A Poem for #nationalperiodday

October 19th was #nationalperiodday and we’ve been honored to be partnering with Period Movement all month long to raise awareness for Period Equity and to bring an end to Period Poverty.

Vira was a speaker at the NYC rally and was brought to tears when Karma Sesley shared her poem about growing up affected by period poverty.  

We are lucky to be sharing her poem with you today and hope that you can share this post to raise awareness about period poverty.

Follow us @suiheartclub and check out @periodmovement to learn more about #nationalperiodday.


This is the Wrong Way to Learn Humility
By Karma Selsey

Shame is woven into the toilet paper in the bathroom stall,

the makeshift protection I create for myself on those weeks

I’m out of stock.

Shame clouds my mind as I sense the patch of red on my backside,

a glaring reminder that my plan didn’t work,

that I couldn’t outsmart my poverty.

Shameful is the diaper that rests between my legs, you know,

the one that school machines dispense for free because

of course those who need free deserve poorer quality.

Shameful is the need, the lack of choice, to have to need anything

for free to stop the blood from drenching your legs, your pants,

your underwear, your bedsheets.

Pain is doubling over in the hallway, leaning against every single wall

in sight because if I attempt to stand I will land on the ground


Pain is the Midol sitting in my drawer taunting me, the idea of ibuprofen in my bloodstream

threatening to mix with my antidepressants keeping me away.

But we don’t talk about that because it’s all just PMS.

Painful is our government who chooses to pay for Viagra for the military

because their erectile dysfunction means more than me,

more than my body.

Painful is the body I inhabit, the muscles that contract, so much so

that they tear me apart from the inside, so much so that sometimes,

I would rather die.

And yet, it is my duty to be humble, peaceful, quiet, for it is a crime

to be angry while black, to be a nasty woman.

I must sit in silence as my lack of access consumes me, pushing me into the abyss,

my nail beds bloody as my inner thighs, as I claw my way out.

To have humility is not to have hardship or lack choice or a means of


I should know; I am a survivor myself.

Karma Selsey is the School Representative Organizer for Fridays for Future NYC and a member of the public action team with Teens Take Charge. Within the period movement, she advocates for the inclusion and representation of low-income menstruators of color, as well as the elimination of the idea that menstrual equity is a “women’s” issue. Follow her on instagram @karmaselsey.

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