chapter one ~ sustainable cycles, new york, untabooed and my sisters in the sky

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The Magical Menstrual tour sparkled into existence when I met one Ms Ruby; as shiny and beautiful as her name suggests, a bright happy New Yorker, who managed to (despite my crazy jet lag) keep me awake and laughing; carried along by her wonderful energetic personality, stories from on the road (and episodes of Broad City)!

She also introduced me to things called ‘Doubles’ from her local Caribbean food take away shop. The Double, for all who don’t know, consist of two deep fried flat breads served with a big ladel-ful of chickpea stew squidged together in a paper bag, best served as quickly as possible standing on the pavement outside the takeaway with plenty of napkins and no sense of shame (if people catch you dribbling sauce down your chin). Delicious and greasy this little munch filled me up for hours and made Ruby’s beer stash incredibly appealing. The first ‘proper’ night in NYC was shaping up nicely.

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Ruby continued to impress me in many ways; not just her takeaway prowess and food enthusiasm. Not only has she biked across the USA from Coast to Coast over 3000 miles raising awareness, educating and promoting the use of eco-friendly menstrual cups (Sustainable Cycles I’ll say it again, I LOVE you all!), Ruby also has a self employed sewing business, a fighting fish called Vlad and an impeccable eye for style. Her free entry pass to the Botanic garden also had me wowing my way round one of the most hidden unexpected gems of Brooklyn…! Cherry blossom was flowering pretty in pink, and the day was warm and bright. Spring in NYC was in bloom and it smelled divine.
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The second wonder-woman of my tour came by the name of Sarah, a sweet and cool stylish kind of chick, also biked enormous distances with Ruby, and who picked me up one glorious afternoon in a seriously cool GOLD car playing Cypress Hill through the sizeable speakers, as we cruised ‘windows down’ through the sunny streets of Brooklyn and beyond. To a place where there were at least 30 types of toffee apple, millions of food vendors selling candy floss, chips and ice cream; white sand, rollercoasters, and graffiti art… a place where all my childhood fantasies came true – even the ones I didn’t even know I had…This hip bike goddess and her sparkly Ruby had driven me to Coney Island; a warm beach with white sand… in NYC!!
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The following day we gathered for the first Magical Menstrual workshop at Sarah and Taylor’s cute homely apartment, on a red couch and beautiful Persian rug. And there we delved head first into the ways of the menstrual cycle, the highs and lows, and the rich and illustrious discussion that followed. Many womanly secrets were exchanged, and after several hours of focused cycle work and a visualisation we surfaced from the dream, blinking into the Brooklyn night.
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Little did I realise the red couch turned into a sofa bed and that was to be my very cosy home for the next few days. Happy time spent with Sarah and her lovely laid back kind welcoming boyfriend Taylor; guys I truly thank you from my home in the city.
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Our next event, a menstrual collaboration a very long time in the making with it’s roots in February 2016, was our ‘mega menstrual event’ at Feminist Bookstore Bluestockings in a chic/arty/cool/alternative part of town.
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For this mega event there were four of us presenting from three different projects. You know about the Magical Menstrual Tour, and Sustainable Cycles who focus wonderfully on menstrual products, so please allow me to now introduce Diandra – a fiercely intelligent super-sharp witty loveable and funny ‘woman-on-a-mission’ and fellow EcoFemme ambassador who really really cares passionately about menstrual stuff! Founder of her own project ‘UnTabooed‘ Diandra works tirelessly towards breaking menstrual taboo and helping disadvantaged women in NYC have access to sustainable products, prompting discussions about education awareness and the environment.
In short Diandra is out there day and night working so very hard doing unarguably essential grass-roots work; a boldly shining light in a hard world. As I observed her from the opposite side of our bookstore circle I admired how she seemed to take everyone through cloth pads whys and wherefores informatively and efficiently and with wisdom and finesse, a true force of nature and ‘getting things done’. The evening went very well indeed, with many memorable menstrual stories, exchange of experiences, visual aids in the form of more types of cloth pads and cups I had ever seen! I was so excited when I got home I couldn’t sleep.
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We did it, girls!
In the days that followed these marvelous Bluestockings moments I met with Tammy, a superbly knowledgable mother of three teenage boys who tells her story, the essence of which is that out of adversity and making healthy choices she has blossomed into a wise and wild deep and incredibly personable fertility expert! I was very kindly invited to her stunning open-plan city centre family home in the sky with it’s panoramic city views of buildings like the World Trade Centre in downtown Manhattan. This experience was made complete by the presence of none other than Mr Boo Radley an enthusiastic Labrador puppy, comedic in his approach to life, and super-naughty, with his wonderfully lanky legs and sofa-trampling big doggy paws. For a woman surrounded by all-males Tammy had this special ability to nourish me, Earth Mama style with the most wonderfully brewed female-hormone-balancing herbal infusion, and invited me to sit with her and be taken through the most wonderful hand drawn depiction of the fertility cycle I had ever seen, complete with diagrams and everything. I was treated to a summary of her work and wished I could stay longer. I left feeling joyful and more informed, and in awe of my body and it’s fertility.
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 My EcoFemme cloth is getting a holiday too – this time popping up in Chinatown NYC!
And Finally….. Before leaving for the USA I had the fortune to hang out with the sisters in the sky; a group of marvelous wonderful women from London who hosted me the night before I left. Our workshop at their beautiful home was stunning. Chapter one would not be the same without mentioning these sparkling women who started off my trip with generosity kind words and many smiles. Thank you all – our time was precious and I am sending you all loads of love!! Xx

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This journey is to be continued…
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