Meet May 2021's cover artist, Arna Kristjansdottir! She is an Icelandic artist based in London. A creative at heart, she is an illustrator, performer, prop-maker and workshop-facilitator. But art isn't her only passion, she has made it her mission to empower people to love their bodies through her work via drawings and workshops.
See more of her work on Instagram @compliment.each.other.
Q: Why did you start the Compliment Each Other Instagram account?
A: I started Compliment Each Other by holding a compliments-diary for myself to learn to remember and accept compliments I got. I illustrated pictures of myself on one page and a compliment on the other. I found it to be a very positive and therapeutic experience. I then realized everyone around me was struggling with the same thing and I wanted to give people permission to be proud of their compliments and that’s why I started sharing my art on Instagram. Now it has evolved into doing custom compliment drawings of people and hosting workshops about compliments.
Q: Are you in love with your menstrual cycle? If so, how did you learn to love it and what do you recommend menstruators do to fall in love with theirs? If not, why and what do you think you could do to fall in love with it?
A: It took me a long time to accept my menstrual cycle. I started my period when I was 12 and as a child it was very traumatic and a lot of shame followed it. Now I have learned to love my body and having periods is a part of that process. I look at the human body as incredible, even magical. I feel the first step to falling in love with your menstrual cycle is returning all the shame around it. In a way you need to own it.
Q: What was the inspiration to create the illustration you made for Lady Box?
A: I thought about my own experiences and the shared experiences of people that menstruated. Craving pizza, blood-stained jeans, which isn’t anything to be ashamed about and then how I practice self-care when I’m menstruating.
Q: How do you practice period self-care?
A: I take long baths sometimes, do my nails to feel pretty, I don’t talk negatively about my body even when it’s bloated and I eat what I crave without guilt.
Q: What advice do you have for young menstruators?
A: I remember as a kid I just used the same brand of pads as my mom used but something that works for your mom or your friends might not necessarily be the best for you. There are so many options out there so I’d talk to my parents about different types of products and see if you can find something that will make your life more comfortable. Also, it will get better. You will learn to know your cycle and even get used to it.
Q: What advice do you have for seasoned (18 and older) menstruators?
A: Alright, this is going to be graphic so if you are prudish then you might want to skip this one, but it has honestly helped me so much with managing my period flow. I think we all know the feeling of frustration when we step out of the shower and we start drying ourselves and we’ve already stained the towel in like a second and we’re dripping on the floor and we feel like we have to shower all over again. What I do to avoid this scenario is to literally squat in the shower and scoop out the blood that is sitting in the vaginal canal with my fingers until no more blood comes out. This can prevent any bleeding for a few hours for me personally and I hope it can help you too.
Q: What has been your favorite compliment that you’ve received this year?
A: It is hard to pick one. “You don’t have negative narratives” was a wonderful compliment. I don’t necessarily think it’s entirely true, however I do try really hard to be mindful of how I think and I try to think positively. It’s encouraging that someone noticed that.