I bought it at the Wellness warehouse and it came in a nice white box with silver sparkles on. There were no sizes, so I assumed that these would all be reasonable and fit most vaginas. Walking out of the shop I felt excited about a life soon to be free of tampons and their associated leaks, stupid cotton strings in hospital colours, and the expense of paying R8 per day to bleed.

Image from the Menstrual Cups Galore pinterest boardI got to the bus stop, and excitedly opened the box. Inside were some instructions and the moon cup. It was about the size of an egg cup. Big I thought, but I figured if a penis could fit inside, so could this silicone cup. And it would so that I could completely boycott bleached cotton plugs up my vagina.

It told me I had to boil the cup, which was made of silicone, before use, and after my period finished. Then I had to place it in the bag provided. I looked in the box again. No bag. Someone must have opened the box and taken it out. And touched my mooncup.

The last bus home was just arriving but it was either go back now and swap the cup, or wait another month to use it. I grumpily got up and walked past my ride home back into the store.

The security guard wanted me to explain. “I just bought this, and its supposed to come with a bag, but when I opened it the bag was gone. So I want to swap it for one with a bag.” “But what is it?” He asked. I began to blush, damning myself for blushing. “It’s a moon cup” I said with as much defiance as possible, and stormed past him into the shop.

I began opening all the other boxes and found that they too had had their bags removed. A syndicate carrying their treasures in small bags? At the back of the shelf was a last box, still sealed. I opened it and it contained a pretty blue and green bag. I made the exchange at the till and rushed down to the train station to catch the next one home.

At home, and ready to get going, I boiled my silicone cup in my egg pot for the required 5 minutes, and then one more minute for luck. I went to the bathroom, instructions in one hand, silicone cup in the other.

I sat down. The instructions told me to fold the circular cup in half until it made a sort of smiley face. I did so. It still looked huge. Then, I had to insert it using almost my whole hand, and when it was in far enough, release it. When it opened inside, I should feel if it had made a circular seal. The tiny silicone tip (which replaced the string you’d normally have on a tampon) was only short, and wouldn’t stick out much. The guide recommended lube to help you get it in the first time. I dutifully lubed up the rim of the cup.

First try: I squeezed the cup hard to fold it, the silicone not as bendy as I would have hoped. As I lowered it down and was about to get to putting it in, it unfolded and jumped out of my lubed fingers and into the air. I reached up and caught it before it fell down.

Second try: I squeezed it harder this time, using two fingers to keep it in the smiley face that would then unfold. I used two fingers to put it in, and held my other hand beneath it in case it fell in the loo. It went in. But, it wasn’t unfolding. I had to reach in and twist it slightly according to the booklet, so I spent about five minutes rummaging around my vagina, trying to hold onto the tiny silicone ‘string’ long enough to twist it. Finally it turned and I felt a little suction. Pleased with myself and with fingers covered in lube and blood I stood to wash my hands. Immediately I felt that tiny silicone string begin to stab the side wall of my vagina.

Now, I was feeling quite deflated at this stage. What was supposed to be my liberation from the boringness of tampons, had taken up a sizeable amount of my time and was stabbing me. This was not what I had expected. I walked around for a while, but then couldn’t take it any more.

So I decided to take it out. The instructions said put your finger in and press lightly against the side whilst turning the almost non-existent silicone string. Yes. That’s right. Put your whole hand inside your vagina to take this bugger out.

I sat back on the loo, after washing my hands for what felt like the gazillionth time that day. I put one finger in, and tried to manuovre it as I was supposed to. No joy. Two went in. When I got a grip on the silicone string, I forgot all about the twisting in my delight, and pulled. ERROR!

I felt like I was vacuuming out my brain. I’m convinced that some of my womb moved a little further down by body so strong was the suction from the moon cup. After recovering my senses and screaming ‘fuck fuck fuck’ into my clenched fist I took a deep breath. Relax, I told myself. Relax and breathe.

I tried again, two fingers and twists and succesfully heard a ‘pop’ sound from my vagina. The seal had broken. I was free. Inside my mooncup was about one drop of dark red blood.

I cooked the mooncup again, and put it safely in its cutesy blue and green bag. I have never been as happy to have a tampon in me as I was that day.