Educationalist superhero.

Death, Education, Employment, Feminism, I'd like to sit down please, Noise

Mid-afternoon.  The house seems eerily quiet. Only the tinny sound of music from iPhone speakers, the ever-comforting murmur of a light comedy repeat on Radio 4 leaking from the kitchen, a psyche-rock record playing in the dining room and a long-unwatched BBC4 documentary still unwatched, but playing, in the living room, break the oppressive silence. Outside a wind registering somewhere between light-breeze and force-10 gale unremittingly rages. Wandering from room to room, catching snippets of voices – some unfamiliar, some like old friends – from the various devices littered throughout the building that is, has been, and will always be home. Until the final days – be they apocalyptic or a soft drift into sleepy and then unknowing blackness.

How the mind wanders when one is awaiting a phone-call alerting them to the possibility of paid, yes PAID, supply-teaching work.

Like an educationalist superhero, I shall don a professional yet comfortable, authoritative looking – but stylish, always stylish – smock dress, perhaps a cardigan for it is chilly and also I have bought a new one, in, let’s say, mustard, pack my emergency-biros and a neccessary flask of tea (alas, will I ever find one that does not leak), and then I shall be off! Not flying but in my cardboard box car, ready to do my utmost to ensure that the educational chances of the poor mites of Shrewsbury (and surrounding areas) are not too adversely affected by the absence of their regular teacher. Heroic. Yet humble.

Hey man, it’s just who I am!

female-superheros

Oh no she didn’t…

Feminism, It's not fair, Life is hard, MS, Multiple Sclerosis, Periods, Women

Brace yourselves because, oh yes she did, or rather, oh yes she’s about to. 

This post is all about PERIODS.  

 *polite/awkward applause

Read on, my friends. 

Because PERIODS, men, are mother-cussing awful. Like totally bad. Standup comedian Tiff Stevenson was quoted in a recent Guardian piece as follows: 

Why are we being told we can’t talk about this thing that happens to us every month?

Er, yeah? At the moment there’s a (red) tide of conversation building up. Google ‘If men had periods’ and take a look at the hilarious spoof ads – and then have a think. Because for as long as forever women’s monthly shitperience hasn’t been seen as valid. 

Let’s test out an example:

Okay, I’m a teacher. I’ve got my annual performance management lesson observation. My PERIOD started this morning. My breasts ache so much that just having my arm incidentally brush my chest as I, I don’t know, point to something in a kid’s book, makes me actually wince. And I went to bed last night with a killer headache and woke up this morning with the same killer headache. I’m bleeding so much that I know, realistically, I’m needing to rush to the toilet to change my tampon between lessons or my pants’ll be stickily stained for the rest of the day. But at least, because I knew it’d started, I’m wearing my special, reserved for PERIOD days, old, saggy, don’t mind so much if they get bled on pants, which I’m betting all women have. Except for Kim Kardashian, obviously. Also I feel gross. As well as my special PERIOD pants, I’m also wearing one of my special PERIOD tops – you know, the ones that help to cover up your bloated PERIOD stomach? Exhausted too, extremely. But, I soldier on. Don’t mention it. Like all women, every month. 

What’s that? Oh, you’re reminding me that this is allegedly, or at least trades under the name of, an MS blog. You’re right. Well, luckily, there’s a link to be made! Phew

PERIODS make some women’s, including mine, MS symptoms worse. MS. The illness that just keeps on giving. So, for me, my walking gets a bit more unbalanced, more stumblily. My face feels a bit more spasmy – I have tablets (Gabapentin) so you, the innocent onlooker, can not tell – but it keeps me awake as night. It’s hard to sleep whilst your face is twitching all about the place. And I feel a bit more shitty. 

There’s more. One time, dearest reader, my PERIOD (if you still haven’t cottoned on, I’m eschewing euphemism), was about four weeks overdue. D and I had, reasonably, begun to think this might be it. And I was teaching my year 10 class when I felt it coming on. As soon as class was over I rushed to the toilet and, indeed, there was blood. So I found D (this was when we worked together), took us off to a quiet corner, had a mini-cry. That’s something else the can happen. In any given situation.  

Here’s some facts:

  • only 12% of girls, worldwide, have access to safe, good-quality sanitary products;
  • poor access to menstrual health is a huge part of discrimination against girls and women;
  • in Africa, one in 10 girls misses school when she has her period because of the lack of information and adequate facilities.

The knock-on effect of this stigma is huge. It’s not some small, private issue.*

*Much of this was taken from a piece in The Guardian: Bring on the menstruation revolution: ‘Donald Trump is going to bloody love it’

And. Shockingly. Sanitation products are taxed as luxury items! Really. Do a fact check. So my idea is, each month, along with a stamped addressed envelope for their return, we post all of our bloodied knickers to the treasury with a note explaining that, regretfully, as tampons are such a luxury, in this time of austerity we felt that we couldn’t afford to spend our hard earned money on such fripperies, so would appreciate our underwear being properly washed or replaced, thank you. And then, we’ll see.