Love Letter #85 | Lessons From a Pixie Cup

Dear World,

First of all: If blood, periods, period products and every day talk of what women and girls go through creeps you out, please! Read till the end. We do not care about your disgust towards the topic. Come on! A naturally occurring experience and you turn your nose? Nah, B. Come hither and look this way. 🙂

I’d like to preface this by saying that I am not a paid ambassador for the brand, yet. It would be nice if that dream materializes, though!

Say it with me, “We are manifesting a brand deal with the Pixie Cup brand for the Suburban Girl JA.”.

Okay, time to get this story and lessons flowing.

I did it! Yours truly has finally made the switch from tampons and sanitary napkins/pads into a Pixie Cup. A special thanks to a sistren for facilitating the switch over.

I’m not sure why it has taken me so long but, for the last 5 years, I’ve been back and forth in making the transition. I suppose it could’ve been the fear of the unknown and moving from a comfortable space into something totally new.

Either way, the cup is magical! It’s easy to use, easy on the pocket, and beneficial for the environment. It’s a damn good investment!

For a bit of context, ask yourself how much money you spend per month on period products. Now, compare all that monthly expense with a one-time purchase that can last you up to 10 years! A purchase that is perhaps more efficient than any scented cotton coated product that has the potential to give you toxic shock syndrome, or cause allergic reactions; a purchase that won’t soak up your funds like a period leak onto your underwear.

Speaking of which, period leaks suck! Have you ever had to wash period blood out of your underwear, clothes and sheets?! It’s not fun.

Here are some fun facts about Pixie Cup that I literally took straight from the package :

The Pixie Cup is life changing. Period.

Pixie Cup

It is a comfortable, flexible menstrual cup; a healthy alternative to tampons or pads.

The cup provides its users with up to 12 hours of leak-free period protection! You can run, bike, swim, and live because the cup is made from medical-grade silicone to keep your life healthy and stain free.

Pixie Cup

The best part of all this is that the Pixie Cup brand is playing its part in ending period poverty! The purchase of my cup meant that another person who has periods will get a cup of their own.

Imagine that; buying a tool that benefits me will help some other person to ultimately lead a better and more comfortable life. That’s amazing!

Here’s some knowledge for you…As stated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Period poverty describes the struggle many low-income women and girls face while trying to afford menstrual products. The term also refers to the increased economic vulnerability women and girls face due to the financial burden posed in getting menstrual supplies. These include not only sanitary napkins and tampons but also related costs such as pain medication and underwear.

UNFPA

Period poverty is very real, and believe it or not, there are people in your life who may very well face issues with accessing period products because they are too damn costly. Even if they can manage to buy the products, the after effects bite them in the long run because the habit of monthly purchases takes a toll.

On a personal note, I’ve never been at a point where I was unable to purchase or gain access to period products, but there have been times when I was caught off guard and unprepared. In those situations, I had to use tissue as a makeshift pad. Let me just say – that’s one of the most uncomfortable situations to be in. Additionally, the pain some of us endure is unreal. It can be soul snatching. You’d literally have to experience it to truly understand.

Think about it, condoms and some other forms of contraceptives are more accessible than period products are. Sex doesn’t have to happen but periods happen in cycles for the duration of people’s lives. However, somehow, we place more value in making prophylactics easier to get. Make it make sense.

Pro tip: Whether you experience periods or not, make a purchase of period essentials (this doesn’t only include tampons and pads) and gift someone who may be in period poverty. If you prefer, you may contact a friend who has periods and ask them to make your contribution to women and girls who struggle to access enough period products throughout any given cycle!



That aside, I’ve already used my new menstrual cup and as usual, I have some lessons to share from the experience. Here goes…

Lesson One

Sterilize the spaces that you can control

So, the first step in the “How to use” pamphlet of my package says that I should clean the cup before the initial use. The instructions actually say that the cup should be sterilized. It may be boiled or steamed. This is done for sanitary reasons. You don’t want to use a contaminated product and run the risk of unintentionally hurting yourself.

If you know me, you know that I’m not one to read instructions well but time and tides change.

I boiled my menstrual cup before first use. I actually practice sterilizing often. You know, clean girl mus use clean tings.

Anyway, I liken the habit of sterilizing my menstrual cup to the habit of cleansing the list of people I associate with. Some “friends” and even acquaintances will sit in their assigned actual friend position and litter your sacred spaces with contaminants that will hurt you in the long run.

My suggestion to you is to periodically sterilize that friend list of yours. You should also sterilize the space they once occupied because contaminants leave spot traces which have the capacity to harm you.

Lesson Two

Extract and dump the potentially hazardous content

When I need to dispose of the blood caught by my cup I do it either in the toilet or in the shower each morning and evening.

Yes, it’s a catch and dump game with the cup.

Funny thing is, as natural as periods are, the bodily fluid is potentially a bio-hazard. So, holding on to it once it leaves the body puts you and other people at risk.

In a 2018 ABC Science article written by Dr. Chloe Warren, she says that “…menses itself is a potential biohazard.”

Your period “contains blood,” and as such “it can harbour blood-borne infectious pathogens like HIV and Hepatitis B and C,” she says.

Additionally, “menses also contains bacteria — and although this bacteria is typically part of a healthy vaginal and cervical microbiome, once the menses leaves the body, it acts as a breeding ground for potentially dangerous microbes,”. This, according to applied chemist Amy Heffernan.

So, the lesson, right. We all have toxic people in our lives. We know them and we sometimes acknowledge their toxicity. However, when we do nothing about it, these people have free will to wreak havoc. Why not identify them and remove them? Get rid of the toxicity in your life!

Let’s not forget about your own toxic traits. We can’t just extract our whole selves and dump, right? We have control of ourselves, so it is suggested that some self audits be done where we purposely take action to do away with our toxicity before it disrupts our relationships with others and also the relationship we have with ourselves.

Lesson Three

Expect unexpected mishaps and always have a contingency plan

The very first time I used the cup, my period was in full swing. I had a bit of a struggle with proper insertion. As you can imagine, (or maybe you can’t) I found myself folding the cup, squatting and attempting to insert the silicone cup. It was a bloody mess!

Eventually, I got the hang of it. At least that’s what I thought. Luckily I was at home because there was some leakage and let’s just say some grumblings happened because this supposedly leak-proof period product had me in the house staining my underwear and sheets. Frustration was the order of the day!

As it was my first go, I still had some pads in storage. You know what I did? I doubled up. Though the cup was inside, I placed a pad (with wings) in the seat of my underwear for full protection. That process defeated the purpose of the cup for me but I was able to save underwear and also save myself the burden of washing blood out.

I say all that to say we should expect the unexpected because you never know what can happen. The point is simply this, have a back up plan because you just never know what can happen, especially for using a new period product for the first time.

Lesson Four

Be flexibleconditions applied*

Flexibility should be the second name for the menstrual cup. After all, it is a silicone based product.

The cup is easy to fold and warp for insertion. I mean, this lesson should be clear cut.

Be flexible in your life and be able to adjust accordingly. Please note, however that the menstrual cup isn’t indestructible. If you somehow use brute force to fold the cup by doing it with a pointed or sharp object (like, you really shouldn’t have to do that…but for the purpose of this lesson, hear me out) you run the risk of damaging the cup.

It’s similar to you and how much you fold and adjust in your life. Being flexible is a great characteristic. However, do not allow yourself to twist and turn at every inconvenience. Sometimes, you should stand your ground and fortunately/unfortunately allow other people to suffer.

In addition to being able to adjust, we should learn to be a little uncomfortable in life. When I first inserted my Pixie Cup, I followed the instructions but I still had no idea what I was doing.

I recall the first time I tried to remove the cup, the suction was so strong that I almost had a panic attack. Was this damn thing gonna be stuck and stay stuck?! How am I gonna take it out to dump all the potentially bio-hazardous material. I was stressed out and uncomfortable. I eventually got it out and all was well. There was really no need to panic.

I bet you didn’t know that life lessons could be garnered from a bloody experience. haha! So, talk to me. What other lessons do you think I missed? Would you use a menstrual cup? Or, maybe you already use menstrual cups – what’s the experience like for you?

Signed with love,

The Suburban Girl JA

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