A Drip. A Drop. A Deluge: A Period Tragicomedy
Although we may have been conditioned for a long time to feel as if periods are the "end of the world," we're here to remind you they are not!
Today we invited @andeasyand to join us with some Period Stories! Andeasyand is the author and illustrator of A Drip. A Drop. A Deluge: A Period Tragicomedy >> a beautifully illustrated short comic inspired by true stories from Asian menstruators, released today by Difference Engine.
Andeasyand, 32, was born and raised in Singapore. She is the oldest of a family of 3 children. By day, she is a user-experience designer and, on her spare time, she has been making sense of life through drawing since mid 2014.
Her journey into the world of illustration actually started without any drawing! She used to express herself mainly through writing.
I would have random sheets of writings and journals. It was only in my mid-twenties that I started drawing because I ran out of words to describe feelings.
While experimenting with a new way of shaping her lack of words through drawings, she decided to turn it into a year of creative habit. Slowly, the words came back and making comics became a longer form of expression, allowing her to communicate in a way words could not on their own.
Diving into this new universe, Andeasyand started to explore what was out there. The first comic she read as an adult was "I Kill Giants" by Joe Kelly and artist Ken Niimura.
I think that it opened my mind’s eye to see the possibilities of what comics could be, with tenderness and emotions - away from the perhaps slapstick humour, that I used to associate it with and still enjoy!
When we asked about what had driven her to write a whole comic book about periods, she answered:
I started illustrating about menstruation when I could not articulately describe a particular shame with the entire menstruation cycle. How can I tell you I ate a whole tube of oreos and actually found it funny and embarrassing both at the same time? Or that I cried and laughed all within the same hour? How can I show you the complexity of our human emotions? In a sense it started out as a way to park my shame with hopes that it could connect with someone. Over time, people started sharing about their periods and hormonal changes with me and it felt like a normal thing to draw about.
I hope this comic could be a ticket that people can use to start the conversation (about periods), even though they really do not need it!
There are around 5,000 euphemisms in 10 different languages that describe periods. Menstruation is often seen as gross, despite the fact that it is the most natural thing in the world. For Andeasyand, menstrual stigma came to her not in a shape of a comment, but as a feeling: that menstruations are dirty and should not be talked about. Who hasn't been there?
As a late blooming adolescent from a mixed school, she did not understand why girls would attempt to pass pads discreetly. Also, as a Muslim, her mother would attempt to tell her brother in many different ways why she would not wake up for pre-dawn meal during fasting month.
To those, I’ve waved a pad in class and told my brothers: "it’s menstruation". I also found the mansplaining accusations that someone is pms-ing rather demeaning. I’ve since tried to take some empowerment back by explicitly saying: "I think I am PMS-ing"; not as an excuse for bad behaviour but perhaps as a plea for empathy and self-awareness.
On the other hand, at some point in a menstruator's life, someone shows up with a few words of wisdom that open up a whole new world for us! It’s when we learn to see menstruation through a different lens, a less stigmatising one. It feels like a giant hug! For Andeasyand, her first illuminating conversation with an adult about menstruation was when they started by saying: “For me, it’s...”. It helped her to understand that everyone experiences periods differently.
It led me to recognising that I get a constipation-diarrhea combo prior to my period, which I later learnt is related to prostaglandins. How do we not learn this in school ever?
When Difference Engine reached out to create A Drip. A Drop. A Deluge: A Period Tragicomedy, Andeasyand felt it was a remarkable opportunity to explore different angles on menstruation. For her, talking to people about their periods on the premise of research was something that she loved doing! She said people would freely speak about it with her, without feeling like they ought to censor their own experience.
I would like people to know that there is no perfect cycle/uterus/hormones/ovaries and I hope we spend less time judging our body, but instead sit within it and ask, “what are you telling me? What do I need?”
You can purchase A Drip. A Drop. A Deluge: A Period Tragicomedy at Difference Engine's website :)
Hurry up to get a copy!