Hispanic Heritage Month Featuring Andoeni
Tell us a bit about you and about your background!
Andoeni Ruezga. I am a Creator and Menstrual Health Advocate! I am Mexican-American. I live in San Diego, CA
Culturally, how is menstruation discussed?
Almost non-existent. And if and when it is, it is surrounded by taboos and a sense of awkwardness. Now I am the one bringing up many of these topics to my family. It is funny to see the difference in tone of voice between myself and older generations when speaking about menstrual or reproductive health. A simple example, many people mostly say "mi parte" or "my part" when referring to their vaginas. It's something as "small" or "simple" that makes you see how much negative stigma there is around menstrual health today. It's something you don't talk about when male cousins or uncles are around and I still hear of many dads who don't dare to buy period products for their daughters. It's crazy how it's normalized to buy condoms for the boys in the family when they are "of age" but still taboo to buy period products.
Do you consider your cycle normal?
It is a regular cycle but it is not "normal". I have struggled with extreme menstrual pain since I was 14 years old. Almost 10 years later, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis and Adenomyosis. When I got diagnosed, it was a mix of 2 feelings: frustration and relief. I felt relieved that there was finally an answer to my pain and symptoms but I was also frustrated that it took so long to understand why this was happening.
I really only live completely pain-free for about a week out of the month. There is also a huge issue within the Latino community when it comes to Endometriosis diagnosis and management. Most of it stems from the lack of conversations about menstrual health. I am working on trying to spread the word in the Spanish-speaking community through social media with Cuerpo Curativo. All in the hopes that more Latinas feel comfortable speaking about their symptoms and sharing their experiences.
What is your fave Rif Care product
I have to say period underwear. I can't get over how cute they are!!! I never would have thought there could be sexy period underwear out there. I will never get tired of saying how they really changed the way I sleep while on my period. I have less anxiety that I will stain the bed and feel at ease if I move around during the night.
How have you changed the narrative of how you see your body and your womanhood?
I am honestly still working on it. I think as women we have so much pressure to always look good and feel good. Having a more positive outlook on the changes your body is going through is very difficult to do when you grow up in a culture that mostly criticizes women for not "doing" or "being" good enough. Given this, I also think it is difficult to go through the changes a woman's body does when it starts maturing. Some of the things you did before start to not work for your body anymore.
I felt lost for a very long time and I still do most days. I started to question myself and my confidence plummeted. The best thing I am learning to do now is to celebrate my small wins and let go of the sense of guilt. Especially when dealing with a chronic condition. I am not at a point where I unconditionally love my body yet, if I said I am I would be a hypocrite.
I am grateful for it and show up in the ways I can. I also don't resent it for trying to survive given what is going on inside me. Everything goes back to taking it day by day, un paso a la vez.
What would you tell your younger self about womanhood?
It is painfully beautiful. It is a tough place to be in but you'll start to slowly see that I wouldn't want to be anything else. Embrace your sensitivity because this is what living is about and keep your child [like ways] alive. You'll need her when the days feel heavy.
You can shop Andoeni's affiliate code all month with this link! And get 15% with code AND15