Blood Line

Blood Line

click photo for more information
Blood Line
Hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail in my late forties, and thinking about conversations I never got to have with my mother. View this image › Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed During the six-hour flight to Seattle from my home in North Carolina in the summer of 2013, my period arrived before my flight landed. So […]

Hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail in my late forties, and thinking about conversations I never got to have with my mother.

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

During the six-hour flight to Seattle from my home in North Carolina in the summer of 2013, my period arrived before my flight landed. So in the cramped bathroom of the plane, I pulled my Diva Cup from its fabric pouch and wondered how to use it while hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail.

While I’d been using the Diva Cup for years, I’d never taken it into the wilderness. By some fluke, my hiking adventures during the previous summers had fallen on weeks when I didn’t have my period.

The Diva Cup — which is made of silicone and sits inside your vagina, collecting menstrual blood, while you have your period — has made this stage of life manageable for me, as tampons can’t handle the heavy flow. In my late thirties, I discovered the Diva Cup after a friend turned me onto the environmental and health benefits of reusable products, and now, the Diva Cup is the only device that will contain the massive quantities of blood produced by my now-49-year old uterus. For most of my life, I privately judged those who complained about their periods, as I could run marathons while menstruating. But now, approaching menopause, my body produces blood clots the size of grapes.

When I drove to the trailhead the next day with my hiking partner, I stopped at a gas station to buy baby wipes, which I hadn’t purchased since my two daughters were toddlers.

“Don’t you think dumping blood in a stream violates ‘Leave No Trace’?” I asked my longtime friend Gary, referring to the low-impact principles that focus on carrying out everything you bring on to a trail. For women using tampons, this means putting them in a plastic bag throughout the hike; I was worried that I’d be pouring blood from the Diva Cup into Ziplocs as we hiked.

Gary follows the low-impact rules about camping away from streams and avoiding dish soap in mountain waters, but practicality often trumps principles for him; he sometimes throws his apple cores or orange peels into the woods, even though he works as an avian ecologist and knows better than most how food can attract wildlife.

“I think you’ll be fine,” he said, giving me the answer that I was hoping for.

As we hiked, I stopped at every stream to rinse out the Diva Cup, and my typical hiking attire of a well-worn Patagonia dress made this process quite efficient. Within an hour, we fell into a rhythm of walking and stopping, rinsing, and refueling. The second day, we hiked to the Pacific Crest Trail, also known as the PCT, and I took a picture by the small wooden sign that identified the trail.

Cheryl Strayed’s book and movie Wild have now popularized the Pacific Crest Trail, but in spring 1999, my parents hiked the entire distance of the trail, all 2,650 miles. (Five years earlier they had completed the 2,168 miles of the Appalachian Trail on the East Coast.) They waited to depart until I had delivered my daughter, Maya, but before I went into labor, my parents mailed their care packages of food out West and weighed every item before placing it in their lightweight packs.

While we often camped as a family in the 1970s, my parents became middle-age gurus of long-distance hiking after their four children were grown. In hiking circles, they were known by their trail names of “Annie and the Salesman” and were featured on an instructional film about lightweight hiking. With her slow Southern drawl recorded on the video, my mother held up a towel the size of a washcloth: “After you rinse off in a stream, you just shake off like a little puppy!” she said with a self-conscious grin and a flip of her head.

She always described hiking as a form of prayer.

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Their last long-distance hike was the near-completion of the Continental Divide Trail, part of the trifecta called the Triple Crown, which also includes the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. But before they could complete the last section of the Continental Divide Trail, they were killed by young male drivers in separate but mirror-image accidents two years apart. They both died while biking to an organic farm where they volunteered in exchange for fresh produce each week in our hometown of Fairhope, Alabama. My mother and father died long before showing outward signs of old age, at 58 and 64 years old, respectively. In fact, at the time of their deaths, in 2003 and 2005, they were in the best shape of their lives.

During our many conversations on the phone and in person, I never asked my mother how she dealt with her changing female body while hiking, although I have faint memories of her mentioning the subject of “heavy flow.” In the years before she died, I was having babies, starting jobs. Menopause was the farthest life event from my mind.

But I do remember when my sister was in college, my mother wrote her a newsy letter, filled with plans for an upcoming hike. My sister says her roommates cackled at this line in the letter: “I’ve discovered the most marvelous thing!” my mother wrote, in her perfect penmanship that seemed to echo her graceful Mississippi accent. “It’s called OB!”

I’ll never know if she packed out OB tampons in Ziploc bags on the Pacific Crest Trail or if my father understood her “change of life” as they walked across mountaintops and deserts. But I do know that when I walked on the Pacific Crest Trail — step after step on the same path — I felt my body melt into her memory. When I hiked on that trail, my mother had been dead for 10 years and my father for eight, but I could imagine them singing together as they walked and then stopping to admire the wildflowers. In fact, I was stepping into a prayer with both of them, following the actual trail of their walking meditation.

The loss of a parent signals the loss of an entire unrecorded history. Every day, I want to ask my mother, “What was it like for you?” When my teenage daughter looks at me with irritation one moment and vulnerability the next, I want to ask: “Did I look at you in that same way?” Because of course, I can’t remember. So I make up stories in my mind, even as I yearn for the weight of her arms around my middle-age body. Some nights, I pray that I might dream about her, just to spend a few minutes of subconscious time with her voice.

“You’ll always be my girl,” she would say, as she embraced me over the years, patting my back with her right hand, over and over again, even when I grew taller than her. When my mother was my age, 10 years before her death, her children were grown, and she was settling into the second stage of a seasoned marriage that had grown stronger with time. In contrast, I am a single parent of a teenager and a third-grader; we live in a 900-square-foot house in North Carolina with one tiny bathroom, where my older daughter has walked in on me as I rinse out my Diva Cup in the sink.

My own body — that can birth babies, hike trails, and raise a teenage woman — has become my mother’s. And there is nothing that can contain it all.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mallorymcduff/hiking-period

Daisy Ridley reveals struggle with endometriosis and sends a positive message

click photo for more information
Daisy Ridley reveals struggle with endometriosis and sends a positive message
Image: instagram LONDON Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley has quickly become known as a celeb who’s not afraid to show a very real side to her life on social media. SEE ALSO: Daisy Ridley proves she’s the most down-to-earth celeb on Instagram (yet again) In an Instagram post, the actress reveals a longtime battle with […]

10 Ways To Turn Your Pale Winter Complexion Into A Summer Glow Without Tanning

click photo for more information
10 Ways To Turn Your Pale Winter Complexion Into A Summer Glow Without Tanning
I dont know how it happened, and I dont know when it happened, but spring has sprung, darlings. I went on a plane to Florida two weeks ago, and I clearly remember furiously dragging my suitcase through the icy streets of Manhattan as I shivered, waiting for a taxi to take me to the airport. […]

These Sons Have An Important And Heartbreaking Message About Their Mom’s Health

click photo for more information
These Sons Have An Important And Heartbreaking Message About Their Mom’s Health
More than five million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease or some form of dementia. Statistics show that one in three seniors dies at the hands of this terrible illness. Common symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s go far beyond just memory loss. Sufferers can also experience confusion, changes in behavior, hallucinations, and problems with […]

First Lady’s lawsuit bemoans missed ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity for millions of dollars

click photo for more information
First Lady’s lawsuit bemoans missed ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity for millions of dollars
First Lady Melania Trump’s new lawsuit is raising eyebrowsImage: Sandy Schaeffer Hopkins/REX/Shutterstock While President Trump continues to churn up controversy over his potential business conflicts of interests while in the White House, First Lady Melania Trump’s new lawsuit implies that an erroneous news story may have cost her the chance to make millions while serving […]

Antibacterial soaps banned in US amid claims they do ‘more harm than good’

click photo for more information
Antibacterial soaps banned in US amid claims they do ‘more harm than good’
The Food and Drug Administration has washed its hands of the products, saying there is no scientific evidence that they are better than plain soap and water Antibacterial soaps were banned from the US market on Friday in a final ruling by the Food and Drug Administration, which said that manufacturers had failed to prove […]

Dad Says Theres 1 Thing Hell NEVER Do if He Has a GirlThen Mom Sees This in the Bathtub

click photo for more information
Dad Says Theres 1 Thing Hell NEVER Do if He Has a GirlThen Mom Sees This in the Bathtub
It’s the first thing her husband told her when he found out they were expecting a girl… By Courtney Westlake When we found out we were expecting a little girl, my husband, Evan, told me one thing: I dont do girl hair. Braids, brushing, pigtailsforget it. Evan grew up with two sisters and has laughed […]

What This Guy Does To His Face Every Day Is Amazing (And Hilarious)

click photo for more information
What This Guy Does To His Face Every Day Is Amazing (And Hilarious)
In the wide world of cosmetics on social media, there are two types of artists. There are your standard beauty bloggers who do demos on wearable makeup looks and talk people like me into spending exorbitant amounts of money on lipstick every month, and then there are artists of the special-effects variety. These creators tend […]

If Caretakers Don’t Get These Three Baby Koalas Back From A Thief They’ll Surely Die

click photo for more information
If Caretakers Don’t Get These Three Baby Koalas Back From A Thief They’ll Surely Die
One of Australia’s most famous animals is the cuddly koala. It’s easy to understand why people might want to hold a koala or try to keep one as a pet, but they’re actually quite the handful. It’s important that koalas stay out in the wild, or if they’re sick or orphaned, are taken care of […]

One College Football Coach Uses Hugs And Kisses To Help His Players Thrive

click photo for more information
One College Football Coach Uses Hugs And Kisses To Help His Players Thrive
googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.defineSlot(‘/37886402/VN_PG_DTBT_ATF’, [728, 90], ‘VN_PG_DTBT_ATF_580ec5d93ef7b’).addService(googletag.pubads()) googletag.pubads().setTargeting(“NOVA_MB”, “VN_”); googletag.pubads().setTargeting(“NOVA_SC”, “VN_ORGN”); googletag.pubads().setTargeting(“NOVA_TS”, “TS_D”); googletag.pubads().setTargeting(“NOVA_AT”, “VN_ORGN_PG_D_REV_1.0_ASYNC_DEFAULT”); googletag.pubads().setTargeting(“NOVA_CC”, “VN_ORGN_D_UNK_118126_A”); googletag.pubads().setTargeting(“NOVA_PG”, “1”); googletag.enableServices(); googletag.display(‘VN_PG_DTBT_ATF_580ec5d93ef7b’); }); While lack of emotional expression is a cornerstone of masculinity, research shows that this type of behavior is actually toxic. According to one study by the American Psychological Association (APA), men are significantly less […]

Here’s Why You Should Stop Buying These Things And Make Them Yourself

click photo for more information
Here’s Why You Should Stop Buying These Things And Make Them Yourself
It’s almost Tax Day, which means that budgets are tight and hopes are high for a big refund… But if you’re anything like us, you don’t leave your savings account’s balance up to chance. You’re constantly looking for ways to cut down on your monthly spending, whether it’s at the grocery store or on one […]

8 Things To Do Before And After A Workout To Get Better Results

click photo for more information
8 Things To Do Before And After A Workout To Get Better Results
For SELF, by Alexa Tucker. DaniloAndjus / Getty Images 1. Get enough Zzzs. “The most imperative thing in any fitness program starts the minute you go to sleep—that’s where all the magic happens,” says Cardiello. Being well-rested not only energizes you through every burpee or sprint, but it also keeps your hunger hormones in check, so you’re […]

This man’s microchip can predict your future

click photo for more information
This man’s microchip can predict your future
(CNN)It would be remiss to describe Chris Toumazou’s path to professorship as anything other than unconventional. Make that highly unconventional.

The best sunscreens for your face, according to dermatologists | Fox News

click photo for more information
The best sunscreens for your face, according to dermatologists | Fox News
((c) Tom Merton) Its no secret that you should wear sunscreen every single day (rain or shine!) to prevent premature aging and reduce your risk of skin cancer. But finding the right formula for your skin can be a challenge. Many people complain that sunscreen makes their face feel sticky, flaky, or take on a ghostly […]

If Your Daughter’s Breasts Are Growing Abnormally Early, Her Health May Be At Risk

click photo for more information
If Your Daughter’s Breasts Are Growing Abnormally Early, Her Health May Be At Risk
According to new information from the University of Glasgow, girls who develop breasts abnormally early are at risk for a host of physical problems and diseases later in life. In addition, they may suffer from social and psychological issues in their preteen and teenage years. First of all, you might be wondering what is meant […]

Good morning, wake up to health

click photo for more information
Good morning, wake up to health
They lift the spirits of Bengalureans and Goans with their show Fitness Hour, at 7.10 a.m. on Indigo 91.9. Zumba expert and fitness expert Shwetambari Shetty motivates listeners on fitness activities, Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/good-morning-wake-up-to-health/article8953029.ece?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication
More