It’s that time of the month don’t even mess with me. Oh, let's keep it real. People don't care how you feel. Every little thing (Everything) God may heal it. Where's a piece of mind when you need it, oh Lord. When does it end. I can't be bothered, not even with my friends. There's a lot of things going through my head. Just wanna go home and go to bed. It’s that time of the month don’t even mess with me. –Angie Stone
We’re going to talk about periods. You know because it’s so Christmas-y and Holiday-ish. I can’t remember why I started thinking about this, likely a random conversation with a friend of mine. But here is.
Ms. Stone in all her bluesy, neo-soul wisdom, speaks the truth. I loathe getting my period. I loathe it. I hate the cramps, the bloating, the gas, the tampons, the pads, and the just the all around grossness of it all. Please do not get me started on the scorching case of PMS. Because I have no idea what the fuck is up with that. Why I am so hungry (starving), horny (all night like a trucker), tired (full 10 hours and still exhausted) and weepy (anything can set me off, a song, a commercial, story on the news you name it.)? I prefer to be in control of my emotions thank you very much. However, each month for about a week, scratch that, week and half to two weeks, me and my emotions are all over the place (happysadangryhappysadangryhappysadangry). There is nothing worse than feeling like I have no control over my emotions. It’s maddening.
I remember being 12 and wondering when it would come. My friends had started to get their periods and I wanted mine. Really really wanted it. Bad. I had read Are You There God It’s Me Margaret, by Judy Blume. This was one of Margaret’s obsessions, to get her period. Getting her period, developing breasts, finding God and fitting in. I had breasts, I was being raised Catholic and didn’t know that I had other options, and the social weirdness hadn’t yet started so I was ok. Let’s face it; getting your period is big deal. It’s when you physically start to change from being a little girl to becoming a woman. In the interest of this post, I did a little googling. Kids, I found a link to the Museum of Menstruation and Women’s Health. I swear to you. I am not making this up. it’s a strange little website run by a dude. WTF?
Anyway, I learned that some traditional Jewish mothers slap their daughters across the face when they get their first period. They are trying to slap her into sense, warning her not to get pregnant before she gets married. In other cultures getting your period is a reason for celebration. Well, I didn’t get slapped or celebrated. I didn’t get “the talk” either. My mother just showed me how to use a pad and that was pretty much it. I over heard her telling my father that my period had come. I remember his reaction was sort of…muted. I’m not sure how to explain it really. Not angry or sad, but resigned I guess. I have heard that some men look at their daughters differently once they start menstruating.
Anyway, I was 13 when “it” showed up and I have been pretty much regretting it ever since. This leap into womanhood came with blinding migranes, not the “slight discomfort” that I had read about. When I got older and starting having sex, I started being grateful for my period. Whew, NOT pregnant. Bit that bullet. As I have got older and was in relationships that I took seriously, occasionally Aunt Flo would show up and that sense of relief wasn’t the same. It was tinged with a little bit of sadness. Oh. Not pregnant. Whew? As the circumstances of your life change, the arrival of your period starts to take on a different meaning. A married woman who has been trying to get pregnant with out success, likely is isn’t happy to see that pink tinged toilet tissue. Whereas a woman with two almost grown children will probably weep with joy when Aunt Flo shows up, albeit late, to the party.
Now that I’m almost 40 it’s starting to change, my cycle, the flow, how I feel before during and after. I am in the beginnings of perimenapause. Great. Peri is that bitch that shows up and hangs out with you for the 10-15 years before Menopause takes over. Awesome. I won’t lie, now that she’s on her way out; I think I’m going to miss Aunt Flo. She’s not my favorite aunt for sure, but she’s been pretty trust worthy. I have been able to count on her showing up every 28 to 31 days. Occasionally, she’s tried to fake me out (i.e.; scare the crap out of me and my partner) and shown up after 40 days. But we’ve been through it all Flo and me. She’s shown up early while I’m wearing white jeans. She’s shown up right before dates. She’s shown up when I didn’t have any products in the house and had to “make do” and make a Tampax run. In all fairness that only happens to you once maybe twice before you never let that happen to you again. I mean me and Flo have been together for a lot of years now. And now she’s on the verge of abandoning me. I don’t know this Peri person and I’m pretty sure she and I are not going to get along. While I’ve dreaded those monthly visits, to a certain extent getting your period is associated with youth, vitality and potential. And now that it’s changing, that youth, vitality and potential is sort of waning a little bit.
All that being said, cramps still suck.