Friday, August 5, 2011

What It Looks Like For Me

I wondered seriously about posting this entry. It’s extremely personal and screams T.M.I. (too much information). But I so don’t want to feel censored in my writing. I’m struggling right now between the difference in revealing too much and putting myself out there for “friends” (or even family members) to state their disdain and disapproval of my choice of words, topics of conversation, or even the pictures I share on Facebook – and being an authentic writer that attracts the right audience to her.

I think this topic that I’ve written about today is one that all women face, or have faced in the past, or will face in the future. So, it seems rational that I’d speak of it here. It just happens to broach a delicate subject.
Delicate because we’ve been socially conditioned to believe that any substance leaving our bodies is dirty. And that’s simply not accurate. In fact, it’s taken me years to shed (Eew. No pun intended.) the belief that every month I did something so shameful and unclean that I couldn’t tell anybody about it, couldn’t have sex during it, had to use perfumed “feminine articles” to further hide it, and just generally pretend it wasn’t happening. And if anyone saw you purchasing tampons or pads. How embarrassing.

But it isn’t something to feel shame over. It isn’t something that needs to feel embarrassment about. It’s natural and beautiful. Well. What it stands for is. What it feels like is not. And for my non-female readers, here’s what it’s like for me:

Today I’m feeling blah. Soft, sore, and full. Full of everything. Breast tenderness, Lower back pain. Emotional waves. And. Yes. Some irritation. Like, my twelve year old is whistling loudly next to me. But mostly I suffer from random bouts of emotional overwhelm, rather than get bitchy. (As in: I cry at the drop of a hat. Two days ago I bawled after giving an elderly homeless man five bucks, because I was devastated that no one was taking care of him in his old age, and I missed my grandparents, who both died a couple of years ago. Also, I cried for the last hour of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two yesterday.) PMS has been touted as the “angry week” before a woman starts the bleeding part of her cycle. But I just cry.

Usually, my cycle is 28 or 29 days long. I know, almost to the day, when my bleeding will start. Which is handy. For all sorts of things.

For me personally, the day before I start is an exhausting, headachey type of day. And then the first day of actual bleeding is unspeakable. I don’t want to be in public. I don’t want to stand up. I don’t want to eat. Or maybe I do and all I want is cinnamon toast and chocolate. I feel nauseous and achey. (Maybe because of all the cinnamon toast and chocolate.) All I want is to lay around in a (insert literary reference here, i.e. “red tent”) and read or watch Jane Austen movies. I want to be babied and taken care of. Or, at the very least, I don’t want to figure out what’s for dinner, or … you know … make it.

So, this week I’ve been feeling under the weather a little bit. All sorts of reasons why flit through my head: allergies, not eating well, not sleeping enough, not drinking enough water, stress, accidentally eating gluten on Wednesday … but I’m wondering if it’s just that I’m going to start bleeding early. Or maybe, goddess forbid, my body is just spending a long time getting ready this month. Ug. Usually my body just takes a day or two at most where I have to stand this achey-ness and getting ready-ness. But it’s four days already and I’ve still got two more, according to the calendar. I’m losing energy as we speak. My back is rounding in the chair, the kids are pissing me off because they’re laughing (that’s totally a sign I’m off my game), I’m not hungry, nor have I been all day (it’s 4:37pm), and I am yearning for my bed and a book.

But. Instead. I have promised my son I’d take him miniature golfing tonight.

Female Readers: What do you do to keep safe and sane during the “Week Before”? Or on the worst days for you – what do you do to nurture yourself?

Male Readers: What do you do for the woman in your life (or want to do to) when she is on her cycle?

And that brings me to another question. Dude. What do you call this? I’ve always hated the word “period.” “On the rag” is just gross. “Moon cycle” sounds hippyish, but doable. I usually shorter it to “my cycle,” but if you wanna get accurate, the whole month is the cycle -- I just want a title for the time while a woman is actually bleeding on her cycle.

I don’t really like any of the options I’ve heard in my lifetime. Anybody got any others?


eli munroe said...

Ok, so I tried to leave a comment with my Iphone and had it all done then poof! gone. Jesus I hate that. Let's try this again. So in our house, or should I say our 'red tent', love that book by the way, we call it our "moon". We also call the vagina a yoni because according to my lesbian daughter the word vagina actually means 'sheath for a sword'. Now I am sure you are thinking, "why the hell is she referring to it as our house". I currently live with three of my four beautiful, curvy, wonderful, insane and currently able to bleed daughters. We are very shortly moving in with the fourth one. Insane, but worth it. Anyway, now remember that lie everyone tells you about how if you get more than one woman in a room we instantly all synch up on our periods like some sort of mythical group of bloody witches? Well, it's just that, a LIE. We have five bleeding women and four weeks a month. You do the math. I can tell you from experience that if two of us are on our moon together, it is a total accident. Back to the question at hand, how do we 'deal' with the symptoms of impending bleeding? Here is the list: lots and I mean lots of dark chocolate, every and any feminine blood catcher ever made and in mass quantities, an entire shelf of everything from the Dive cup to the U tampon is on that shelf, Epsom salt baths, Mary Jane and lots and lots of patience. That last one is mostly on my part because when your range of bleeders, ooh I like the similarity to breeders there, is from eleven to thirty nine, you are pretty safe to say the eleven year old is NOT patient. It is pretty much our own personal red tent here and to prove it I can tell you that there are four men in our lives, my wonderful ex-husband, a current boyfriend, my son-in-law and a five year old grandson. As for them, all of them work out of town, well except for the five year old, he just steers clear of pretty much everybody all the time. I do think for whatever its worth that if he grows up to be a man who loves women, they will be lucky women. He will have all sorts of coping skills!

Valerie Willman said...

Oh Eli, what a beautiful comment. And I love the visual of you living in your own red tent. One where dark chocolate resides ... as well as a lucky five year old boy.