Author Archives: SuzyKnew!

About SuzyKnew!

SuzyKnew! is dedicated to improving the sexual and reproductive health and sexual pleasure of women of color.

Short Christmas Stories By Famous And Everyday Black Women

Below, SuzyKnew! shares a radio broadcast, a couple of poems, and news stories on Christmas by famous and everyday Black women

Looking For Black Santa, Leoneda Inge, WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio December 2011

Durham, North Carolina is one of the most diverse communities in the state. Mayor Bill Bell likes to say it’s the city with NO racial majority. Then why is it so hard to find an African American Santa Claus?

….Two years ago, I found the cutest 1970s photo of me and my younger sister sitting on a white Santa’s lap. I loved the photo so much, I decided to make it my annual holiday card. But before the copies went out – I asked a friend to do a little photo-shopping – to give Santa a tan. Now that really made me smile. I mailed it to black friends and white friends, relatives and co-workers – they loved it!

Click here to  read more and listen

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem (First shared during the 2005 White House tree-lighting ceremony.)
By Dr. Maya Angelou

Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.

Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.

We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
We worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?

Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.

Peace.

Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.

On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.

At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope.
All the earth’s tribes loosen their voices
To celebrate the promise of Peace.

We, Angels and Mortal’s, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.

Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.

***

Choose to be Happy, Ayesha Karim 2012

I am happy because I choose to be; my life is far from perfect.

Others are content but I make conscious choices to be Happy and to be a positive person.

You don’t have to be rich or have a lot of money and material wealth to be happy.

Many wealthy people are poor in Spirit with all the money, fame and things that they have.

This Christmas Eve night as I write this poem I think about how I manage my money focusing on my needs first and then my wants.

I ask myself: Can I afford that? Do I need this? Can I wait for the store price to go down and get that dress on sale?

I hope that once I am financially stable with a decent job I can have a coat drive for kids age 1 through 16 in Trenton, New Jersey when every boy and girl gets a cute new coat and I hope that my story inspires others my battle with mental illness over 19 years…

 

Finding Black Christmas figures in getting harder.

Collecting Black Christmas Figurines – The challenges and the rewards

Merry Christmas to all!

How Do You Beat The Holiday Blues? ASK JANICE

Woman not happy about her laptop against snow falling

Do the holidays have you stressed and pressed? Are you buckling under the yuletide pressure to buy the perfect gifts for your loved ones? Is it hard for you to remember the “reason for the season”?

Listen. The holidays can be fraught with angst and stress, despite the happy faces we put on for the public. There’s the obligatory work parties to contend with, along with various family functions and family drama, financial pressures, year-end job stresses, etc. It’s enough to make even the jolliest of souls a little crazy.

If you’re feeling “Bah Humbug” and have lost your holiday spirit, here are 5 simple ways to lift your mood and end 2018 on a positive note:

1. VOLUNTEER: You know that non-profit or charity that you’ve always admired from afar, but never really got to see how they do what they do? Well, here’s your chance to get up close and personal with them! Volunteering your precious time helping others is a wonderful way to give back to your community and improve your mood. I know you’re busy, but even 2-3 hours will do the trick. Giving your time and talents to those less fortunate than you is great way to change your perspective about your own life, reminding you of your many blessings. So, go ahead and call that charity or non-profit and ask how you can help for a few hours this holiday season.

2. DONATE: If you don’t have a lot of spare time to volunteer with your favorite charity or non-profit, writing a generous check may be just what you need to lift your spirits. Every organization that’s working hard to make the world better could certainly use an infusion of cash, and you’ll be able to take another tax write off for 2018. So it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. You can even go a step further and ask your friends and family to donate, as well; or, make the donation in their names. This will get everyone in your circle in the giving mood and do some real good for others, too. After all, it is better to give than to receive.

3. VISIT A CHURCH (or other place of worship) DIFFERENT FROM YOUR OWN: Even if you already have a church home (or if you don’t), visiting a different place of worship during the holidays can be a beautiful, uplifting experience. There’s something about strangers coming together for praise and worship that reminds us of our common humanity. Hearing different testimonies, sermons, and even hymns can offer you a fresh perspective on your own faith, and strengthen the bonds you already have with the Almighty. Besides, being welcomed into a new or different place of worship can tap into a level of love you’ve never before experienced, and you just may get some new friends out of it.

4. ADOPT A CHILD OR FAMILY FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Check with your pastor or others who are “in the know”, and select a child or family in need to “adopt” for the holidays. You could buy toys or presents for the child(ren), or provide a delicious holiday meal with all the trimmings. Maybe they need coats, boots, or other winter-wear. Or maybe they need a utility bill paid. Whatever they need, your generosity will go directly to someone who could use it. Again, giving to someone less fortunate than you not only helps others, but will surely put you in the holiday spirit.

5. UNPLUG, DISENGAGE, AND JUST RELAX: Maybe what you really need is to simply re-charge. You’ve been running all year, working hard, and probably putting others’ needs before your own. In fact, you’ve probably worn yourself out taking care of everyone else. If this is the case, then you need to take some time to unwind, relax, and allow yourself the time and space to reflect and re-charge. Logoff your social media accounts for a few days and disengage from all the noise and madness. Treat yourself to long baths and afternoon naps. Have a spa day. Catch up on some reading. Spend a day or two in bed watching sappy, Hallmark movies; or binge watch that show everyone’s been talking about, but you haven’t had a chance to see. Take some time for renewal and refreshment before you tackle a new year.

The holidays can be hard to get through, and many people really struggle with sadness, depression, and/or grief. These tips are merely quick fixes and won’t help someone who’s really suffering. If you’re having a harder time than usual this year, please reach out to your loved ones or seek professional help. The suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255. You don’t have to suffer alone.

Healing – By Sophia Ned-James

I have to give credit where credit is due. Royce* has proven, once again, that settling down with him was the best decision I’ve made in a long time. Ladies, don’t fall for the Okey-Doke! Your man may be puttin’ it down in the bedroom, may be fun to hang with and may even be helping you out financially. But if he isn’t capable of using his love to heal you when you need it, then he isn’t getting the whole job done!

I recently went through a devastating, life-changing experience: the sudden death of a close friend. I mean, I was knocked flat on my ass with this one. I’m talking weeks of ugly crying, regular screaming fits and random acts of violence against whatever glassware was handy. Your girl embraced grieving like it was chocolate: I consumed it and it consumed me. This came close to breaking me.

Royce not only stayed with me during my darkest moments, but by really helping me to begin my healing process. He didn’t try to subdue my grief. On the contrary, when I shattered glass after glass in anguish, he just swept up the pieces and purchased new glasses. When I screamed until my throat was raw, he gave me tea with lemon & honey. He combed my hair when I hadn’t touched it for days. He fed me even after I swore I’d never eat again. He put up with my morning breath, uncombed hair, and snotty nose and called me beautiful in a way that made me believe him. And he knew exactly when, where and how I needed to be touched.

Y’all, that man’s touch was a soothing balm! It was better than the Benadryl I used to help me fall asleep! It was better than the whiskey he’d sometimes slip into my tea!

Whether it was his hand on the small of my back at the funeral, telling me he’d never leave my side; his tight grip on my hand right before I got up to eulogize my friend, reminding me to look at him when I felt lost or afraid while I spoke; or the gentle hands that held my face as he kissed my tears; Royce’s touch got me through the worst few weeks of my life.

And he knew exactly when I needed to be touched intimately, and to allow our bodies to do what they do best. He’d been so patient during my bereavement, never making any demands on me at all. But somehow he knew when the time was right.

We were at his place. It was nighttime. He was watching the game in his den. Exhausted, I took a long shower, turned off the lights and climbed into his bed. The television was on, but muted. Pandora was playing 90s R&B softly. I was emotionally and physically drained, but restless.

I must have dozed off, because the next thing I felt was Royce’s body behind mine. Actually, the first thing I felt was his big ol’ dick poking me in my back. I expected to be irritated because sex was the last thing on my mind since losing my friend. But then I felt his soft kisses on my neck, and his warm breath made me shiver. And for the first time in weeks, my body responded with something other than sadness or anger.

You’d think that Royce would be tentative with me, a little hesitant at least. But he wasn’t. He boldly kissed and stroked my body knowingly, as if he dared me to resist. How did he know I need this, I asked myself. How could he possibly know, when I didn’t even know myself?

He was patient, but persistent. I didn’t feel rushed, but there was no stopping the inevitable. And surprisingly, I was ready.

Fully aroused, I surprised Royce when I quickly flipped him onto his back. Before he could utter a word, I kissed him even harder than he’d kissed me. And then I climbed on top of him, rubbing myself shamelessly against his muscled thigh.

He got the hint and shifted us so that I was right on top of his throbbing cock. I moaned the moment my clit made contact with it. But I didn’t let him enter me. Instead, I roughly knocked his hands away and made my way up to his face. Carefully planting my knees on either side of his head, I paused. I don’t know. I guess I wanted his permission.
I watched his eyes, which seemed to sparkle in the television light. I didn’t have to wait long for my answer. He roughly grabbed my ass and pulled me onto his face. His attack on my re-awakened pussy was so fierce, I had to hold onto the headboard for support.

He didn’t waste any time with niceties and subtleties. He ate me like a starving man. For the first time in far too long, I gave into the intense pleasure of his mouth and tongue.

It felt exquisite! It felt sublime! It felt so good that in no time at all, I had a powerful orgasm that left me breathless. I was barely coherent when I slid off of his face and onto the bed beside him. He quickly pulled me into his arms for a tight embrace.

When I could finally speak, I whispered “How did you know I needed that?”

“I know you,” he answered, stroking my back.

I quickly recovered. Pulling him on top of me, I welcomed his weight. He felt whole and real and alive. I was almost desperate to touch every inch of him. So I rubbed and squeezed and grabbed every part of him I could reach.

When he finally entered me, I felt filled in a way that’s difficult to describe. It’s almost as if every stroke rubbed away some of my sadness. He was gentle, but his strokes were powerful. He pulled me into his rhythm effortlessly. And even though I wanted it to last forever, I was anxious to make him cum.

Sex is always great with Royce. But this was something different. It was more than pleasurable, it was healing. I didn’t just feel good, I felt better.

I can’t explain it, y’all. All I can tell you is that my man’s moves that night changed something inside me. It’s like his dick was a weapon knocking out the grief that had occupied my body and spirit. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. Making love to Royce that night helped me begin to heal.

Now y’all know your girl Sophia is no stranger to the benefits of amazing sex. But until now, I’d never experienced healing sex. I highly recommend it, ladies. I hope that each and every one of you finds someone who will do for you what Royce did for me. Not just the sex, but all of it. Like I said, dude was my rock!

So seek ye a king who will slay your demons with his dick! But be careful. That’s the kind of shit that’ll get you sprung!

*Royce is my man’s internet name. I keep his government name between us for obvious reasons.
Photo Credits: sirsplayground.tumblr.com, 25.media.tumblr.com, haightashburyco.tumblr.com

Fertility Friday: Part 2 of Xenoestrogens In Black Hair Products – Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, Fibroids, and Epigenetics | Dr. Tiffany Katz, Ph.D.


This Friday, SuzyKnew! shares part 2 of Fertility Friday’s work on endocrine disrupting chemicals, such as those found in hair care products, and various health issues including fibroids and endometriosis.

Fertility Friday’s creator Lisa Henderson-Jack interviews Lisa Hendrickson JackDr. Tiffany Katz,  who is Hispanic and an instructor at Baylor College of Medicine in The Center for Precision Environmental Health, in her podcast.  CLICK HERE FOR SITE AND PODCAST. During her dissertation work, Dr. Katz began studying the developmental origins of health and disease and breast cancer risk. She went on to the University of Pittsburgh in the Women’s Cancer Research Center to continue studying how epigenetic mechanisms contribute to breast cancer risk with a particular focus on the protective effect of early pregnancy against breast cancer.

Dr. Katz believes that there are periods during the life course where the genome becomes highly dynamic to accommodate great change such as early development, puberty, and pregnancy and has termed these times of purposeful plasticity.

Topics discussed in today’s episode:

  • The protective effect of pregnancy on the lifetime risk of breast cancer (and how it relates to a woman’s age at first pregnancy)
  • Is there a link between xenoestrogens and the development of fibroids and/or endometrios
  • Developmental exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals
  • The potential fallout of early exposure (in utero) to endocrine disrupting chemicals
  • The role of epigenetics in future risk of developing various health conditions
  • How big of a role a genetic predisposition to certain illnesses (i.e. fibroids, endometriosis) play in your risk of developing it?
  • Genetic determination versus environmental exposure
  • The difference between xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens
  • Practical ways to reduce your exposure

Fertility Friday: Xenoestrogens in Black Hair Products – Tola Okogwu

This week, we share Fertility Friday’s podcast on black hair care products and their impact on our reproductive health.

Tola Okogwu is a British blogger and author of the ‘Daddy Do My Hair?’ book series for children. She recently launched KECHIS ‘Kechi’s Hair Goes Every Which Way’ in May 2018, Tola wants to tackle the relationship between young black girls and their natural afro hair in a vibrant, entertaining and educational way. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and has written for several publications including Black Beauty and Hair Magazine and Metro UK.

In her own words: “For black people, hair is so much more than just what grows out of our heads. Along with our skin colour, it’s the biggest signifier of the differences between us and other races and for the longest time we’ve been made to feel that there is something wrong and unattractive about it.”

In today’s show, we talk about the issue of chemicals in black hair products, and how black women can move away from products that contain harmful chemicals.

Today’s episode is sponsored by my Fertility Friday’s FAM 101 video series. Click here for access.

Topics discussed in today’s episode:

  • The complexities and politics of straitening your hair as a black woman
  • The toxic and damaging nature of hair relaxer
  • Relaxer and chemical burns
  • Is there a link between hair relaxer and fibroids?
  • The importance of informed choice as it relates to hair-care products
  • Embracing the beauty of natural hair
  • How manufacturers have adapted to the natural hair movement
  • The xenoestrogen and other chemical content of natural hair products
  • The particular way black women use hair-care and other beauty products, and why this exacerbates our toxic exposure
  • How to minimize your exposure?
  • How many products do you need?

CLICK HERE FOR THE PODCAST AND MORE INFORMATION

Sistas’, Sex, And Our ‘Do – By F. N.

Doin’ it and messin’ up my ‘do

I was reading a memoir today and the author was telling a story about this time at a sleepover when she had to “sleep pretty.” You know, that thing when you have to catch some zzz’s but you lie deathly still on your back and don’t move your head on the pillow cos you just got your ‘do did? Or you’re with a new guy so you couldn’t wrap your hair up in front of him but you don’t want to wake up looking like Buckwheat? We talk about hair and sex so much as black women. But rarely the two together, which is kinda weird. I don’t know about you but my hair has always had a starring role in my romantic relationships.

Back when I had loose natural hair, in the middle of hot and steamy foreplay, suddenly a thought would cross my mind: “Yo, could I get a yeast infection from my boyfriend fingering me, after his hands had been all up in my afro — which contained no less than five store-bought hair products?” “Is Taliah Waajid Lock it Up Gel safe for coochie consumption?” The thought would pop into my head and refuse to leave. I’d be enjoying the fingering but trying to map out where the nearest Walgreens was, just in case a chick needed to get some Monistat. If I wasn’t asking myself sex-related hair questions when I was getting it on, I was wondering how dude felt about some aspect of my hair: Did he like how it felt? Would he mess up my twist-out or tug too hard on my Marley braids? The first time I kissed my college boyfriend I had wood smoke in my braid extensions (from a barbeque gone awry). I remember crossing my fingers that he wouldn’t smell it.

As that relationship blossomed, my hair would become part of the foreplay. After I’d worn those smoky Marley Twists for a couple of months, my ex helped me take them out. Every time he pulled a braid extension off and liberated a lock of my real hair he would slide it between his fingers, slick with oil and dirt. Then he would make this satisfied sound like he’d eaten something yummy. Seated on the carpet between his open thighs, my heart and my coochie would swell at the same time. I would get wet as hell. Even more smitten. A dude who could take out some Kanekalon? I was going to marry this man. The moments of doubt only set in that summer when my well-moisturized coils left coconut oil stains on the very expensive pillows in his parent’s house, and both of us were scrambling figuring out what to do. And the time when I took out my braid extensions on vacation, and his white mother saw me go into the bathroom with twists and come out with a matted afro, and looked like she had been caught in the matrix. And he thought that was both racist and hilarious.

He himself, didn’t really care what state my hair was in. But I did.

As sistas, hair carries weight with us. And we take that weight into the bedroom. Don’t we all know a couple of girls who can’t relax during sex because they are too busy trying to keep the guy’s hands out of their weaves lest it snag in a track? I’ve talked to sistas who won’t have sex unless they are on top, because they don’t want to risk their wig shifting or coming off in some acrobatic position. I have some loc’ed friends who prefer to have sex with their hair wrapped up and out of their eyes, but wear their hair down because the guy begged them to — he’d always had a fantasy about being ridden by a Rasta girl with thick ropy dreads swirling around her face. There are undoubtedly some naturalistas who won’t take a shower with a man because they got those big Tracy Ellis Ross curls from a perm rod set and the water would snitch that they actually have 4c hair. I know girls who wait until the guy falls asleep before they put on their bonnet and wake up before him so they can take it off. And everyone, from women in my family to girlfriends from school, has a story about getting a set of cornrows or braid extensions that snatched their edges so tight they couldn’t even make out because their whole face hurt.

But the truth is we don’t just care about our hair because we’re frivolous or have too much time on our hands. We care because our hair has such a politicized history. How we wear it has always dictated how the world judged us, what kind of jobs we got, what kind of men were attracted to us, what our dating pool would be, how “woke” other black people would say that we were.

That’s a tough road to hoe. But my dream is a world where we love and accept ourselves enough that we don’t define ourselves by our hair. We don’t let it dictate how pretty or desirable we feel. We don’t let it limit our capacity for sexual pleasure in the bedroom or deprive us of opportunities to be adventurous. We find sexual partners who make us feel desired in all ways; sexual partners who could not care less if their hand got caught in a track, if the wig fell off, if our locs are up or down, and who have absolutely no hierarchies for hair type, hair length or hair health. People who don’t let what we have on our heads be the basis for whether they are attracted to us or want to be seen with us.

So, this is your homework for the future: Next time you’re in the hair-shop and you can feel shit about to hit the fan, woman up and tell the chick in the doing your ‘do that her braids are robbing you of your edges. No matter how much she tries to convince you that they will soften up, insist that she loosen them or take them out and do them over. Don’t leave that hair-shop needing an Advil. And find lovers who won’t even fuss about not getting any that night, because they understand how much your unrequested facelift hurts and sympathize with the fact that your brain is on fire.

Thanksgiving Quotes By Black Women Poets

Celebrating Thanksginvg

Happy Thanksgiving.

Whether or not you’re eating turkey today, be inspired and uplifted by these quotes from Black women poets who believe in us.

Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.
Maya Angelou

‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.
Alice Walker

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.

Audre Lorde

Perhaps, the problem is not the intensity of your love, but the quality of the people you are loving.
Warsan Shire

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.
Maya Angelou

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.
Oprah Winfrey

And if sun comes / How shall we greet him? / Shall we not dread him, / Shall we not fear him / After so lengthy a / Session with shade?
Gwendolyn Brooks

You can’t write a script in your mind and then force yourself to follow it. You have to let yourself be.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Elizabeth Alexander

Come celebrate with me that every day something has tried to kill me and has failed.
Lucille Clifton

There are people who dislike you because you do not dislike yourself.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.
Alice Walker

Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘jump at the sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.
Zora Neale Hurston

To be a colored man in America … and enjoy it, you must be greatly daring, greatly stolid, greatly humorous and greatly sensitive. And at all times a philosopher.
Jessie Redmon Fauset

I am too many flavors for one f***ing spoon.
I want to erase the lines so I can be me.
If we do not speak, who will?
Staceyann Chin

Light attracts light. But sometimes your light attracts moths and your warmth attracts parasites. Protect your space and energy
Warsan Shire

Be present in all things and thankful for all things.
Maya Angelou

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Melania Vs. Mira: The Battle Of The Baltic Vixens Behind The White House Curtain

No, Mira Ricardel, the Deputy National Security Advisor, Melania just threw out the door is not Latinx or of Italian descent.

The woman’s family is from Croatia.  And, of course, Ms. Melania is from Slovenia. Melania grew up in the former Yugoslavia, where Croats, Slovenians, and Serbs duked it out with other ethnic groups which eventually led to the unravelling of the country less than 100 years after it was created. Generally speaking, Slovenians think very highly of themselves.

Ladies, let’s be honest. We know there’s a backstory behind why Melania, who has almost zero opinions on what’s happening in the White House, insisted on Mira’s ouster. SuzyKnew! has a few speculations about what happened. Such musings have appeared only sparsely on the net. The iron curtain may have been pulled back and the Yugoslav Wars may be over, but battles linked to ethnicity and jealousy continue to rage behind the White House curtain.

People say things between the two Eastern European women went sour during Melania’s trip to Africa.  White House officials say there were problems with seating arrangements on the flight and Mira has “a strong personality.”  Ladies, we know what that means. It’s code for Mira tried to put Melania in her place and Melania wasn’t having it.  We imagine a conversation something like this went down:

“Excuse me, Mrs. Trump, I will be sitting here next to the President on the flight to brief him on security matters. And, by the way, that pith hat you’re wearing is inappropriate. People may be insulted and this could jeopardize our fragile security position in Africa.” 

“What?! Inappropriate?! What does a Croatian peasant like you know? How could you, a Babushka, recognize what is appropriate? And, I, as the First Lady, will sit next to my husband, The President. A very powerful man. We have to discuss our strategy on how to make  Africans understand who’s boss in U.S.-African relationships. My dress and hat signal our strategy. Of course, someone like me – still young with a lovely shape – can be successful in dressing the part. When I reach your age, but of course, I’ll keep my shape…”

“With all due respect, Mrs. Trump, I have been brought here to advise on critical national security issues. I have studied and obtained degrees from top U.S. universities – Georgetown and Tufts – famous for their international security programs. My intellect  – not my looks – is why I am on this trip and need to sit next to the President.”  

“Stop! Mira – we both know people reward us for our blond Eastern European looks!  Your looks helped you just mine have helped me. So, don’t come here and try to pretend you’re better than me because you got some university degree while I opted to be a model – a very successful one, of course!  Plus, I know you probably had to use your looks on a professor or two… YOU’RE FIRED!”

We can agree: Ms. Ricardel is a nice-looking lady And, Melania has had more than her fair share of public drama around women trying to take her man.

So, if Melania didn’t fire Mira as the result of a Baltic War flare up, she may have felt threated by Mira as a woman. Whoopi on ABC’s “The View” and a few of her co-hosts accused Melania of being jealous of Mira. Definitely a possibility. There’s a lot of drama behind the White House curtain.

Regardless. Melania may rebuff the traditional role of FLOTUS. But, SuzyKnew! believes still clings to the iconic role of standing by her man – and country, Slovenia.

Photo credits: Daily News and Fox News

 

Fertility Friday: 7 Things No One Tells You About Menstrual Cups

This week SuzyKnew! shares one of Fertility Friday’s popular blog post and podcasts on menstrual cups by Lisa Henderson-Jack.

Have you ever used a menstrual cup? Let me tell you, they are amazing! So freeing. There were so many things that I loved about menstrual cups right off the bat. I fell in love with the idea of using a product that was made for women by women, I loved using a something that collected my period, instead of absorbing it, and I also felt that I was being rebellious somehow by not participating in the “sanitary napkins” shopping experience at my local drug store anymore. I would walk past the “feminine hygiene” aisle in the store and quietly laugh to myself thinking — HA! I don’t need you anymore, or something to that effect.

One of the huge benefits that I immediately saw after I started using menstrual cups was the cost savings. Instead of spending money every single month on menstrual products I spent my money one time and had a product that was not only more comfortable to use and more effective at collecting my period blood, but since it was a reusable product I was immediately able to make a positive environmental impact by reducing the waste that I was putting out into the world.

Even though I could write a 5,000 word ode to menstrual cups because, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE menstrual cups, and I’ve been using them for going on 15 years now, there are a few things that you need to know if you’re thinking about using them and haven’t tried them yet. If you’ve been using menstrual cups for some time now you’ll be able to relate to many of the experiences that I’ve had and I’d love to hear yours!

So here goes….the 7 things no one tells you about using menstrual cups:

1. At first glance they look kind of…BIG – Um yeah. When you get your brand new menstrual cup and take it out of the package for the first time it looks pretty big. This is definitely a subjective measure, and perhaps your experience was different, but I need to call a spade a spade here. Menstrual cups are at least 2-3 times wider than tampons. Even the super duper “torpedo tampons” (as I used to lovingly call them as a teenager). I’m pretty sure you could stuff at least 3 tampons inside an average sized menstrual cup. My first thought was — where the heck is that supposed to go?

2. There is a steep learning curve – If you thought you were going to buy a menstrual cup and your first experience using it was going to be super easy and wonderful prepare to be disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll eventually have that amazing experience with the birds singing and the amazement from using such an effective and comfortable product, but it doesn’t start out that way.

You’ll likely have at least one day where you feel the cup poking out of you all day if it slips down too far, especially if you’re still figuring out just how far up it really has to go. Once you’ve gotten the hang of how to insert it properly, you’ll get to that wonderful stage where you don’t feel it at all.

Using a menstrual cup is nothing like using a tampon. Most tampons come with applicators, and those applicators allow you to get away with not ever really having to touch yourself. You can use tampons and never have to put your fingers inside your vagina. You can disconnect from the whole experience altogether, but with a menstrual cup there’s no way around it. You’re hands are going in. Possibly further in than they’ve ever been. You’re charting new territory here, and any ideas you had about how long, wide or big your vagina actually is will likely be proven wrong within the first few hours of using your cup!

3. They leak…sometimes – I don’t believe for a second that I’m a unicorn. I can’t be the only one. With that being said, my periods have always been heavy, and that definitely plays a role in the leakage. I fill an entire cup on at least 2 separate occasions during my period, and FYI, when your flow reaches the top of the cup it starts leaking. With that said, I’ve also experienced some degree of leaking even when the cup isn’t 100% full. I’ve experimented with different cups, but even so I’ve found there always to be some degree of leaking involved in the process. Although this is a drawback, I found the leakage situation to be much worse with tampons, and I only experience leakage on my heavy days. As for a solution? I use my cup along with my handy dandy Lunapads washable panty liners, and voila! Problem solved.

4. The first time you use it it will probably feel horrible – I hinted at this above, but I’m giving it it’s own bullet point here. The first time I ever used a menstrual cup I couldn’t figure out how to get it in far enough, and it kind of stuck out all day long. It was rubbing against my vaginal opening all day, and let’s just say it wasn’t a particularly comfortable or enjoyable experience. BUT — and this is really important– it was totally worth it!

Don’t get discouraged if your very first period with the cup isn’t super smooth and easy. Trust me when I say that it’s part of the process. Push through. Expect the first period or two to be a bit dicey. Figure out how to insert the thing correctly. Remember that you can’t feel it at all when it’s in the right place. And to take one step further, if you really do find it uncomfortable there are a plethora of different brands that come in different shapes and sizes. Don’t give up! You’ll find the cup that’s right for you. It’s out there. And you never know, maybe you’ll surprise yourself and get it “right” on your first try.

5. Menstrual cups are way more comfortable to use….once you get the hang of it – If you are or were a tampon or pad user, I believe you’ll love menstrual cups. If you’ve used tampons before then correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve probably experienced the lovely feeling of inserting (or removing) a dry scratchy tampon on one of your light days? When the tampon isn’t soaked, and it just feels wrong when you pull it out? Or worse, you try to pull it out and it doesn’t move…because it’s so dry. Since menstrual cups are designed to collect rather than absorb, this is an issue you’ll never have to face again. Simply rinse your cup and insert – and you’ll never experience that uncomfortable dry scratchy feeling you get with tampons. When it comes to pads, I’ve never been a huge fan of that slippery slimy feeling I get when I use them. You might say that perhaps I’m not using the “right ones”, but either way it’s just not my favorite experience. Again, menstrual cups for the win!

6. Your period is really red, bloody and not completely liquid – If you’re wondering “geez Lisa…tell me what you really think”…fair enough, I’m not exactly known for dancing around the point. When you use a menstrual cup you actually see your period. This may be the first time you’ve ever had the opportunity to see how much you really bleed, what your blood really looks like, and really get the point that your period is what happens when your endometrial lining is shed.

Your period is made up of blood, tissue, and endometrial secretions. It really gets at the point that your period is absolutely not that “blue colored liquid” we see in those creepy menstrual product commercials. You may also come to appreciate how ineffective tampons really are at collecting your menstrual fluid. Once you see what’s really coming out of you, you’ll discover what all the “fuss” is about when it comes to menstrual cups. They are designed to collect your period, and that makes way more sense when you see what’s actually coming out of you!

7. You’ll feel a strange sense of satisfaction every time you walk past the “feminine hygiene aisle” – It’s probably silly to some degree, but using menstrual cups makes me feel kind of like a rebel of sorts. Like I’m rejecting the system and challenging the status quo. Menstrual products are expensive, uncomfortable and bad for the environment.

You can just google “menstrual products landfill” or “how many pads will I use in my lifetime?” to find out how much subscribing to this consumerist model of period management negatively impact’s the world. Just take a moment to think about how much waste menstrual products generate on a global scale. And to make matters worse, these are products that don’t necessarily biodegrade. That means they just sit there for thousands of years and clutter up our beautiful world…but I digress. Environmental rant over.

In addition to the environmental impact, what about the impact on your wallet? How does it feel to know that someone (probably male) is profiting from your natural bodily functions? I’ve often wondered why menstrual products aren’t free and available in every public washroom like toilet paper? Menstrual cups are reusable and sustainable. You pay for this amazing product once, and you are able to rely on it for years. Like 10 or more if you choose. The cost savings over even a 5 year period are formidable, and the experience as a user is much more positive.

All this is to say that I feel a lovely sense of satisfaction whenever I walk past the “feminine hygiene” aisle. Like I’m giving the metaphorical finger to the for profit menstrual product industry. Frankly the phrase feminine hygiene pisses me off a little. It’s a normal bodily function. Why don’t they just label the aisle “pads/tampons/panty liners”? Why is there all this unnecessary secrecy and shame around menstruation? Having periods doesn’t make me “unhygienic” thank you very much, but I’ll leave that discussion for a future post.

If you loved this blog post, I recently released an entire podcast episode on menstrual cups! Click here to tune in.
Now I want to hear from you! Have you used menstrual cups before? Did you like them? What was your experience like? Were you able to find one that works for you? Are you “converted”? Or do you prefer regular tampons and pads? Please share your experiences in the comments clicking here to get to the site!