Heads up guys, I'm talking about menstruation.
I was one of those "lucky" girls that never had any menstrual "issues" (heavy use of quotations to indicate that my ideas on the subject have evolved). I started late, had a 6-8 week cycle, menstruation lasted about a day and a half, no cramps, no back aches, no complaints from others about being particularly moody. I could not relate in the slightest to all that I was hearing about "that time of the month" and what a monumental thorn it was in the side of sisterhood it was. In truth I hardy gave it a thought beyond making sure I had a couple of OBs in my pocket.
Well, things have changed. Since having kids, in fact. It seems like some part of conceiving, birthing, nursing, mothering two punks has awakened my inner hormonal woman. Maybe I was just a slow bloomer and things just hadn't fully kicked into gear. But since my cycle returned 4 years ago, I've been catching up on all I thought I would never be privy to in those formative years.
For example, M has a knack for nailing exactly when I will start menstruating and I'm sure it wouldn't make me so furious if it wasn't true. Dammit. And I suspect it isn't that difficult to tell... not like he has psychic abilities. All that crap about women turning into raging bitches every month is true. I thought they were just making it up.
And of course, backaches and cramps that make me want to stay in bed. Ugh. Why did I not fall to my knees and thank the heavens for my previous cramp free life?
Well, my new, perhaps more feminine, state of being spurred me to think a bit more about menstruation. Maybe I was missing an opportunity by just chalking it up to finally being one of the girls. Maybe it could be something more than just a burden to women.
Turns out (as burdens often do), it's actually an opportunity. And I don't mean an opportunity to bring more punks in the world. I mean an opportunity for us. The women. An opportunity for cleansing, both physically and mentally. A signal to slow down and look inward. A time to make sure we are caring for our bodies with healthy food and exercise. Good breathing. Enough sleep.
Now, I try to remind myself of all this when I'm menstruating. It actually helps. I still sometimes feel crappy and crabby... but if I remember to just go with the flow, listen to my body and slow down a bit, I emerge feeling empowered, energized, and renewed.