Reaching for the Moon

“I cannot wait to start my periods mummy!” Declared my nine year old last month on our way home from her first visit to the Red Tent.

Can you imagine feeling like this as a young girl standing on the brink of puberty? Actually being excited and in awe of the future periods that will be yours? It seems preposterous – but is entirely possible.

It is within our reach to completely change the perception of our daughters, nieces and god-daughters bodies and their monthly cycles by simply preparing them. By introducing a positive and exciting spin on the incredible gifts we are given as women: our bodies, our monthly cycle and our divine legacy to create and give life!

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My daughter, who is nine, took part in a Girls Celebration Day, hosted and run by Lou Press of the Woolley Valley Red Tent.

The morning began with the five girls, aged 9-11, creating a mandala of seeds and rice, whilst Lou told them gentle stories about coming of age. The girls then calculated how many periods they would have over the course of their lifetimes!

Following this simple calculation:

Estimated age I stop my periods: 55, minus, estimated age I will begin my periods: 13 = 42.

Minus:    Estimated number of children I hope to have: 3 (this is what my daughter said!) x1.5yrs (for each child no period for 9 months pregnancy & 9 months breastfeeding) = 4.5yrs.

42 – 4.5 = 32.5 x by 12 and a quarter (average number of periods a year) = 459 periods in my lifetime.

Extraordinary! Don’t you think – did you ever realise how many you would have, are having? And how few that actually seems!

The afternoon was spent with the mothers and daughters, the girls were sewing small felt lockets as the mothers revealed stories about their first periods. We giggled and were in awe of everyone’s different experiences. We shared pictures of us at their age, with our silly hairstyles, dreams and 80’s sweatshirts. As the girls stuffed their lockets each mum wrote a special message on a note for the girls to hide inside the felt lockets and then they sewed ribbons to create a necklace. We each chose a few words to describe each other, from mother to daughter and from daughter to mother, we listened to each other and, finally, we presented our daughters with their hand-sewn locket.

The girls left joyously excited about their unfolding young womanhood.

The mothers left changed women. Having opened our hearts to our daughters and to ourselves and having begun to glimpse the changes ahead, of our daughters as they begin to walk their own paths and become wise, understanding females.

Our Future:

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If you are not fortunate enough to have a local Red Tent but you would like to give this gift of confidence, understanding and openness on the journey of beginning menstrual cycles then I heartily recommend Lucy H Pearce’s beautiful, gentle and informative book for girls: Reaching For The Moon.

Project Bush

A dead bird
A dead bird

“Why should we wave our fannies around to show feminine strength? I’d rather take up knitting…”

This has been, without doubt, the general response to Project Bush. A project launched by ‘edgy’ creative Shoreditch Ad Agency Mother, asking women to come and have their ‘lady gardens’ photographed.

The agency claims the project is: ‘a call to action for women to stand up to the pressures of modern society and present their bushes in all their glory’.

Women have in droves claimed that there is no need to publicise your bush just so that younger women may not feel the pressure to conform, to wax their bodies so that they resemble a pre-pubescent 10yr old girl.

What I say is – why not? As a mother, god-mother and auntie I despair at a society seemingly rapidly spiralling out of our control.

We have the right to chose – it is clear – whether we wax or not. We also have the right to be angry about what appears to be a mainstream culture where girls try harder to look like dolls.

Project Bush may indeed be crass, obvious and showy – but it also represents how women today feel.

It gets voices, opinions and thoughts heard and both sides of the story told. And, yes, images of many fluffed muffs may not stop a 16 or 21 or 42yr old ripping out her pubes – but it gets us thinking and talking about it.

Considering we are fighting against a behemoth porn industry which is all pervading online – we have to try something.

And me?

I am on my way to Shoreditch as I write this my friends – my bush is bouffed…

I feel proud to be part of something however many guffaws and sniggers I receive it will be worth it to put proof to my Pom Pom Bush Power.

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I’m ready…

The shower cleansed her naked body of its long working day; its glass walls erotic to the touch, slicked with dripping aqua pura, the steam growing steadily, rising and pooling above her head. The droplets of water stinging in their anticipation – pouring, raining down on her – unable to satisfy themselves.
She scrubbed, she rubbed, she groomed and lubed, she soaped and bathed and at last, felt ready.
The bathroom was littered with its personal and private implements: the toothpaste squeezed up to its neck, lay pathetically, waiting for its next crushing embrace. Bottle tops; strewn carelessly across the dressing table, noted their ineffectiveness, as former partners distanced themselves; standing open, gaping necks, ready to pour, decant and surge – just as she bidded.
Unblemished, flawless, oiled: expectant – she held the doorknob, slightly moist in her hand – her breathing short – turned and pushed it open.
The chest held one open draw – a black stocking lingering on its lip. Soft echoing evening light stroked the old curved walls. The cupboard door, open just a crack, revealed the hem of a long, red, silken dress.
Softly she peeled back the cool, crisp, white John Lewis sheets that swathed the large, square bed – poised majestically, nonchalantly…invitingly, in the middle of the room.
The touch of clean, warm skin against laundered cotton was shivery.
She lay there; groomed, expectant, virginal and, near as damn it, perfect – so she thought.
“ Steve, ohhh Steve” She trilled.
NOTHING.
She edged deeper into the curves of the mattress – her toes delicately inching into the dark corners.
“Steve – Dahhhhhling…”
NOTHING.
“Steve, STE…” She hopped out of bed, ran into the bathroom; clutching her boobs as she scampered – her white bottom wobbled behind her. She found her mobile behind the massage oil.

“Freeeeezing …STEVE”- she yelled at the closed bedroom door.


NOTHING.


“Bloody Hell”. She snapped to herself tripping over a pair of dirty reeboks.

Jumping quickly back into the comforting confines of the white sheets, she pulled the topmost one up to her chin.
She jabbed the buttons:
“07473 – 261823”. As the ring tone began in her ear – her gaze rested on a pair of soiled Y-fronts hanging out of the laundry basket, a half-popped packet of nurofen nestled by the skirting against the wall.
“STe, STEVE – where the bloody hell?…I’m waiting…Where? Where do you bloody think?…I don’t care about the Chelsea – Barca game – just get your arse upstairs NOW.”
She jabbed the off button.
Then lay back on the bed – tense, angry.