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With more than 84% of women experiencing painful periods, there’s no wonder why “that time of the month” is filled with negative connotations. As someone who doesn’t fall into the 84% percent noted in that study, I can still attest to factors like age, stress, and lifestyle affecting my menstrual cycle and the way I experience my periods. Gone are the days when my symptoms peaked at salty and sweet cravings, and in its wake, I’ve been introduced to cramping, low estrogen levels, and a heavier flow than I’ve experienced in all my years of having a period. Where I used to look at my periods as a time of the month when was indifferent, I am now feeling the effects and I can only imagine how the other 84% of women reporting period pain go through (more power to y’all, for real).

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For years, well into adulthood, I was horrible at tracking menstruation. The signs would be there but I was not attuned and attentive to what was going on with my body. At some point during the pandemic, I started gardening and using menstrual blood to fertilize my plants. That was the catalyst for my interest in menstruation, but just a mild interest in the way that I tend to live. And during this brief period of piqued interest, I for some reason was prompted to look into tracking my period based on the lunar cycle.

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Ironically enough—considering the way the word begins—the love-hate relationship that we have with menstruation is comparable to the way in which we navigate the world of men. It’s very much “can’t live with it, can’t live without it” vibes when it comes to women and their cycles. But the older I get, the more I learn to hate that time of the month a little less. A lot of my learning to embrace my period has come with learning the fun, interesting, and “witchy” stuff while discovering more natural, in-tune ways of minimizing the pain in my ass (those cramps know no bounds) amongst other places.

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Wellness seems to be the "it" buzzword of the day, but it's not something to take lightly. As Black women, it's important to be able to tap into what keeps us happy, mentally balanced, and all-around good. And while beauty and fashion are important aspects of life, there are a few trends we all should at least consider in order to not only stay on top of what keeps us ticking, but also upgrade out of the obligatory coach seat of that wellness journey.

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Back when I was touring heavily and the topic of my abstinence journey would come up, it never failed that, during the Q&A portion, someone would ask me how they could effectively attempt, at least a few months of being "eggplant free". Something that I would share, consistently so, is "watch who you're around when you're ovulating" — you know, when it's that time of the month when an egg is released from one of your ovaries and it has about 48 hours to be fertilized by somebody's son's sperm (this typically happens around the 14th day if you're on a 28-day menstrual cycle or 4-5 days before or after the midpoint of your period). Why was that my advice?

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Do we blame Eve for biting the apple? Did God curse women with periods because Eve partook in the forbidden fruit? This word-of-mouth story has been passed down for generations by mothers to daughters and in this game of telephone it seems that we developed "The Miseducation of Cycles." Welp, it's time to spread the truth about the menstruation cycle and the two most important phases — menstruation and ovulation.

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