Surfing the Crimson wave: The Periods from Hell

I remember years ago, I watched Clueless (the film) and they talked about “surfing the crimson wave”. It sounded really cool and it took me a good few more years to work out what they actually meant. Then I wished it was as cool as they’d made it sound. For me it was not. It still is not.

I have really heavy periods with all the hormonal crap that goes alongside it and it sucks!!!

It really SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don’t sleep properly for a week or so before I’m on, I get blinding migraines- mostly I can do life but every now and then it gets me badly and I need time out. I get grumpy and properly miserable, miserable down in the dumps and so over-sensitive, it’s actually ridiculous.

And then it starts and it feels like the world is about to end.

I get pain. Such horrible, indescribably pain that makes me want to curl up in a ball. That was me this morning and it was properly pants. I feel like a sore, swollen, bloaty tap and I need to change all the time. It was good this month cos this bit of my life was on a weekend but when it’s on a school day, it is just not fun. I need the loo to change and sort myself out, whether I’m in tampons, sanitary towels or whatever I’m wearing to catch my flow…

When I am surfing the crimson wave it is not fun.

I am not the only one that has heavy, painful periods and who is a teacher or in school. There are some 900 kids in the school where I work and probably about half of them have (or will have) periods, which may make their lives really tricky. And here is where the real trickiness happens: we can’t just get up and go to change our sanitary wear. I can’t as an adult but it’s not the worst at all, because we have really bloody good management who organise rotas and duties so that we can all get to the loo during the day but there are schools where this is not the case.

There are schools where kids and adults alike aren’t able to go to the loo and change during their periods which is just horrid. If I think how icky and meh I have felt today, and I’ve spent a whole wodge of time near to a loo and wearing black, then reflect on days where I’ve not been able to get to the loo so frequently, it is not nice. So then, switch to a setting where you’re not allowed to go the loo, you’re shamed if you do and then you leak. You’re a teenage girl who has leaked?! It is hard and it is brutal.

My school is a great model for this and other settings are I’m sure, but we need to support teachers who struggle with their periods, we need to support kids who find it hard and we need to be better.

Periods are natural and they really aren’t going anywhere, any time soon (if only!) so we need to talk about them and help people to be comfortable while they’re surfing their crimson wave, so that they can be their best selves.

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