So I got my period today and of course it was kind of by surprise. Why have I not started charting this damn thing yet? I know some women who chart their cycles within a quarter turn of the moon’s rotation. Not me, I’m usually caught off guard by something that I should be in tune to and prepared for. I’m not one of those women that skips a month or two ever. I can’t tell if I’m disinterested in keeping tabs on something that mostly inconveniences me or if I just smoke too much weed to remember when it happened last. I know you’re probably like, “Grosssss, why are we talking about this chick’s period?” Well I don’t just want to talk about mine, I want to know about yours too. Vaginas get all of the publicity. We celebrate V-Day, go spelunking in groups with spread legs and baby mirrors to delve deeper into the wonders that are our vaginas and leave the menstrual cycle to fend for itself.
We soak up periods with bleached tampons, try to skip them with medications (Annuale SNL skit anyone?) and only have the most negative things to say about them i.e. “I fucking hate my period.” It’s not easy to be a menstrual cycle. Swooping into a woman’s body bringing fetal position inducing pains, insatiable hunger, mood swings that would rip the head off a kitten and an automatic “No, thanks” from anyone that’s trying to get laid. There is no welcome mat for any of that shit and it’s a shame. I can’t say that I don’t understand most of the disgust, discomfort and embarrassment that comes from menstruating even as an adult women, I get it. Stained bed sheets, petty arguments, the way someone else can completely dismiss and humiliate you with one sentence “Are you on your period?” and zero ice cream in the freezer are all good reasons to want to slay the red dragon. But maybe we just grew up in the wrong era, it’s not like any of us have red tents or dope tribal ceremonies dedicated to celebrating our monthly bloodletting. Appreciation for Aunt Flo is something that comes through honest conversations with our mothers, female relatives, friends and some individual searching for the attitude and accouterments that work best for us.
One of the main shifts in my feelings towards menstruation is Inga Muscio’s feminist cult favorite non-fiction novel, Cunt. Her novel is a celebration of the vagina and all it entails from the juice to the pulp. (Like I said, the vadge gets all the glory) but it does highlight the beauty and badassness of being on the rag. Her book encourages women to engage their period blood as they would any other bodily fluid, to touch it and note the different colors and textures it produces. Cunt was my period Bible. I remember being eighteen, nervous as all hell in the shower that first night, touching my period blood on purpose for the first time. I didn’t melt. My finger didn’t fall off and I felt more aware of myself, as a natural born woman and as a feminist. We’re taught to think of our cycles as something that is a curse upon us and that needs to be medicated into submission or left undiscussed. Muscio states:
Everything that is cuntlovin’ must be sequestered away far into the deep recesses of the collective unconscious somehow…therefore, like our cunts, our blood is weird, messy and ugly…the negativity surrounding menstruation is an illusion that falls, falls, falls away the instant perspective shifts.
So let’s shift our perspectives shall we? I mean, I’m sure many of you have already done this and tenfold. Like performing in the Vagina Monologues somewhere on a campus far far away? Also, I am speaking from the point of view of a woman that menstruates. What about the women that don’t? Maybe they’ve had hysterectomies or they’re body builders and work out too much to get a period. Are those periods missed? Do trans-women ever experience a period or period-like symptoms when they’re around other menstruating women? Are there transwomen that wish they had a period or is it just one less thing to worry about for a transwoman? Also, why are people so turned off sexually by periods? I don’t see the problem going down if the chick has taken a shower and has a tampon or something in there. And I’m talking about safe sex with a partner and you’ve both been tested and are using protection, in that situation what is a little period blood to anyone? I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. Why? Because, we might all bitch about our periods but it is rare that we actually discuss them. Periods, like pitbulls, get such a bad rap. So I’ve come up with a list of reasons why I dig my period and I hope that you will add your own.
1) Periods get rid of yeast infections.
2) They are a time to play and experiment with things like Diva Cups and Sea Sponges. J
3) Menstruation is the perfect excuse to take a long hot bath and light some candles.
4) They’re a reminder to re-read Cunt.
5) I totally dig getting my period at the same time as the group of women I’m either working with or chilling with. Like to be able to sync up like that is incredible to me.
6) I’m bolder and speak my mind more freely when I’m on the rag.
7) It’s a reminder that my body is an awesome entity that I can make a baby with if I wanted to.
8) We’re connected to the moon through it. Dudes aren’t. We win.
Please feel free to add to this list or answer some of my questions or pose your own. I can’t be the only one wondering about periods…
for more on periods, check out this dope autostraddle post