Welcome to Period Routines, where we spotlight different members of the LOLA community to learn how they manage their period. We want the ins and outs of their monthly routines — how they feel, how they deal, and what they can’t live without.
Want to share your period routine? Leave a comment below.
Today, we’re talking to Jessi Melani, a model and creative living in LA. Jessi talks to us about PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder), her PMS alter ego, and dealing with her period while on the job.
Location: Los Angeles, California
First Period Story
“I wanted to be just like my mom when I was younger. So when I was three years old, I started to carry pads around in a little purse, like she did. I would call them ‘paddies’. When I got my first period, I was at my grandmother’s house the summer before 6th grade, so I had just turned eleven…but I was already equipped, honey! I’d been carrying around my paddies for years at that point, and had learned about what to expect at school.
My Aunty Debbie gifted me with a denim vintage Guess purse to celebrate my womanhood and my period. I still wear that purse to this day! Whenever I get a compliment on it, I always tell people it’s my first period purse.
A Unique Solution to Leaks
When I was in middle school I got home one day and realized I had a blood spot on my cream khaki shorts — I’d leaked through my pad. It wasn’t even a big spot, but I was so embarrassed. I vowed never to let it happen again, so whenever I was on my period after that I’d wear six or seven pairs of underwear to school, all layered on top of each other! It was hilarious and ridiculous.
I was only 11 at the time, so eventually I started using tampons and went back to wearing one pair of underwear on my period. But for a while there, I was packing 30 pairs of underwear whenever we went on a week-long vacation.
My Period Routine
My period comes every 21 days. She’s very punctual. Once she arrives, she stays a full week. On days one and two, it’s a crime scene down there. Day three she’s still fairly heavy. Days four through seven, she’s super light.
I go by Jessi, but “Jessica” is my name for my PMS. That’s how I refer to her. You’ll know when Jessica is here! I’ll get super moody, and have no patience. I’ll cry a lot. I’ll get really frustrated, and my hormones will be totally out of whack. I know when Jessica is on her way because I will want to eat chocolate, and that’s not something I normally crave. When the craving does hit, give me Ferrero Roche – I could buy one of those big ten dollar packs and eat the whole thing in a day.
I suffer from PMDD, which means I experience severe PMS symptoms. I get it all: the cramping, the bloating, the mood swings. My mom and I always say that I’m normal for about two weeks out of every month, because the week before and the week of my period I’m just a mess. Actually, I know Jessica is on her way right now, because I couldn’t get out of bed this morning.
My daily self-care routine goes like this: wake up, talk to myself in the mirror (I say positive affirmations and give thanks to my healthy body), and meditate. This process can take anywhere from three minutes to an hour depending on how much time I have.
However, when I’m on my period I lose interest in this routine, and really every area of my life, because of the PMDD. I don’t feel like taking care of my body and doing the things that I need to. It’s a battle that I have to fight with myself every month, to try to force myself to do my self-care practice and things that I know will bring me happiness.
I am a professional level sulker — I can stay in a rut for hours. So I have things I’ll do to snap myself out of a bad mood, which is more common when I’m on PMSing. Venting to my mom, sister, or cousin, who I’m close with, is helpful. So is going for a drive and listening to music. Watching something funny on Youtube — I like watching Aaliyah Jay, or million dollar home tours. They’re good distractions, and get my mind off whatever’s bothering me.
Keeping up with my appearance is really important for my line of work. And again, when my period is coming, I’m more likely to put off going to a nail salon, getting my hair cut and colored. So now, I schedule a day during my period to clean my home and pamper myself.
I like to use Lush shower bombs and light candles when I’m on my period. I love the smell of lemons, so usually if I buy anything fragranced it’s lemon-scented. My go-to period outfit is an oversized t-shirt and granny panties from Target. I always use Midol for period pain. And I recently started using organic products — I use plastic applicator tampons and LOLA pads.
Managing My Period While Modeling
If I’m on my period and have a shoot coming up, I’ll refrain from eating anything that will bloat my stomach, since I’m usually already bloated due to PMS. I have a little pink sparkly travel bag that I keep all of my period products in, and I’ll make sure it’s in my model bag when I’m traveling for work. Even when my period isn’t due I’ll bring it along — sometimes another girl on the shoot will get her period and need a tampon, so it’s helpful to have it on me at all times just in case.
Honestly, my best hack is just checking and changing my tampon frequently. It sounds simple, but going to the bathroom every two hours and changing your pad or tampon goes a long way in preventing leaks. And, it gives me peace of mind.”