While a particular friend of mine repeatedly encourages me to go all out on the oh so (somehow) controversially taboo topic, I have remained reluctant.
It wasn’t until I was reading the legendary Lena Dunham’s ‘Not That Kind of Girl’ book, that I identified exactly what was holding me back.
The title of the book encapsulates my struggle perfectly- I could not fathom the thought of y’all perceiving me as typical female who dramatically complains about the agony that is: menstruation.
But guess what?? I am a girl. I am often dramatic. Once a month I lay an egg and it’s the fucking pits. I HATE EVERY SECOND OF IT.
EVERY single part of the stereotype I fulfil, from the moody weeks before Aunt Flow arrives, involving hot sweats, irrational outbursts followed by laughing and cuddle-athons (#bipolar?) to the couch ridden, hot water bottle hugging situation.
Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I plot attacks on my ex boyfriends, the next minute I fantasise about our wedding. I always finish at least 2 blocks of chocolate and down copious amounts of vino.
Much to many other FEMALES disgust, I refuse to leave the house. Yep , I DO let it slow me down, I often leave work early or don’t go in at all. Get. Over. It.
However I am not here to bore you with the dirty, painful reality of my flow, I am here to question (as usual).
While I’ve never felt ashamed to mention my period, or to whine and mope around in front of anyone, I am often surprised to receive more empathy and care from the bastards who weren’t born with a baby making machine, compared to those who do bleed regularly.
When I have refused to exercise, socialise, dress up (or just fully function) because of the date, I am often met with “don’t be weak!”, “that’s life, get over it”, “woos”, “drama queen!” comments.
To be fair, I don’t blame anyone individually, as we are obvs just a product of our society.
Sanitary companies market their products in a way that promises us to be able to forget what is going on and partay the nights away with a care / swim freely without being shark bait.
Jokes are constantly made at women’s expense, encouraging us [as the weaker gender] to fight back, defend ourselves and our ovaries, and prove just how strong and brave we are.
But doesn’t reproducing human lives make us slightly brave naturally? Doesn’t putting up with cramps and blood prove that we are warriors, hormones and all?
I remember meeting a yoga instructor who once had cancer. During treatment she stopped menstruating and said she has never felt less human or feminine. She made a promise to herself to honour her cycle once she recovered. And that she does.
The yogini doesn’t practice while menstruating, instead she lies on the couch with ice-cream being ‘girly’.
I wish this was acceptable. I wish people like professional tennis player, Heather Watson who ‘revealed’ that she ‘suffered from dizziness, nausea, low energy levels and spells of feeling light-headed’ did NOT have the suffer in silence, or regret allowing her period to effect her performance.
After her loss, Heather said, “it happens and you’re dealt with different cards on different days and I should have dealt with it better. It’s a real shame and it sucks.”
It was refreshing to hear former player Annabel Croft come out and challenge the way in which the taboo subject is often swept under carpet, calling Watson “brave”.
“Women dealing with these issues at any time is hard enough, but actually trying to go out there and trying to play top-level sport at one of the most crucial times in the calendar year, it is just really unlucky, ” she said.
While I hate having my period, like my friend, it makes me feel female. It remind me that my body is functioning properly and that I have the ability to carry babies, which I think is quite a remarkable power.
It is time to stop brushing a reality of life under the carpet and acknowledge that menstruation is a natural occurrence that is hormonally heinous, but also a privilege denied to many women too.
Lets start honouring life, honouring our bodies, our struggles and our strengths.