The Moon In Me

I have always felt the pain of sexual violence. It’s been my call to make change in the world.

When doing my own sexual healing, I found the gaping space between how sex was formally taught in school but somehow missed the marked entirely and the shame keeping us from speaking truthfully about everything sexual that has been kept secret, has always sat like a ball of knots way down inside of me.

I spent years trying to find the words to name the unsaid feelings and build the courage to express them, thus breaking the spell.  To explain how, in school and society we’re taught about our health clinically, overlooking the elephant in the room—shame, only making the feeling bigger and more all-consuming. Shame and silence which keeps us from experiencing pleasure.

The gap in sex-ed is something I have tried to fill with awareness, listening, honesty and storytelling since I was 19. When my body was part of Toronto I took all of my rage of injustice in the world, and funnelled it into education by starting a women’s sexuality magazine. 

Six years after the magazine started, I realized that there was a gap not only in the world, but in myself that I needed to heal before continuing to work in progressing the global healing I wanted to accomplish.

The fire to move forward is only truly effective when met with a true sense of self that we often don’t find in school. So, the next year after closing the magazine, my daughter and I moved from Toronto to a little island in BC, where I found I could look inward, into the layers that kept secrets down. A place full of trees that was more feminine in nature, a part in myself I hadn’t been able to access before but always knew was there.

My daughter was eleven when we moved and I wanted to share so much with her that I hadn’t embodied yet. Not long after was when I had the first inkling to write a period book for girls. The relationship between my daughter and I which had the seeds of our family history, the essence of sexual health—being in one’s own body, and looking at oneself with love, were the soup that healed me. To continue with my work in the world I needed to tend the work inside myself, getting to the root of what was buried in my womb, covering it like shadow.

The relationship between her and I was one of the first things I started to consciously change. I began my own practice of forgiveness to create love between us that would span further than her and I.

As I started researching about women’s bodies and menstruation for the book, certain things popped out to me that I hadn’t seen before—the correlation between the plant world and our bodies: plant reproductive anatomy, and, how our bodies respond to how/what we think. 

This is something I unraveled for years as I payed more attention to the many thoughts I carried deep down without knowing it, and how they were affecting me and my cycle. My body held memory that was being stored and my body was responding every month to what wasn’t being let go, uncovered, and looked at.  

It was during this time in my life that I realized that in order to make a real difference in the world I would have to start at the ground level of how women are taught to view themselves. The very core of who we are. 

For four years I tried to shine a light on everything that felt dark that I was carrying in my womb. From experiencing sexual trauma, growing up in a patriarchy and going to public school which is  a capitalist, colonial, indoctrinating system. I was prime for clearing everything out and starting fresh, so I could hear my body calling to me. 

For those four years I did daily womb healing in the form of reiki, visualization, and meditation. Womb healing for me also included un-learning and replacing old information with empowering information about the body and women’s health as a topic. 

The more I ‘cleared’ from my womb, at the same time it was as though a door was being opened up to my ancestors. To their voices that had never been heard, and pain that hadn’t been acknowledged. 

It was the misinformation and shame that was a kind of suppression that was holding their voices down. As I let it come up, their voices started naturally coming through, which isn’t something I had been educated in or expected to experience, it just revealed itself.

I practiced being honest with my daughter in every aspect of my life. If I was learning it was easiest to ‘let her in on it,’ instead of waiting until I knew everything, so we could grow and learn together.

I asked her to draw the illustrations for the book because I wanted to teach her. When I first asked she felt shame like many girls do. But is now immensely proud of the work she's done.

We talked about the characters in the book being of colour because we're both women of colour and deserve to be represented. Also, because where I grew up in rural Ontario I didn't see myself portrayed in any media, on t.v., in the library, or in school. It wasn't until I was 12 when I spent the summer in another city, that I finally saw myself represented for the first time. Because of the way I grew up, it was actually hard for me to include only children of colour in our book. I felt like I was going to be shamed for them just like I had been shamed by not feeling represented in the past. And that's exactly why we did it, we did it for the little me that needed to see herself reflected, and for other little girls, like my daughter who will feel seen and accepted when they look at this book.