Two years ago, this photo went very, very, very viral on the internet.
I had been taking photos with my blood on my face every month for almost a year.
The first one was just for fun, to encourage people to connect more with their menstrual blood.
And then when people were soo bothered by it (I don’t know why I was shocked by this, but I was) – I decided to keep doing it.
And then in February 2019, a woman reached out and asked if she could write about me. I had never heard of her or her company before. I said sure.
I woke up the next day to articles about me by Buzzfeed. Huffington Post. The Sun. And many more.
Even Alex Jones’ Infowars shared about it (which felt like a major win, IMO)
Hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of shares, comments, likes – millions, if you combine everywhere, really.
My Instagram was blowing up. Dozens of comments per minute.
And, not for the first time, but definitely in the most massive way I ever had, I learned about the vitriol of the internet.
Me touching my own body with my own menstrual blood made people need to tell me:
- I should die
- I was disgusting and gross
- I was simultaneously “ruining feminism” and a “crazed feminist”
- I was ruining the world for their children
- I was mentally unstable and needed help
Maybe not surprisingly, these comments largely came from women. While men were mostly like, weird, ok… women HATED me for this.
I also learned how many people felt that menstrual blood was as gross as poop.
They said, “Why don’t you just rub shit on your face? Same thing.”
The substance in my body that quite literally helps to nurture and birth A BABY, they equate to shit.
While menstrual cups are more & more a thing, so. many. people.
Still think touching their blood is the most disgusting and horrifying thing ever.
I also received quite a lot of messages from teenage girls telling me that because of my posts they felt more comfortable with their bodies.
I received dms of women with their blood on their faces, telling me they felt a secret power that they’d never felt before.
I received messages thanking me, telling me that when they first saw my posts they were disgusted, but then they had to question why they were disgusted and realize it was their own conditioning.
And it was quite the initiation for me – since for all of my teenage life my deepest wound was that I felt my body was gross (I had tons and tons of acne, and hated myself for it).
And I got to have the world tell me that I was vile and disgusting and gross.
I had people follow me solely to report me and make fun of me (oh and they let me know that, too).
Instagram froze my account for a few weeks bc of how many people reported my photos as self-harm – then later removed my account entirely.
I will tell you what though – it completely eliminated any fear I had of being shamed publicly.
Because by that point in my life I realized, totally surprising myself…
That I could hold it.
I could hold allll that nonstop energy coming at me.
Many of the people that are following me now – on my email list and my IG – are the most dedicated ever, because they had to realize I was gone, find my accounts again, and decide to re follow.
I was blocked from my much bigger fb last fall and it did not hurt my business at all.
I have a small following now and I adore it. They are the people who truly feel the energy.
They are the ones who know it is for them.
I don’t post new photos like this much anymore, because some months ago it just stopped feeling as true – like I was forcing it because it had been my thing instead of just letting my energy naturally shift to something else.
You can still find them all though. Along with their original posts, by clicking here.
The woman in this photo is almost 3 years younger than me now.
And while I might not do things in quite the same way today, I greatly admire her intensity. Her bravery. Her audacity.
Her willingness to challenge everything around her.
And I’ll leave you with this:
Your blood is not disgusting.
It is clean and pure and nutritious and nourishing and, quite possibly, the most powerful substance on the planet.
If you liked this piece, you might also enjoy:
– You have never been too much
– Once, he wrapped his hands around my neck
– Everybody has been lying to you
– You desire the things that secretly disgust you