For Devon, Silvia, Laura & Carly–Thank you for being you
How are you? 🌒
This month, I learned that mental load is a term used to describe the invisible work involved in managing a household and family. A vagina is not a vulva. The first day of a period is the first day of full flow, and spotting doesn’t count. Menstrual cycles have four stages. And, episiotomies are rarely necessary.
I’m puzzled that I know so little about my body, the impact of hormones on my mood, and the influence of gender roles on my decisions. Yet, I’m also grateful and excited for having begun to make up for my knowledge gap.
I started being more aware of the tasks on my mental load list and have already pledged to scratch a few, like reminding G to call his mom and folding the blankets in the living room every morning.
I can explain the difference between a vulva and vagina and identify both on a diagram. And I’m tracking my cycle more diligently and learning to adjust my everyday obligations to suit the different stages of my cycle.
I’m less afraid of the idea of giving birth, knowing that I probably won’t need to go through the same procedure as my mom did, although I’m still terrified about ending up as a parent with two jobs.
Getting to know my body and practical and emotional needs humbled me. My empathy for women has grown, especially for my mom. I can’t help wish she had known all that I’m learning now, so she too could’ve understood herself better and had the talks I’m having but with her husband, friends, and family.
I have the same wish for all of you, and I hope that my current favorites below will set you up for many aha moments, laughs, and talks.
Sidenote: If you’re a man reading my letters, I recommend these comics. They provide a solid overview of the obstacles women face daily. Being aware of these can only improve your friendships and relationships with the women in your life, so I’m convinced it’s worth your energy.
The Comics I Told Everyone About
🔖 The Mental Load & The Emotional Load by Emma
I learned about the term mental load from Emma’s comic You Should’ve Asked, which helped me reduce my own load. Furthermore, Emma’s other comics also prompted me to think about social issues like police violence, immigrant rights, and income inequality.
Book I’m Reading
🩸 Period Power by Maisie Hills
Period Power taught me about the four stages of my cycle and how to adjust my day-to-day to use each stage’s strengths to my advantage. It also helped me better track my cycles by inspiring me to note my mood changes, basal body temperature, and consistency of my cervical mucus.
Thanks to Silvia for the recommendation
Podcast I’m Listening
💭 Ladies, We Need to Talk
Ladies, We Need to Talk is the topic of The Knitting Club’s current chapter. Each week one of the members picks two podcasts which we then discuss in our sessions. To start with, I recommend the episodes Time to Name and Shame the Mental Load, The Secret Life of Hormones, and 50-Shades of Erotic Literature.
Thanks to Devon for the recommendation
An App I’m Loving
Dipsea is an audio platform for “short, sexy, audio stories and intimate wellness sessions (including meditations, erotic breathwork exercises, dirty talk how-to’s, and self-love guides).” Dipsea is encouraging me to explore and celebrate my sexuality with confidence and have fun doing it.
Artwork I Discovered
🔴 Diva by Juliana Notari
Quote I’m Pondering
There is no such thing as a woman who doesn’t work. There is only a woman who isn’t paid for her work. –Caroline Criado Perez, Invisible Women