Let’s talk about periods.
I’m not sure I have much before. Maybe once or twice. Which for something that affects pretty much aspect of my moods and emotions each month it feels like not enough airtime.
A few years ago I heard a talk from a woman who ran her own business. She talked about how her menstrual cycle affected her weeks and how she leant into the weeks where she felt the energy and buzz and lay low and quiet in the times when she felt the heavy moods upon her as her body prepared to have a baby and then worked out it didn’t need the extra stuff and sent it on its way (dumped felt too harsh, bled loads might be more accurate but with caveats of how it’s not a scary type of bleeding, although even having done it for 30 years I still get weirded out)
Once I mentioned my monthly feeling like I was the worst, the job was awful and everything is wrong with the world to my two male colleagues. I did so in a reassuring- I’ll think differently next week because that’s just where I am in my cycle right now way. It felt daring and taboo to name it and almost sacred to talk about what goes on each month but which few people mention.
I say all this because I’m two days into my period (it still feels odd saying that, now you know I bleed each month and I’m doing it right now, the secret is out… wow our culture of secrecy and shame in this area has A LOT to answer for) and my brain is waking up. Two days ago I thought I was fat and ugly, couldn’t think straight, I was slumped on the sofa reading a book because I couldn’t face interacting with my small humans, I had no energy, thought I was the worst parent, despairing at ever being able to help my boys do anything constructive.
Today I looked in the mirror and smiled at my cheeky grin, adored my dimples, smoothed my hand over my soft fleshy stomach and felt ok, put clothes on and felt good rather than pit stomach churning distaste at me. My brain woke up, I felt energy and motive to plan and use my day well. I smiled at God on my morning walk and knew love. I saw the dark corner of angst and questions and knew it was ok to have it there and stand on the sunny certain of some stuff side of life for a bit.
I feel like in my 40s I’m finally getting in tune with my wonderful body but this morning still took me by surprise, the obvious cause, the extremes in my moods, the joy of knowing I’m not in a dark tunnel, I just had my period.
And as always I’m left with wanting more conversation. More chat. More flipping awareness that this is a thing and more honest openness about listening to our bodies.
I felt the instinct to go slow over the weekend and wanted to embrace that but I also had the fear voices telling me to get up, keep going, plough on through, the voices that tell me to maintain secrecy about periods and uphold this weird societial pretence that they don’t happen. I wish I’d listened more to the voice that said be patient, the joy and energy will return. I wish body knowledge was talked about more and more and more. I want to be part of those chats, of how the rhythm of what’s going on in my body each month shapes and affects what I do, think and feel.
Anyway. There you go. Probably my now annual post about periods and how I want more openness about them and want conversations about how we become more body aware.