periods. am i right?

in the last decade of bleeding, my menstrual cycle has been a point of contention for me. when i was in university, i saw it as a nuisance to my social life, even though i sometimes celebrated it’s arrival with a sign of non-pregnant relief. when i decided to go off the pill to see how my body functioned, it was no where to be found and led me to discover other medical problems. while i’m happy to have regulated my cycles again – yes, i went back on birth control – the act of shedding my uterine lining has never been a joyful week for me.

i’ve almost always used tampons. i got my first period when i was on family vacation in Georgia, and was given my first pad, like most adolescent girls. i remember them feeling bulky and uncomfortable, and was convinced you could always see them. i was also in the dance studio three times a week, and a pad did not lend well to tights and a bodysuit. i was asking for a leak. i asked my mom to make the switch to tampons and the rest is history.

that is until this cycle.

i started reading about menstrual cups a year ago. i was ramping up my hiking and i wanted to know if there was a better and easier way to menstruate in the wilderness. on a six-plus hour hike, where was i supposed to change my tampon? and where was i supposed to put it? i did not want to carry a used tampon around in my backpack, but that was the only option available to me as the majority of trails do not have restrooms at the top.

i did nothing about it until this month, due to the fact i was down to three tampons at home. i walked to shoppers to restock and there beside my usual brand of tampons was the diva cup. “why not?” i thought to myself and decided to bite the bullet and give it a shot.

so here we are at the beginning of my new experiment.

study: to find out what happens when you decide to switch from tampons to a diva cup.

hypothesis: i will be driven to madness.

sounds fun, doesn’t it? let’s find out!

the basics:
the diva cup looks like a funnel made out of silicone. it can hold up to an ounce of liquid and needs to be changed every 10-12 hours. each box comes with detailed instructions for insertion, removal and proper cleaning, as well as a cotton storage pouch (in a pretty pink and purple design *eye roll* when will periods and women’s things ever not be pink and purple? i’m surprised the cup itself isn’t pink or purple). there are two sizes of cups. diva 1 is for women under 30 who have not given birth to a child. diva 2 is for any lady over 30 or any woman who has given birth to a child. (sorry ladies, after 30 or childbirth, your vagina is now a bowling alley and you need the large size.)

diva cup

now let’s get down to business.

day 1

i took it out of the box, read all the instructions, cleaned it with “divawash” and made my first, second and third attempt at insertion.

first diva cup thoughts: it’s like reaching for your kidney through your vagina.

you have to fold up the diva cup to insert it, and once it goes in it’s supposed to open up and then form a seal, but sometimes (like when your nervous about inserting a diva cup for the first time) you clench your vagina and it might not open, so you have to gently coax your vagina walls to the side so the cup will pop open.

with the cup inserted and open, i retreated to the couch having no idea if i’d put it in properly. i spent the rest of the night a bit crampy. my vagina was weary of the foreign object i decided to stick in it.

vaginas. the weirdest.

day 2

i somehow woke up being a diva cup master. with a little bit more confidence under my belt, i wasn’t so clumsy trying to insert it.

i emptied it a total of three times (when i woke up, mid-afternoon and right before bed) and i mostly forgot that i had it inserted. there was no more cramping.

removing it was a bit of a funny feeling, as you have to pinch the cup to break the seal. if you don’t do this, you may suction out your cervix while you’re at it. kidding, of course, but you can feel a little tug, which can be uncomfortable.

day 3

this was the first weekday of my cycle, and i was taking my new menstrual companion to work and to a media event. luckily, my office has individual bathrooms, not multiple-stall rooms. i have the same amount of privacy there as i do my home bathroom.

i made sure to empty it before i left the office, as the media event didn’t have much privacy in the bathroom. it is not really something i want to wash out in front of others.

day 4

it was the last day of this cycle. i was still bleeding, although very lightly. i decided to keep the diva cup in to see how it functioned with an extremely light flow. often when i use a tampon on these days, it feels like sandpaper when trying to remove a dry tampon as it has absorbed any moisture there may be inside my vagina to lubricate its exit. because the cup is silicone, it did not do the same thing, and it wasn’t painful trying to remove it, even with very little liquid in it.

i ended up really liking the diva cup and will continue to use it for my future menstruations. i did not deal with any leaks, probably because i took a lot of time in the beginning to double and triple check that i followed the directions and had the cup inserted and opened properly. it was also interesting to see how much i actually bled. i always thought i had a heavy flow, but being able to inspect the cup upon removal i saw that it wasn’t even a quarter full any time i removed it. the average period produced 1.3 ounces of blood, and the diva cup can hold 1 ounce, so i wasn’t concerned about it overflowing.

every time i “changed” the cup, i would dump out the contents and clean it under running water. i would also cleanse it with divawash at least once a day. i spoke to Mary (she’s a nurse with very outdoorsy sisters) about the public washroom cleaning thing, and she said her sister would just dump the contents out in the toilet, wipe out the cup with some toilet paper and when she was home again she’d cleanse it with divawash or a mild, oil-free, fragrance-free soap.

note from divacup: they do not recommend cleaning the cup with an antibacterial soap, or using the following ingredients: vinegar, tea tree oil, scented/ fragranced soap/castile/peppermint soap or any other oil based soap, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, baking soda, pre-moistened wipe, hydrogen peroxide, dishwashing soap, bleach or harsh chemicals as some have been known to damage or compromise the silicone (such as a sticky or powdery film, severe discoloration or order, etc.) and the cup may need to be replaced to avoid irritations and/or burning.

you do need to get up close and personal with yourself. if you have never masturbated, or feel uncomfortable with touching your own vagina, i wouldn’t suggest this for you. i would suggest you get to know your genitalia, though, and maybe give yourself an orgasm while you’re at it.

since i am on a contraceptive pill, i have a better understanding of when my period will start, so i’ll be able to bring the diva cup with me on certain days, if i’m not lucky enough to begin my bleeding at home. if your cycles are less predictable, you may want to still keep a tampon or two in your purse or desk drawer for those surprise starts.

no leaks, and no descent into insanity. i think my first cycle with the diva cup was a pretty successful one.

curious about anything else? i’ll try to answer any questions you might have.

yoga is something me and H bonded over right from the beginning. and dance, because duh. so when it’s date night planned drake yoga, we knew we had long weekend plans.

champagne papi makes for a different kind of yoga class, but what’s a life with no fun?

commonwealth is one of my favourite venues in the city because of its decor: huge windows, exposed brick, leather tufted sofas, chains, great art, and bold wallpaper. if i’m going dancing, this is where you’ll find me.

while my old ass rarely goes out dancing anymore, i did love going there in the middle of the day on a saturday to enjoy a vigorous yoga flow. our mats were squished side by side on the dance floor, while the instructor took the stage.

we danced through sun salutations, wild thing and goddess pose, while a dj spun drake tunes and the disco balls spun overhead. well, at least heather and i danced. we shook our ass, and laughed and smiled through the class. it seems like the other attendees were much more structured and shy when it came to enjoying themselves.

it only solidified that i had the best date there. i love bad bitches.

heather is a yoga badass, even with her huge leg brace. she can do so much in it, but we did find out that it gets in the way of being able to do arm balances like crow pose. she tried, we laughed, and then laughed some more.

after class, we were treated to brunch by chef pigot from home & away. the line was pretty long so we decided to head to the bar first for truebuch kombucha mimosas.

we brought our glasses of champagne out on the dance floor to stand in line for food. between making line friends and catching up, we speculated what we’d be eating. to keep it a bit of a surprise, we only got to pick sweet or savoury. the rest of the menu was not revealed until brunch was placed in our hands.

we both picked savoury, which ended up being a roasted beet benedict with tots.

it was incredible! i love beets, but would never think of putting them in an eggs benedict. clearly, i’ve been missing out, because the earthiness from beets paired perfectly with the richness of egg yolk and hollandaise.

while i wished the crowd was a little less uptight, overall i was really impressed by the detail it’s date night put into the event.

we considered stealing drake balloons but decided to leave on good terms. i walked home in the snow with a smile on my face. the rest of my weekend was spent at home in my favourite drake way:  sweatpants, hair tied, chillin’ with no makeup on.

have you ever done a theme yoga class?

happy love day!

i’m not too huge on valentine’s day, but i am a huge fan of love. spreading love. making love. being love.

have you ever met those people who exude love in absolutely everything they do? i know a few, and i want to be them. there is such a calm and beautiful energy that they give off.

i have a lot of love for a lot of people, and get it in return, too. but as a perpetually single gal, romantic love has been something missing in my life. it’s something i definitely want.

last week i got to interview a matchmaker. getting advice from as many experts as possible can only help, right? Krystal Walter has been in the matchmaking business for over five years making sure her clients are prepared, confident and ready for love. Krystal’s insights are tried, true and personalized without the use of computer algorithms. the thought of escaping from an app to get specialized approach to finding the perfect match is very appealing, but it does come with a price tag. an introductory matchmaking membership with Krystal starts at $3,000; understandable for an executive service.

while matchmaking is currently not in my budget, Krystal did give me – and you – six great tips for finding love:

do something.

you have to put yourself out there in order to meet people. tinder might have a bad rep, but it’s the easiest option. because it is free and popular, that’s where the majority of people are going to be.

be prepared.

know what it is you want and stay true to that. Krystal reminded me of the Dr. Wayne Dyer quote, “how people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”

keep doing it.

it’s very rare that you’ll meet the person of your dreams on your first attempt at dating. like the saying goes, you have to kiss a lot of frogs…

leave your friends out of it.

you may love getting advice from your friends, but don’t talk with them about your date. they were not there, and you’ll only be presenting them with one side of the story. instead, ask yourself “what do i know about this to be true?” and make your own judgement.

first date don’ts.

activity first dates are not a good idea. if you do choose to do an activity – skiing, hiking, etc. – you need to make sure you are both at the same activity level.

don’t go to a bar. the atmosphere isn’t the greatest, it can encourage over drinking, and it’s often so loud you can’t hear your date or have an easily flowing conversation.

the best time for a first date is 3 p.m. it can be casual and quick and allow you to see if there is chemistry before planning anything else.

dress up for a date.

make an effort and put your best foot forward. first impressions are important and shows your date that you care.

i took Krystal’s advice and re-downloaded tinder and bumble since meeting people in person was just not happening. tip 1: do something. here goes nothing!

what are some of your best dating tips?