Menstrual Cup Meets Bus Life
I decided to try the menstrual cup. What appealed to me most about the cup was the concept of not much waste. I was living on a bus at the time with the intention of moving onto a boat, and not having to deal with monthly period trash was extremely appealing.
The first person to bring up the topic of a menstrual cup was my friend Aimee. For a couple of months, she had been bringing up forfeiting the tampon, convincing me to give this new method a try.
While at work, my co-worker, Paige, had also begun talking about using this Eco-friendly method. We spent part of our afternoon looking them up on the internet. We learned that "The menstrual cup" comes in multi-colors from yellow to pink to black. There are two different sizes and many different companies. After reading all the reviews, I decided on a size small based on the fact that I have never had children. Big mistake there. Let's face it, I'm not twenty-two anymore, and as many women may know, periods by no means get lighter or more manageable with age. In fact, they seem to get heavier and heavier each year, and in my case, more and more painful. So maybe I've never had kids, but I sure got periods as if I had. Anywho, I picked the ‘Aretha’ cup in a lite green color.
The cup arrived at perfect timing. I was set to get my monthly flow within days of receiving my package. I eagerly opened a small square box, pulling out a little bag with tiny yellow flowers printed all over it. My face lit up with excitement as I opened the small bag revealing the mini green cup wrapped in plastic. I held the cup up, examining it as if it was a rare diamond, pinching it together and then letting it pop back to its natural form. The top opening was about an inch-plus wide and about two inches in length, with a little tail that hung off the end.
I placed the cup back inside its little flowery pouch and stuck it in my panty drawer for safekeeping. And there it waited. Reminding me every day of my looming monthly event. As the week continued, my period became late, not an out-of-the-ordinary occurrence, just an annoyance due to my new experiment. My breast began to swell, warning me my time was coming. Then it happened.
I stumbled out of bed that cool morning, as I usually do. Clinging to the side of the bus, I carefully took a sleepily large step down onto a wooden platform made of pallets. Trudging through the uneven grass, I retrieved a hand full of toilet paper from the outhouse. (Side note: when living with an old-school outhouse, it is wise to separate numbers one and two as best possible. Keeping the two together creates a more potent smell.)
With toilet paper in hand, I retreated to my usual pee spot behind the bus.
T. Rex, my beloved orange tabby, followed close behind. I squatted down and took my pee position. T. Rex digs in the dirt, making a small hole next to the short stem of a baby sunflower plant. Following my lead, she also takes her pee position, and together we release our fluids. After I finish, I look down to see a smear of red across the white paper.
"I knew it!" T. Rex looks up stunned, from her hole burying. I pull my panties up and practically sprint back to the bus. T. Rex leaps out of my way. I quickly run to my underwear drawer and pull it open, revealing the flowery bag stuffed between two pairs of cotton panties. Smiling, I rip off the plastic case and head back to the loo. My excitement was overwhelming. I quietly wash the little rubber cup before closing myself in the outhouse. I stare at the cup for a moment, folding it, unfolding it, and figuring out how best to insert the small chalice.
Then I take a deep breath and go for it. It's in. It's comfortable enough; with a bit of worry that I hadn't placed it properly, I stepped out of the sugar shack and continued with my regular activities—soon forgetting about the small cup wedged inside me.
Later that afternoon, I met up with Aimee for some happy hour cocktails. So far, so good, no leaking, and I could hardly feel it. Then it happened. A trickle of warmth. I knew it was no longer holding. I excused myself and headed for the bathroom. Luckily, in a one-person washroom, I squatted on the toilet, trying to get the now buried cup out. I could find the tip, pinch, and pull, but it wouldn’t budge. The tip would slip through my fingers. I tried again and again with no luck. Shocked and embarrassed by the amount of time I'd already spent in the bathroom. I washed my blood-soaked fingers and lined my panties in toilet paper.
My face red with shame, I re-enter the bar, leaving the safety of the bathroom. I slide back onto my bar stool, and the image of the cup wiggling further up my cervix floats in my head. Aimee begins to tell me a story, but all I can think about is the plastic cup wedged in my uterus. I make an excuse to leave, not ready to admit my cup failure, and scurry out of the crowded bar.
Relieved to see my boyfriend was not home yet, I pull up to the bus and the little Hawaiian homestead we had built. I grab more toilet paper and a bag of wet wipes and hurry to the outhouse, praying my boyfriend takes his time finishing work.
The cup has retreated further up my uterus. I grab the tip and pull, but it slips, and my hand flies out like a rubber band on a slingshot. Blood coats my fingers. I try again, and this time I am able to grab the end of the cup. I pinch it as hard as I can, and it gives. The cup slides out with a gush of blood. I wash it in our little propane-heated shower. Not ready to throw in the towel, I fold it back into a narrow cylinder, then take a deep breath and slip it back inside myself. This time I let the tip hang out a bit, thinking maybe I had just put it in to far up the first time.
I curled up in bed and quickly pass out.
The next morning, I could feel the leaking, but I was so comfortable, cozily wrapped in blankets—my boyfriend playing on his phone next to me. I finally get up the strength, fearful from the event the night before. I prepare myself with toilet paper and wet wipes. But when I reach up to retrieve it, it's even further than it was the night before.
I take a deep breath and tell myself to remain calm. I reach up again, this time able to pinch the tip. I pull, but it slips. I try again, but this time pull so hard that my nail digs into my thumb, leaving an indention. Blood drips down my fingers. I try again, but no luck. I start to claw at it with the tips of my fingers, not able to grab the tip as I did before.
I stand up and reposition myself. Still no luck. I pull at the tip using my other hand; my breath becomes heavy. Horrible thoughts go through my head as I picture the look on the face of the ER nurse when I tell her what is stuck inside me. I think about the pliers in the driver's side door of my jeep. I wonder what's better to sanitize them with, hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol? Then I remember the tweezers on my makeup stand.
I shake my head and think, "I'm crazy; that'll never work."
That's when I decided to come clean to my boyfriend. I slowly walk into the bus, defeated.
I pathetically cry, "I have a problem."
He stares at me with both a look of worry and wonder. “Yes…" He carefully answers.
"Well, I... Um... My cup is stuck."
His face relaxes as he says, “well, sounds like something you should ask Google." Realizing he cannot help, I head for my iPhone, lying on the end of the bed. I sit down and open the common search page.
"Pinch the tip to make the cup release," I read as I scroll through the first website. "Try to get your pointer finger to the top, and your thumb placed on the bottom, then bend it to release." It continues. I backtracked to the Google page and saw a link for Buzzfeed. This could be the relief I'm looking for.
I click on the link:
"75 things to do if your menstrual cup is stuck inside you.
I start reading them aloud.
1.) Deny the fact that your menstrual cup is unreachable and continue to claw
at your insides like a panicked raccoon.
Checked that off my list.
2.) Slowly allow the sour wave of fear to rise up through your body when
you finally accept that it is, in fact, stuck inside of you.
3.) Quietly despair.
"How does buzz feed know me so well," I think as I continue to read.
5.) Switch to your non-dominant hand and retry the raccoon thing.
6.) Stare blankly at the bathroom floor tiles for a moment while
contemplating the meaning of life.
Check and check…
7.) Try again standing up.
8.) Try again sitting down.
Did that a few times.
15.) Consider for a moment leaving it stuck up there,
moving to a new city, finding a new job, and starting a new life.
16.) Realize that none of that will change the fact that you have a menstrual cup stuck inside your body.
17.) Emerge from the bathroom and locate your live-in boyfriend.
18.) Explain to your live-in boyfriend that the menstrual cup you were so excited to use has betrayed you, and now you both have to move to California and change your names.
I laugh as I read this one aloud to my boyfriend.
19.) Accept a hug while realizing this is as far as his help can go.
20.) Say goodbye to your live-in boyfriend and return to your bathroom lair—this is your home now.
My boyfriend laughs as he gets dressed, then walks over to me and gives me a sympathetic hug, patting my back softly before he exits the bus and heads for our outdoor kitchen located under a Costco canopy to make coffee.
I head back to the outhouse for one final try. I reach in. Pull at the tip of the cup. It gives just enough for my finger and thumb to pinch the tip, releasing the suction. Warm liquid starts to drip down my hand. Every muscle in my body relaxes as I stare at the small frustrating menstrual cup covered in deep red colored blood. I waddle to our outdoor shower, my panties hanging below my knees. I rinse the cup. Holding it up in the air, I examine the little piece of rubber. Taking note of its small details. Then with a deep breath, I fold the cup and slide it back into place. I'm still not ready to give up.
**Below is an update on current usage.**
It has been seven years since this dreaded moment of inserting my cup for the first time, and I can say that it has been a successful journey. My life’s landscape had changed dramatically; that boyfriend is now my ex, and my bus life got traded for a sailboat along with many nautical miles over the Caribbean Sea before leaving the ocean and heading back to the mountains of Boulder, Colorado. However, the cup has been my old reliable, coming to my rescue every month. I no longer dread it and have no intentions of giving it up.
The low environmental impact and the fact that I never have to worry about not having a tampon while traveling has been wonderful. However, the most beneficial thing that has happened since forfeiting the tampon is the change in my periods. At the time, I had struggled with mind-numbing pain every month. I saw doctors and specialists trying to figure out why my period was so excruciating and extremely heavy. No one could give me a straight answer and just wanted to treat me for Endometriosis.
I started using the cup because I knew I wanted to travel and had intentions of doing it by boat. One of the scariest things I could think of was not being able to find a tampon in a foreign country or, worse running out in the middle of a sail passage. At the time, I had no idea that this little cup was the answer to my womanly issues.
My periods are now shorter, lighter, and less painful. I went from having a seven-nine day period to a short and sweet three-four day. I still get pain, but nowhere near what it once was, with only one and a half days of heavy bleeding. I don’t know what it is in the tampons that had been poisoning me all these years but will never go back.
Whether you are traveling or not. I can highly recommend the menstrual cup.
Cindy Sherman inspired self-portraits taken by me, Cassidy Wayant, at the property of the bus in Holualoa, Hawaii. Copyright 2016.
Don't miss out on this fun small business family restaurant with pizza you'll dream about!!
I recently traveled to Asheville, North Carolina, to help with this delicious pizza restaurant's marketing image. They had suffered a hit after COVID and needed to remind their original customers that they were still open and serving the same mouth-watering cuisine.
It was a pleasure not only to get to take photos of all the food but also to get to eat it!
Niwot's curse on Boulder, Colorado
People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay, and their staying will be the undoing of the beauty.
Niwot's Curse was folklore I learned as a young Boulder Valley student. I find much truth in this curse as I have watched my home town change. My childhood memories rapidly disappearing as million-dollar condos and high-end retail replace quaint coffee shops and quirky small businesses.
But the curse was not something Chief Niwot had wished upon this unique town; it was a premonition. He dreamed of a great flood that swallowed the Arapahoe tribe, letting only white man survive. Fearful for his people, the chief tried to make peace with the white man in hopes of saving his people.
But the overflow of gold-seekers continued to swamp the breathtaking valley pushing the peaceful natives out. Later, it is believed, that Chief Niwot died at the hands of the Third Colorado Cavalry in the Sand Creek Massacre. Proving a truth to his premonition.
Eventually, the money-hungry miners were replaced with the hopeful peace and love of the 1960's hippy movement. Swarms of liberal, peace-loving, environmental progressive humans filled the little mining town. Quickly became a forward-thinking town floating in the state of cowboys and conservative country folks.
During this time, many local Boulderites worked to protect the open space surrounding the town in hopes of preserving the community as well as the land. Building restrictions where enforced, and Boulder could no longer build up or out. The small-town limits and bleeding liberal population began earning a representation among the state, referred to the town as the People's Republic of Boulder, the Boulder Bubble, or the (liberal) island in the middle of Colorado, which at the time was very much a red state.
It is sad to think Boulder will never be the same place it was while I was growing up, but I will always be grateful for the memories of what it once was.
And still, take much joy in the breathtaking scenery.
Life on Ohana
Kelley and I bravely walked around the view blocking plant in hopes of seeing more. Being not more than five feet away, the entire body of the six/seven foot gator was completely exposed. Kelley and I stood frozen staring at the intense animal as he glared back at us, with one leg propped on shore, he leaned the slightest bit closer in our direction. With hearts racing, we scurried away from the scene of the crime and I declared to Kelley, “Yeah, I don’t think I want one as a pet after all.”
Corn Muffins and a Rainy Day
My life has been so crazy lately that I haven't had many moments to myself. But today gave me a much needed gift, the gift of rain. With clouds rolling in left and right, sailing didn't seem like much fun. Instead, I spent the day baking, editing, writing, and cooking.
A much needed day of relaxing, gave me inspiration to do one of my favourite pass times, baking. Our oven is very small, which means I can only bake 6 muffins at a time but I I can't complain since they came out so lovely.
I found this wonderful recipe on https://www.errenskitchen.com/
In normal fashion, as well as a still broken refrigerator, I had no milk to work with. So I subsituted with a can of coconut milk. This gave them a nice buttery, sweet favor.
I also made a spicy, vegetarian chilli to go with my mini corn breads. Perfect meal for a rainy day.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Calories 174 kcal
Author Erreb @ Erren's Kitchen
US Measurements - Metric MeasurementsInstructions
Living aboard a sailboat is not always the romanticised notion of cocktails at sunset, cool sea salt breezes, starry night skies, and perfect gentle rolling seas. It is also rough waters, un-marked entrances with broken depth sounders, sleepless nights, rotten food, broken equipment, and rainy days.
I first arrived in Grand Cayman a few short months ago. We had sailed in on a 41 Morgan Classic from Bocas Del Toro, Panama. It had taken us nine days and eight nights to sail the 1000 nautical miles north to this small island chain snuggled between the smokey hills of Cuba and the tropical mountain tops of Jamaica.
Living on a solid lean for over a week, had all of us craving hamburgers and ice cold beers when we first arrived full sails, and salty. From afar, Grand Cayman looks like tiny boxes dotting the horizon line, slowly growing into large buildings and a long sandy beaches with every mile we came closer.
After a painless check in and one night on a mooring ball in Georgetown we made our way around the north west corner of the island to Governor’s creek. Where we anchored in front of the Yacht Club. We spent the next couple weeks familiarising ourselves with our new surroundings. Taking the dinghy up every canal, looking for empty docks, grocery stores and places to rinse off our salty skin. Even though, we had provisioned well in Panama, we needed fresh vegetables and meats.
Living on the hook is not glamours to say the least, between lack of water and power combined with the rocking wakes of tours boats. We decided to trade dinghy rides and rolling seas for a sturdy dock and an unlimited power source. We moved into the Yacht Club to start a dock life.
As you may or may not know I took a position with Jonathan Davis doing real estate photography back in January. It's been an interested six months learning everything there is to know about this business. Jonathan is an extremely talented photographer who knows his client like the back of his hand.
Let me know what you think and any questions you may have in regards to this home or my new job below in the comment section. Visit PhotoKona.com to take a look at Jonathan's work. Also follow Photokona on Instagram.
"I just wanna let you know that I'm horrible at having my picture taken," Kirsten tells me as she pulls off the highway next to a poplar tourist attraction, a large lava tube.
"Do you know how often I hear that?" I reply to this common statement.
"No seriously!" Kirsten exclaims, "I'm horrible. I make this weird fake smile. Just wait, you'll see." I roll my eyes and giggle a bit because there is no way someone as beautiful as Kirsten could take a bad photo.
"Don't worry Kirsten, it's me. I can get a good shot." I reassure her as I jump out of the lifted jeep. Nether of us had ever stopped at the lava tube before so I wasn't completely sure what to expect. You could still see the top of Hualalai in the early morning light, the lava field soaking in the warmth of the sun.
We started by walking down into the tube, the floor scattered in broken lava. Light glowing through the end of the tunnel revealing a beautiful sky light where the roof had craved in. As we climbed around the tube we decided to take this adventure outside to use the morning light to our advantage. I followed Kirsten as she throw off her shoes and carefully tip toed about the cracks in the field.
"Should I climb down?" She asked me as we both starred down into the collapse lava tube.
"Only if you feel comfortable doing so." she nodded. Picking up her dress and slide down the side of the tube standing on a pile of large boulders I captured her in her pink dress as she told me about her love life and her decision to move off island.
As the morning sun got brighter and the tourist started to arrive we decided to venture to a new spot. Just across the street is a long bumpy road that leads through a lava field to a beautiful beach called Mahaiula's. With both my hands on the built in handle bar of the jeep, we rambled down the long road. It was still early in the day so not many people were at the beach yet. We started with a shady spot under a tree where I captured a moment with Kirsten. She told me stories and I gave advice. I was prefect.
"I brought this sequin dress and I really wanna put you in the water wearing it!"
"Lets do it!" Kirsten said as her eyes grew bigger and sparkled in the sunlight.
We found an area in with no people, she slipped into the dress and eased herself into the water. I joked that she should swim up to a group of guys that had dragged a large float down the beach.
"I think they would really like the sequins!" I joked as the sequins sparkled in the sunlight.
"I'll tell them I'm really a mermaid." We laughed as Kirsten drove under the water.
"I'm really glad we did this," Kirsten tells me as beads of water roll down her forehead, "it's been really fun."
I show Kirsten a preview of one of her photos. "See I told you wouldn't make a funny face."
Orca's in Hawaii
North Carolina Heritage. Colorado Born. Aloha Spirit. Cayman Island Living.