it manifestation, or coincidence. Whatever works for your worldview.

We were getting desperate. We didn’t know how long we had before our friend was putting the house on the market. And the rental market was BARE. When I say bare, I mean there was nothing on Craigslist, multiple local papers had 0 listings in their classifieds, and the handful of listings in our price range on Zillow and and such wanted people with good credit, a ridiculously high salary, and no pets.

I was in a straight panic because I was having nightmares about losing the cats. And we were talking about how we almost bought the house we were living in, and I said I was really glad we didn’t because I didn’t want to live there forever. And sure, we could sell it and buy another house, or rent it out for extra income, or whatever, but we wouldn’t. We’d buy it and just stay forever, because once M’s comfortable, that’s how things go.

And I said, “I don’t want to live in a place like this. I want a cabin in the woods a little away from the road so I have time to grab Bash before he does something stupid. Somewhere smaller, that takes less cleaning, and has lots of space between us and the neighbors. And no motels.”

A few days later, a friend of ours said, “well, I just paid off the mortgage on my uncle’s house. You can move in there. It just needs cleaning and repairs. But he was a hoarder. Do not underestimate what that means.”

The day before we went to look at her uncle’s house, a new listing popped up on Zillow that was exactly what I’d said I wanted. To the letter. So I scheduled a viewing.

We didn’t underestimate what our friend meant, and were fully ready to take on the job of her uncle’s house, but when we got there, we realized she really had no idea how much repairs it would need. There were ceilings caving in, clearly from a leaky roof, and she had no idea if the roof had been repaired. The mattress her uncle died on was still there. The bathrooms were so hoarded there was no way to know if they worked. The fridge, stove, and dishwasher were literally from the 70s.

It has a brand new furnace and hot water heater. It was obviously once a beautiful building, and could be beautiful again once it was fixed. But we didn’t know how much time we had, and we couldn’t afford to pay rent at both places, and then do repairs on top of that, and we couldn’t get a clear indication of what she was going to cover and what we had to pay for.

We decided to go see the Zillow house and make a decision after that.

The landlord said he’d always used Craigslist or the newspaper to rent the cabin out, but the day before he put the house up, he got an email from Zillow offering him a free first time listing on their site, so he gave it a shot. And the rest, as they say, is history.

There’s been other weird shit since we moved here, and it’s just a feather in the cap of weird shit that has happened to me my whole life, but I like to pretend that y’all think I’m sane, despite how hard I’ve worked to impress upon you that I am not, so I’m not going to go into that. Right now. Maybe another day. But I’m pretty sure this is where we’re meant to be.

Our new place is really close to the Massachusetts border, which is almost completely on the other side of the state from where we used to live. We do all our shopping in Massachusetts because that’s where the closest full grocery store is. It has a liquor store inside. We get discounts on Jack Daniels and Captain Morgan and our favorite wines through our loyalty card.

BTW, I learned it’s illegal in Mass to have loyalty programs for recreational cannabis, but it’s not illegal to add liquor to your loyalty sales program. A little hypocritical, if you ask me, but what do I know?

The closest dispensary is about 15 minutes away, which has made microdosing to control anxiety possible and incredibly affordable. And we’ve pretty much decided that if we can’t find another house in the town we live in now if/when we have to move again, our next move will be into Massachusetts. Probably not far from where we live now. We’re really into this area.

It’s a funny thing when you’re stuck in the house for over a year with another human who is so buried in work that he doesn’t have the brain power to interact with you past a good fuck and sitting next to you with the TV on. You eventually run out of ways to distract yourself from your loneliness. Your brain starts to feed on itself. You start to dissect all the things you’ve done, and why. And if you’re really lucky, you start to accept yourself for who you are, and find ways to forgive yourself for the things you’ve done.

I’ve finally allowed myself to face the ways I’ve been affected by the abuse I’ve suffered. I’ve stopped protecting my abusers. And I’ve stopped allowing myself to blame everyone else for everything I’ve been through. I definitely played a role in my trauma. And I allowed my trauma to make me the cause of other people’s pain. And that’s not okay.

But the thing about facing your darkness is you can better see your light. I made some pretty big mistakes. I lost some really special things because of them. But I’m not that person anymore. I strive every day to be better than I was then. I still have some rough edges that might never smooth out, but I am beautiful, and I am kind, and I am deserving of happiness and love. The pieces are on the floor and in some cases, it’s been decades. There’s no putting them back together. It’s long past time I leave them there and solve the puzzle of my happiness.

So that’s where I’m at.

But enough about me. Tell me about you. How are you doing? Really.

I’m not okay.

October 29th, 2020 Comments off

So let me start out by saying the last four years have fuuuh-uuuhh-uuhhhcked me up. I have become OBSESSED with the goings on of our government, and I don’t mean it in the cutesy way the Instagram models mean it when they talk about whatever brand is paying them as much as M makes in a year for one post that says nice things about them.

It’s unhealthy. I’ve lost friends over it. It’s caused problems in our relationship. It’s not good.

But my obsession has resulted in a lot of navel gazing and some breakthroughs. Silver lining, I guess?

Thing is, I’ve always readily admitted I am an asshole. And for a really long time, I was like, “that’s just how I am. Fuck it.” Who cares, right? If people don’t like it, they can fuck off. Everyone eventually fucks off anyway. What difference does it make?

And, ya know, in the long run, maybe it doesn’t make a difference. I’m a speck on a speck among infinity specks. What chance do I actually have of influencing anything that matters? But on the small scale…

I’ve been having flashbacks. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t heal past trauma. And I was loath to call them flashbacks because…I don’t know. Other people had it worse than me. Some still do. Admitting they’re flashbacks means I’m more fucked up than I’ve admitted even to myself. The people who caused my trauma refuse to acknowledge their abuse. Including myself.

I don’t think I’ve ever really been a “good” person. I’m not a “bad” person, either, but I’ve definitely done “bad” things, made “bad” decisions. Sometimes because it was the best I could do at the time, but others because I just didn’t give a shit what the repercussions would be. I had reached my limit and the nuclear option seemed like the best one at the time.

A few years ago, we went to this concert at Northern Lights in Clifton Park. It’s called Upstate Concert Hall, now, and I guess it’s moving out of Clifton Park. It kinda makes sense. It was in an old strip mall next to a church, which was also in the strip mall. Waiting to get in was always interesting. The bar did mostly metal and hip hop at the time. So there would be people streaming into the church in their Sunday best, shielding their children’s eyes from all the scantily clad women with or without demons and other occult symbols emblazoned on their clothes and bodies tailgating in the parking lot.

So while we were at the concert, I was standing behind this older biker. He had on a club vest and talked about riding with Hell’s Angels. He knew my uncle, who used to travel to rallies and sell shirts, and flags (but not American ones…he gave those away), and all sorts of bike decorations and accessories. My favorite were the pig tube caps. Small world.

I bumped into the guy when the crowd surged and spilled a little of my beer on his boot. I immediately apologized, because I was raised by a good Christian woman who taught me good women always apologize, and he got annoyed. Told me not to apologize for some shit somebody else caused.

I bumped into him again, sans beer, and apologized again. Then I apologized for apologizing. I fail at being a tough biker chick, I guess.

I can’t really say that I’m sorry I chose the nuclear option, because I’m not sure I am. I guess I’m still holding on to some old grudges, and I feel like the people who fucked with the ram and got the horns deserved it. I’m not going to apologize for some shit somebody else caused. But some people didn’t deserve it. I did it because I was hurting and I was flailing and it made me feel better. And that is fucked up, Daisy.

God, I miss Brittany Murphy.

I’ve matured. I’m working on healthier ways to manage reaching my limit. I haven’t dropped a bomb and ran, leaving others to pick up the pieces, in ages. And for a while, that was enough. I’ve changed. I’m not that person anymore. I do my best not to hurt people, and I help when I can, and I listen more, and try to learn from what I’m hearing.

But I’ve kinda hit a wall. Because the people hurt by that version of me will never know that. And when you’ve been so struck by the damage you’ve caused that you start working to be a different person, and you were raised to believe that nothing is worth doing if you aren’t getting some sort of recognition for it, you want to preen in front of them. “Look how good I am, now! I would never do that thing now! You can like me now! We’ll be great friends, and things will be wonderful, and it’ll be like I never did that thing.”

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how good you become, or what good things you do, or how hard you try to fix what you broke. The pieces stay broken. People don’t forgive you. And you have to live with that.

I’m trying to live with that.

But the state of our country is scaring the shit out of me. And I’m running out of steam for the constant panic and dread and self-loathing.

I live in a really red area. I like to assume the best about people, but when you get outside of my town to the east, there’s nothing but Trump signs and flags, and I’d say about half say, “Make liberals cry again.” And ya know, maybe it’s just a stupid thing they say to hurt anyone who isn’t voting for Trump, but it somehow feels more ominous.

I feel like we’re sitting on a powder keg. November 3 is the match. And to be frank, I’m not sure the outcome actually matters. It’s going off either way.

Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe I’m letting my paranoia and the Twitter instigators run away with me. Maybe it’ll be the same as every other election. Faces and names change, but country mostly stays the same.

I mean, I’m hoping not. We need lasting change. Something so drastic that it sticks and we never end up here again.

I’m just really not okay, right now. I can’t really remember the last time I was okay. And I’d really like to be in a place where I can stop waiting for everything else to slow down so I can try to figure out how to be okay.

Maybe November 3rd.



(For the record, I’d never do that preening thing. I just want to sometimes. Which means I’ve got more work to do.)

Categories: Rayne Tags:

Black Lives Matter

June 1st, 2020 Comments off
Categories: Blogs Tags: No tags for this post.

So, uh…I finally took your advice.

April 29th, 2020 Comments off

I want to preface this with: This is not a review.

I bought the cups pictured here from Amazon, but that link goes to the manufacturer’s site in case you’re boycotting Amazon. It is not an affiliate link and I don’t make money (or clout) if you buy these cups. All other links within this post are for reference and do not make me money (or clout). I chose Lena Cups on a whim because they had more good reviews than bad ones and they came two to the package; one for regular flow, and one for heavy flow. Seemed like a great deal for a beginner set of cups. I don’t know anything about the company. Frankly, I got lucky.

Here’s what happened.

As I’m sure you all know, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. It’s fucking crazy.

I turned 40 (40!) in isolation (on April 6). I had to cancel my yearly visit with my mom because she’s in her 60s and immunocompromised and I will not be the reason she gets sick. She isn’t being as careful as I’d like her to be, but that’s typical Mom behavior. She’s always going to do what she wants to do. Nothing more, nothing less.

Truth be told, I’m not being as careful as I’d like to be, either, so I don’t really have much room to talk.

The first time we heard that other places were experiencing toilet paper shortages, I scoffed. We had gone to the store that day. The shelves were full. We live in a tiny town in a cluster of other tiny towns. There aren’t enough people here to clear our shelves. I figured we’d be fine. So we bought our usual package of 6 double rolls, and left the store confident.

It would be four weeks1 before we’d see toilet paper in any store within a 50 mile radius again. Four. Weeks. For those who haven’t worked retail, that’s at least eight delivery days.

So when I started hearing rumors2 of shortages on period products, I screwed my courage to the sticking point and ordered menstrual cups. I have enough to worry about right now without also having to worry about free bleeding. One way or another, I was going to make period cups work for me, even if I hated them.

I was really worried I was going to hate them. I don’t like spending money on things I’m not going to use. I’d tried those rings with the plastic bags (link for reference…I’ve never used this brand and do not affiliate with this company) on them. Those things suck (for me). They don’t fit in my vagina the way they’re supposed to. Inserting them hurts. Removing them is messy. I was so afraid that period cups would give me the same shitty experience, and I didn’t trust anyone who said that they wouldn’t because I felt like I wasn’t properly explaining the problems I had with the rings.

I fully expected them to take weeks to get here. Pretty much all major online stores have established a priority hierarchy for their products. Some have halted shipment of all non-essentials. But apparently, Amazon considers period products a priority because they were here in two days, so I got to try them out right away. Sometimes they get it right question mark?

Insertion the first couple times made me anxious. I’m a quick study, and generally get things figured out (on a cursory level) within a few minutes and a couple of tries, so when that didn’t happen, I got really worried that it wasn’t going to happen.

There is definitely a learning curve. Everyone’s right about that. But it’s not some mystical aspiration that you won’t ever attain, as a few people have suggested. One girl claims she had to go to the hospital to have hers removed because it went sideways and lodged itself in her vaginal walls. While I don’t doubt her story, I think it’s probably got a lot to do with her not taking the time to learn how to insert the cup and test it to be sure it’s inserted properly.

But what do I know? I don’t know her. Maybe she inserted it perfectly and it just wiggled around and got stuck.

I started with the Lena Small because the product page mentioned it being “for beginners” and women who have never had a vaginal birth. Thing is, it’s a tricky little bugger. It’s relatively soft silicone, and it’s about the size of a spool of thread, so if you don’t get a good grip on it, it unfolds as you’re inserting before it’s in place. Because I’ve got arthritis and pretty severe carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in both hands, it can be difficult for me to get a good grip, so any amount of friction can knock it loose.

And that’s how I learned I needed to add lube. Once I did that, I was able to get the cup positioned perfectly without it popping open before it was in the right spot. And while you’d think the lube would make the cup slip out of you, it stayed in place just fine.

If you’re not sure which lube to use, I’m a big fan of Sliquid (not an affiliate link) because their lubes are natural, and free of parabens and glycerin. I use their Organics Natural Aloe Based Lube (also not an affiliate link) for cup insertion, but I also really love Sliquid H2O (still not an affiliate link) if you just want something simple and water based. But you can use any water based lube (still not an affiliate link) you like. There are plenty to choose from.

I had seen somewhere that the fold makes all the difference, but the only fold I knew was the C fold. I did an internet search for menstrual cup folds, and found this site (disclaimer: I have no idea who owns that site. Didn’t even look into it. Just found the info helpful). And I read every section on that page. And I watched every fold video. And I tried every single one. I’ve settled on the triangle fold because it’s the only one that seems to allow me to get a good grip on the folded edge. But what with the arthritis and CTS, that could be a me thing.

Turns out, the fold does make all the difference, though. Once I’d figured out my preferred method, insertion became a breeze.

A thing to keep in mind when you’re picking out your cups is that size definitely matters. During a period, the cervix moves around some, resting lower than average in the vagina on some days, higher on others. This can result in longer cups not sitting properly in your vagina, which can lead to leakage and cramps. You want the cup to be positioned under your cervix so that the opening of the cup lines up with the opening of your cervix, but not touching it.

The Lena Large is one of the longest heavy flow period cups on the market, and it’s a little long for my vagina on days when my cervix is low. It still works a treat, though. I used it mostly for overnights because (nights are heaviest for me) I’d be sleeping so I figured I’d notice it less, and I was right. I didn’t notice it at all. But I think now that I’m comfortable with insertion and removal, I’ll be using it on heavy days, too, provided my cervix cooperates. I’d very much like to not ever have to empty my cup in a public restroom, please and thanks.

Some people experience discomfort if the stem hangs out of their vagina like a tampon string, so they cut them. The stems on the Lena Cups are flexible and have no sharp edges. The Lena Small doesn’t extend out of my vagina, and I can’t even feel it when it’s inside of me. The Large’s stem does extend out of my vagina, but I can’t feel that one either. I find it easier to remove the cup if I can grab onto the stem and wiggle it to my vaginal opening before grabbing ahold of the base and releasing the suction. So I’m keeping mine the length they came. YMMV, though. Do what’s most comfortable for you.

So my next concern was mental comfort. Am I going to be okay with sticking my fingers inside my bloody vagina to remove a cup full of blood, and seeing a puddle of blood come out of my body, and the smell, and whatever else comes with walking around with a cup that collects your blood and uterine lining inside of you? There’s a big difference between blood soaked cotton and an actual warm puddle of blood in a cup. But none of that was as jarring as I expected it to be. In fact, I was kinda fascinated. I’ve never seen my period blood in a puddle like that. It’s always half soaked up by something.

Physical discomfort isn’t an issue because I really can’t feel them when they’re in. Like, at all. Which is actually part of the draw for me because tampons are so uncomfortable. And this is just a theory, but I’m pretty sure I had less cramps because I didn’t have clots trapped against my cervix by a tampon. We shall see. My periods are monsters so maybe it was a fluke.

The first thing my sister asked me when I told her I was switching was how much of a mess it makes. Honestly, I haven’t experienced any more mess than I get when I use a tampon. My flow is irregular and unpredictable, so I change my tampon every single time I go to the bathroom (which I didn’t do when I was poor af and couldn’t afford period products, so if you don’t, no shame here). Because of the irregularity, I still end up bleeding through without knowing it when I’m wearing tampons, which results in messy retrieval and disposal. Most of the time, using the cups isn’t even that messy. Maybe a little blood on my fingers that I wipe off on toilet paper before dressing and washing my hands.

This does have a lot to do with how you remove the cup, though. I use the stem to wiggle it to the bottom of my vagina, squeeze the base to release the seal, then wiggle it side to side as I slowly pull it out. Some people prefer to slide their finger inside until they feel the rim and break the seal that way. But you have to be sure to break the seal. Because of the movement in what is basically a closed vacuum at this point, if you don’t break the seal, you’re going to have a difficult time getting it out.

I haven’t spilled the cup once, but I have dropped it after emptying it. I bumped my hand on the toilet seat and that baby went flying. Luckily, I was in my own bathroom. Hopefully, that won’t ever happen in public.

Honestly, I love them. Had decided I was a convert by the end of the first day, and I’d only been using them for about 8 hours. Unless my hands lose the ability to manipulate the fold, I don’t think I’ll ever use a tampon again.

So here’s some benefits, in no particular order:

  • You know what you’re putting in your body. As of right now, New York is the only state that requires companies to list all intentionally added ingredients in their period products on the package, and that only became law last year. It went into effect on April 9 but manufacturers have 18 months (Aug 2021) to comply. Most cup manufacturers disclose their products’ materials because they know that part of the reason so many people have switched is to protect their bodies from bleach and formaldehyde and other undisclosed chemicals cotton farms and tampon companies use as pesticides.
  • You don’t have to change it (in this case, empty it) every time you use the restroom. Menstrual cups are safe to use for up to 12 hours, so once you get to know your flow, you can go longer between cup empties without worrying about overflows and mess. And silicone doesn’t absorb liquid, so you don’t have to worry about urine being soaked up by your period product if you don’t take it out while you pee.
  • You won’t run out of period products when you don’t have the money to buy more. Even if you only have one cup, you still have all the cups you need because you can empty that one cup and reinsert. If you want to wash it in between dumping and reinserting, carry some butt wipes so you don’t have to waddle to the sink with your pants around your ankles in a public restroom, or time your outings so that you don’t have to empty it at all while you’re out.
  • You’re reducing your carbon footprint. The average person can create up to 62,415 pounds of garbage over the course of their life just from their period. That’s fifteen and a half whole cars of period products in a landfill for just one person. There are 169.22 million people with uteruses in the US. That’s potentially 2 billion 622 million 910 thousand cars worth of period products in our landfills. Most of which is plastic. Holy wow.
  • Cups don’t dry your vagina. Most of my period-having life, dryness hasn’t really been an issue. If anything, I’ve overproduced vaginal lubrication the vast majority of my life, even on my period. But over the last couple years, I’ve noticed a change. I mean, I am 40 (40!). I’m not having issues with dryness, but I am noticing that I don’t always produce as much wetness as I used to. It’s whatever, but I’ve also noticed that this has translated to tampons making my vagina feel like an old leather shoe someone dug out of an archeological dig, which makes insertion and removal painful and sometimes impossible without lube, which gets sucked up by the cotton and allows for less blood absorption.
  • I literally can’t feel the cup when it’s inserted properly. Obviously, on days when my cervix is lower, and my flow is heavy, I feel the Lena Large a little bit, but most of the time, it’s like I’m wearing nothing. Which is a major pro for me because tampons are hella uncomfortable and pads are…just no.
  • Better collection method for period magic. No, really. You can’t do much better than a cup that collects it all for you while you go about your life.
  • Less period smell. I won’t claim cups eliminate period smell altogether because that would be a lie. Every thing has a smell. But for some reason, the period smell is much less prevalent and offensive with cups. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know.
  • SAVE MONEYYYYY!!!!! Who doesn’t want to do that, right? I have a super heavy flow, so I’m spending, on average, $20 a month on period products, so $240 a year. Which doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you learn that 33 states have a “tampon tax,” while Viagra remains tax exempt, $240 a year seems like way too fucking much.

M keeps saying, “If they’re so awesome, why isn’t everyone using them?” And I honestly couldn’t tell you.

What I can tell you is this. At least one of you is sitting here reading this, thinking, “Okay, maybe that works for her, but it’s probably not going to work for me. My pussy’s too finicky.” You want to be wrong, because honestly, tampons suck, and pads are gross, and you’d really like to have a better option.

I know because that’s how I felt every time someone in my stratosphere announced that they’d made the switch and gushed about how awesome cups are for them. And now I feel really dumb for waiting so long. That’s, like, 10 years I could have been having more comfortable periods and not spending money on something I use once for 5 hours and throw away.

And now that I’m done with that infomercial…I swear to you this is not an ad, or sponsored post, or anything like that. No one is paying me to write this. I just truly expected to hate everything about these cups because I hate everything about those stupid rings with the plastic bag attached, and when it turned out I absolutely love them, I was shocked, and I wanted to share the best thing to happen to my period life with you just in case one of you is in the same boat.

Hope you’re faring well in the pandemic.

We had a brief scare. My stepmother had to be tested for COVID19, but the test came back negative. That’s a whole nother post that I might write some day.


1. Since then, we’ve only seen 2-3 packages on the shelf every other week.
2. So far, there has been no evidence of a period product shortage in our area, but if there is one in yours, I have two boxes of cardboard applicator tampons that need a home. One is a light, regular, super multipack and the other is super plus. The boxes are open, but I only used a few.


April 8th, 2020 Comments off

I feel like this goes without saying, but believe it or not, people change. Beliefs change. Morals change. Lifestyles change.

This blog spans 15 years of my life. M and I have been together 17 years, and we’ve been through a lot of shit in those years. Hell, who’s not going through a lot of shit right now?

I had a blonde phase.

Rayne with blonde hair

I’ve moved on to pink and purple.

Rayne with pink and purple hair

I realized I don’t actually hate pink. I just said I did because it was a “girl” color.

I realized a lot of shit about myself, actually.

What I’m saying is not everything in this blog rings true for me anymore. And while I’ve been saying for years I’m going to edit the old stuff, I honestly can’t bring myself to spend days on end wading through the bullshit that I used to spew and reminding myself just how much of an asshole I used to be.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m still an asshole. I’ll probably always be an asshole because there are still a lot of things society says I should do that I think are dumb. I’m not afraid to admit that. But some of the shit I used to say and do was wholly fucked up. And even if I had an excuse, I wouldn’t give it to you.

So this is just a warning. Take some of the shit I say in this blog with a grain of salt. Even I don’t stand by half of it anymore. Maybe some day, I’ll be in a headspace that allows me to revisit and explain why I was a dumb fucking bitch back then and what’s changed since. Today is not that day.

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