real talk: menses, yo // sponsored by U by Kotex

So, who wants to talk about tampons?  Right, no one.  I didn't think I did either, but we all have funny stories.  About periods, tampons, and mishaps.  I think it's kind of weird that it's such a non-discussed subject, especially since we all deal with it.  Well, those of us with XX chromosomes, at least.  When I was contacted by U by Kotex to do a post about feminine products, at first I was like, "LOL, yeah no thanks, I'll pass."  But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to write about that lady stuff.  I mean, we get periods, we use feminine products, and sometimes funny things happen.  But it's life, and it's real, and we deal with it on a regular basis.  So, I thought I'd start this post off by getting the vagina vibes flowing (hahah get it?) with some funny and embarrassing stories about me and Aunt Flo.

 My mom was out of town when I got my period.  I was 13.  It was weird.  I was playing Pokemon on my brother's gameboy, took a break to go to the bathroom, and BAM.  OH HAI WOMANHOOD.

 Can we talk for a sec about how annoying cardboard tampon applicators are?  So uncomfortable.  When I discovered those smooth plastic ones I almost died of happiness.  Shoving a tiny cardboard toilet paper roll up in my business?  No thank you.  No cardboard shall ever enter my nether regions ever again, I vowed.

 I rode horses from age 10-20, and having my period was the bane of my existence when I rode.  Avoiding leaking and such while straddling a horse, posting, cantering, sitting the trot... wearing, thin, beige riding pants?  So above my pay grade as a teen.  Tampons kind of freaked me out when I was younger, so I tried my best to get away with wearing pads, but after every riding lesson I'd run to the bathroom to check if I was still wearing non-blood-stained pants.  I cursed the fact that rust colored riding pants were no longer in style.  How perfect would they be for hiding an unsightly "feminine" leak?  Ugh, damn you equestrian clothing trends!

 When I was younger, before I got my period, I stole a tampon from my mom's stash to try it out.  I was super anxious about my mom finding out, so I tried to be really sneaky.  I was horrified when she walked in my room later and somehow I'd just thrown the wrapper on the ground and she picked up.  I was so sneaky about everything else, how did I possibly overlook throwing away the wrapper discreetly? DOH.

  My current favorite use for tampons is wearing them during yoga/pilates classes to keep from queefing.  Yes.  That's right.  Real talk, ladies.  I'm not the only one right?  Please tell me my vagina isn't just the most rude vagina on the planet.  After going though an hour long yoga class, loudly disrupting it multiple times with my vagina's unkind noises, I vowed NEVER AGAIN.  I never go to a yoga class without a tampon now, regardless of the time of month.  You guys now know more about me than I ever anticipated.  Kthxbye. *

  I almost never get bad cramps or sick before my period but 3 or 4 times I've gotten violently ill (okay I think once was aided by being ridiculously hungover on top of it).  The first time it happened I was in school and started getting suuuper bad cramping/nausea, so I went to the bathroom between classes.  I ended up missing my next class while I sat on the toilet, doubled over, and ended up vomiting up my breakfast... which happened to be fluorescent sour gummy worms (health nut, yo!) while the Junior High girls were getting ready for P.E. class in the same locker room/bathroom.  AWESOME.  Also awesome?  I was given a detention for skipping class (they had a "no truancy rule), because I hadn't informed my teacher I was in the bathroom... because I was already there when class started... vomiting.  Hey school!  I would've, if I could've walked down the hall to my class to tell my teacher... without vomiting on her!  Despite sharing all of this with the school administration, I still had to serve my detention.  Because if you let one girl skip class for being stuck in the bathroom throwing up because of her period, everyone is going to start skipping class and blaming their PMS vomit.  Obviously.

Anyway, I'm sure you guys have equally, if not more, hilarious stories of period craziness.  I remember looking through the embarrassing story section of magazines like Seventeen, and there was always at least one horrifying period story.  The more I think about it, the more it upsets me that periods and period mishaps can be so embarrassing and horrifying.  At the beginning of this post I was going to say something like, "sorry if there are any male readers out there, we're going to talk about periods now," but apologizing seemed stupid.  I'm tired of periods and feminine products being taboo or gross.  It's normal, and really, it's beautiful.  I get that it's weird for guys, and even girls, because bleeding out of your who-hah for a week is honestly a rather strange experience, especially at first.  But it's normal.  Almost every woman who has ever existed has experienced menstruation.  So no, I'm not sorry, any of you male readers out there.  Women menstruate.  Get over it.  It's a reminder that women's bodies are capable of creating new life.  How awesome is that?  Super awesome.  I know that not all guys feel weird about periods, but I do know some who are so grossed out by it that it makes them gag, and from my experience, it at least makes most men uncomfortable.  It's upsetting that something so normal for women has become a source of shame and embarrassment.  If there's one thing we need less of it's shame focused on the vicinity of the vagina.

I've used the same tampon brand since high school, mostly out of habit, and creature of habit I am.  I'd never used any Kotex products before, to my knowledge, so I was interested in seeing how they stood up.  Honestly most feminine products I've tried seem relatively the same to me, and I was relatively pleased with U by Kotex tampons.  It's not like I have a wide-set vagina and a heavy flow, or anything, so I don't need a high performance tampon personally.  This has nothing to do with the function of the product itself, but I'm a fan of the fact that the wrapper is black.  Way more nondescript and discreet than the bright white and neon wrappers of other brands.  What really stood out to me about U by Kotex was their website.  I love how the website is geared towards teens and is focused on helping them figure out the whole menstruation/becoming a woman thing.  When I was 13 the internet was still relatively new (what up, Netscape Navigator), and I don't remember thinking to myself, "oh I bet I can find that out online!"  Knowledge about my changing body and what it all meant seemed limited to science books which were always more about the biology of menstruation than how to deal with it as a newly minted woman.  I remember being so confused by the menstrual cycle diagram with the cross section of a uterus building up the lining, dropping an egg, and then menstruating.  There's a lot of shame associated with menstruation, a lot of messages being sent young (and old!) girls that it's gross and disgusting and something to feel ashamed about.  I deeply appreciate the lengths U by Kotex goes to to empower girls and give them knowledge, useful knowledge, about their periods, biology, how to use feminine products (something that's become second nature to me as a 26 year old woman, but a terrifying, foreign idea at 13), and female health.  I would've loved to have that kind of resource as a 13 year old!  A lot of girls don't have a mom they can ask, and even if you do have a mom you can ask, it can be weird.  Having access to great information on a safe website is awesome.

If you want to give U by Kotex a try they're giving out free samples, which you can get by clicking here.  Want to find out more about U by Kotex?  Check out their website, facebook, and twitter!

I wrote this review while participating in a content series through Clever Girls Collective on behalf of U by Kotex, and received products to facilitate my post and compensation for my time to participate. All opinions and thoughts are my own. Thanks for supporting those companies which keep Delightfully Tacky alive and kicking.

*U by Kotex wants you to know that they don't advise you use tampons for uses other than for, you know, periods and stuff.