Writer, journalist, and menstrual cup advocate
- That’s Nadeesha Paulis for you
By Shakira Shareef
I have been in awe of Nadeesha Paulis since the day I checked out her website and LinkedIn profile. As a fellow freelance writer, I have learnt a lot from her. Her recent SEO workshop made me realise how humble and fun she is. On top of being a writer and a mentor, she’s also an amazing human, making menstruation a little more tolerable by opening a platform to talk about it.
Let’s get to know Nadeehsa Paulis this week.
About Nadeesha Paulis
Many people would answer this question with something interesting, inspiring, or educational but Paulis caught me off guard because she didn’t want to be known. To quote her exact words, she said: “I mean, I don’t want to be known.”
Writing and advocating for the menstrual cup are things she does, not who she is. “I don’t want to be anyone, I’m no one,” she said. She shared that she doesn’t know who she is because she’s nothing, but she’s confident she’ll find out.
Becoming a writer and a journalist
Before becoming a writer, she worked at a bank – for three weeks. She quit the job because it didn’t feel like the right place for her. She was trying to figure it out when her mom said to her: “Why don’t you write something on a blog?”. Her mom herself has a blog, one of the first ever blogs in Sri Lanka – aljuharawrites.blogspot.com – and that’s where it all began.
Paulis started blogging and it led her to becoming a writer and, eventually, a journalist. In other words, it was all very spontaneous yet interesting.
It’s even more exciting to learn that Paulis and her mom co-authored a book called ‘Water in My Grave’. Horror story lovers, this might be for you.
Writing for a living
As a fellow writer, I had never thought of this concept in a different light until I got in touch with Paulis. Although writing is one of the things she does to make money, she wouldn’t term it as “writing for a living”.
She believes that if you’re writing for a client, at the end of the day, it’s for them, not for you. So it can’t be treated as something you do for yourself. It’s still great because you add value to your client, and you can definitely enjoy it, but writing for yourself is different. Writing in itself is a divine craft, like all other crafts or services, according to Paulis.
Writing and literature have shaped the course of humanity and civilization. Communicating and connecting with other humans by writing words that translate human emotion and feeling should be valued and appreciated.
This task should not be taken lightly. We must write as though it is a service to God, to nature. When we write like that, we enjoy the process, and it doesn’t weigh you down or add more burden to your already full plate.
In Paulis’ own words: “Be slow and flow as a river, and everything will fall into place in its own time.”
Advocating for menstrual cups
Women go through a lot, and menstruation doesn’t make anything easier. Menstruation in a woman’s body signifies balance. Our bodies are in balance when we bleed. When bleeding stops or takes time or is too painful, it may be of concern – often termed as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, heavy bleeding, and so on. If you’re bleeding in a way that you cannot bear, you are encouraged to seek medical intervention.
The menstrual cup or menstrual cup is an invention that has helped Paulis make sense of it all. It’s cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Buy it once, and you can use it for 10 years. With the cup, periods are less troublesome and more bearable. “The period cup has freed me, and I invite other menstruators to also feel this freedom,” Paulis shared.
I asked Paulis how one can find the courage to try it. She said fear and danger are two very different things. “Danger is real and you can evaluate where you stand with it. But your fear is in your mind. To change it, you must face it,” she said. And that made sense.
Are Sri Lankans better at discussing menstruation?
Paulis believes that we’ve passed the talking stage, so we’re now in the “walk the talk” stage. She suggests doing whatever you can to make menstruation tolerable for women, including educating yourself about everything that you need to know. It could be anything from periods to sex-ed. “Boys and girls, learn what an IUD is, learn what a vasectomy is. Do your part to make it easier for everyone. Knowing is half the battle won,” she said.
All about Book Swap Sri Lanka
Paulis is an avid reader, so a fellow reader would understand the urge to make reading available to everyone. Book Swap Sri Lanka was founded to make knowledge available to everyone. Purchasing a book benefits the author, so the collective doesn’t exchange Sri Lankan writers’ works. Exchanging books has opened people to more lives and thoughts and feelings, and it also allows the writers’ work to travel far and wide.
The collective wants people to know, benefit, and enjoy the art. Through Book Swap Sri Lanka, anyone can travel through a book. The human experience should be accessible to everyone. “Our motto in Book Swap is, what you give, you shall get. And that was pretty much the only intention with it,” she added.
Some general life advice from Paulis
Paulis asked everyone to enjoy their lives and live them. “Just live it. Have fun, and don’t be too hard on yourself. We’re humans and make mistakes, so don’t be embarrassed about it. Set your intentions in life, be honest with yourself (invite your demons to have a ‘kahata koppe’ (black coffee) with you), and life will fall into place.”
PHOTOS © NADEESHA PAULIS