The Menstruant is about stories.
The stories we tell ourselves about who we are, who we aren't, where we're going, and what it will look like when we've gotten there.
I've come to believe that stories are how we save ourselves. Not just in terms of the idea that we need to be visible—in fact, visibility itself is a story that I'd like to complicate—but that we need narrative shapes to hold us, like shells. That it becomes very difficult to contain our lives without these narrative shells.
But stories are also how we get ourselves into trouble. We find ourselves stuck in narratives that don’t serve us. As a trans person, I spent years describing my gender as something that “doesn’t match” my sex assigned at birth—until one day I started to wonder what metaphors were contained in the idea of “not matching.”
As a pregnant person, I was led to believe that my body would grow and grow until I (metaphorically) popped, but that narrative frame sounded too much like a cis male orgasm, so I challenged myself to find another shape for the story of a pregnancy.
As a writer, I even stopped to wonder why I kept saying I wanted to “grow my newsletter.”
The Menstruant started when my life diverged from the story I’d laid out for myself.
Several years ago, I couldn’t get pregnant when I wanted to be, so eventually I let go of that dream, moved away, and pursued my dream of focusing on my writing.
In June 2022, I released an essay collection, Even the Cemeteries Have Space Here—with the description, “A trans man, devastated by infertility, moves to a small town to start over, and immediately gets his period back.”
The day the book came out, I realized I was pregnant.
The essays in the archive trace my experience of pregnancy as a trans man—the tensions between visibility and invisibility, the sorrow and the freedom in not finding one’s own image within archetypal concepts, and the wild embodied experiences that any pregnancy entails.
I’m no longer pregnant, and instead I’m feeling my way into this postpartum trans body.
But the essays in The Menstruant continue to ask about the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and where we’re going.
I am constantly looking at the shapes we give our stories.
I am constantly in search of better metaphors.
Finn’s essays about embodiment and fertility are some of the fiercest and freshest writing I have come across.
—Sophie Strand, author of The Flowering Wand and the forthcoming The Madonna Secret
Generous, raw, and thoroughly examined, Finn's explorations and updates of his life as a pregnant man are relevant to absolutely every human alive. I am super grateful for this publication.
—Laura Sullivan Cassidy, GRIEVER’S BALL
Finn makes me a better person through his generous and thoughtful explorations of his human experience.
— Jenny Forrester, author of Narrow River, Wide Sky
Intimate and wise, Finn Schubert's writing transcends the personal and takes readers on urgent journeys deep into their own being and experience.
— Perdita Finn, co-author of The Way of the Rose and author of the forthcoming Take Back the Magic
About Finn Schubert
Finn Schubert (he/him) is the author of Even the Cemeteries Have Space Here, an essay collection exploring his move from NYC to a small town to grieve his infertility. (In a weird twist, he got pregnant as soon as the book came out.) He is a Moth StorySlam-winning storyteller, and his writing has appeared in TheBody, Lit Star Review, and the anthologies Transcending: Trans Buddhist Voices and Places Like Home. When he’s not writing, he’s a public health researcher and program manager focusing on LGBTQ+ health equity.