By Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost
It is eight p.m. on Saturday– time to enter the Red Tent. The rain and clouds add to the darkness soon approaching. I exit my cabin and walk up the curved driveway, past two cabins, and across fifty feet of wet grass. As I approach the three steps up into the red glowing interior, I am not sure of what my experience will be. I remove my pink rain boots and place them on a shoe rack to my left. I reach out with my right hand to pull aside the sheer red drape that creates a soft, vaginal looking opening. Waves of warm sensations bathe me. An amalgamation of dim, but lustrous red tones, a warm temperature, glowing red Christmas lights, and luxurious red velvets, sheers, and silk brocade fabrics drape from the ceiling down to four cushiony soft seating areas. The space is intimate and radiant. I search for a perfect, but private spot to lounge. As I look around, I notice that there are only about ten other women in this space that could probably hold forty. Talking quietly amongst themselves, the women are sitting in the central seating area in a few clusters of two to four women. Grateful in that moment that I do not know anyone, I continue with my quiet experience.
I proceed to sit down in the space to the left of the door. It has a beautiful three-foot-square red velvet pillow that I lean on and occasionally hug. Beneath me is a flat velour-covered box cushion with large fabric covered buttons that extends across the six-foot long bench. Located next to the kitchen and tea area, the space is just long enough to fit two or three people in close proximity, but wide enough to sit cross-legged. Alone, reclining on my pillow, I scan the space and notice that there is an elevated bed in the opposite corner. Underneath is a cube-like, draped cave structure. I think to myself that it would fit my mood, but alas I notice that there are two bare feet sticking out from inside it.
As I sit there with my wandering eyes, a woman comes up to me. She wears a long red sarong, a white t-shirt, and a red flannel shirt. She says hello to me and introduces herself as Rowan. She comments, “Would you like some tea?” She pours me some piping hot “Menstrual Health” tea by Traditional Herbals. As she hands a wide mouthed red cup to me, I comment, “how did you know that I was menstruating?” She pours herself a cup, sits down next to me, and says, “How is your weekend going?” I explain that I have spent most of the weekend in bed with a menstrual migraine, I quit a job that I completely loved, I do not have any money, and my alcoholic ex-boyfriend abandoned me after my IUD insertion that I chose to do to ease my fear of having children. Now I have stabbing menstrual cramps because my uterus does not like the IUD.
(To be continued)