Friday, January 6, 2012

Forget about "that time of the month."

I'm trying out this new self-respect and self-love thing, and finding (the more I learn about my body) that this self-love even extends to my monthly cycle. This sounds crazy, especially to anyone with an irregular or difficult period, I'm sure. But have you ever considered how much our emotions are tied in with our hormones, which are (obviously)  involved in our monthly cycles? Many of us are aware of our tendency to become, how you say, "psychotic" or "a basket case" or "a raging bitch" during our periods, but what about the rest of the month?

Over the past several months I've been getting to know my body and my mind, right down to the seemingly silliest little mood swings and uterine cramps. My period comes every 29 days or so. This is more often than I go out to eat at a nice restaurant or even go shopping by myself, so it seems to me that I ought to get comfortable with it and accept it for being the way it is, and maybe even listen to it (and my other symptoms, not just the actual bleeding) when it is different in any way.

When I'm on my period I can be a real irritable grouch. If I reflect on that and think about it in a more positive way, though - if I assume that those feelings exist for a good reason and not just to cause discomfort for myself or anyone else - I realize that during the time of my period, I'm very reflective and contemplative. I tend to think about how things are going in my life and in the world around me, how I feel about those things, and how I might change something if it's not working well. When I consider my "moody" feelings from that perspective, I realize that crankiness or irritability would easily stem from being told to forget about something or stop dwelling on something that I'm trying to make sense of, whether it's myself or someone else who says "get over it." I have realized that for most of my adult life I've tried to force myself to get over any negative emotions that come up during my period, instead of just sitting with them and thinking about where those emotions are coming from. When there are circumstances going on in my life that are hard or depressing and I have no control over them, I'm much more likely to be emotional and tearful during my period than during times when I feel relatively happy and content during the rest of the month. Another thing I've realized is that I like to clean while I'm dealing with my period. That is the time of month when I want to be a homebody, to stay in my nest and organize it, so to speak. When I have my period is when I'm most likely to rearrange furniture or re-decorate a room.

The entire month, however, has various hormonal changes and events going on. For the couple of weeks after my period I feel particularly energetic and revitalized. I'll feel optimistic about projects that might have felt overwhelming to me during the previous week or so. About midway through our cycle, of course, is the time of ovulation. The week or so leading up to ovulation tends to be the time of month when women are feeling particularly sexual. Of course this has a biological purpose - the time of the month to attract a mate is the time of month when your ovaries are preparing to release an egg for fertilization, right? Around my ovulation time I feel very nurturing and loving, not just in a sexual way, although that particular aspect might be my favorite part of mid-cycle. *wink* In all seriousness, that's when my self-esteem and self-confidence are highest, and it's when I feel the most active and social. Once my ovulation has occurred and my cycle starts to slowly turn back towards menstruation I feel myself slowly start to cycle back towards the feelings of quiet contemplation and organization.

When I try to deny or squash my normal, natural emotions, they won't tolerate it. Hormones are our puppet masters and in my personal experience, they find a way to grab a hold and make you pay attention to your body. When I lovingly accept my grouchy days as well as my happy days, allow myself to grieve and cry when I need to and then allow myself to move on and try something new when I'm ready, my cycle is something that I can actively be a part of instead of something uncomfortable that happens to me. Forget about saying "that time of the month" in the polite way we've been trained. As women, our entire month, every month, is filled with a rich array of physical and emotional experiences, and we don't have to limit ourselves to only acknowledging the time of month when we need feminine hygiene products. This is the only body I have to live in, at least for this lifetime, so I really strive to live in peace and harmony with myself and my monthly rhythms, and I encourage you to try as well. There's nothing to lose, and a whole new relationship with yourself to gain.


  1. You know...the idea of the Red Tent was spot on, I wish we still had to do that. *nods*

    Please tell me you've read that book. :)

  2. You know, I haven't, but you are the second person in the span of a week to tell me I should, so I'll definitely read it. Thanks for reading, Lori-Love. :)

  3. Lol I am laughing at myself because I think your post resonates with me but I haven't been able to read all the way through it because it is a time of the month for me when I find it hard to focus! I have always had a very pronounced monthly cycle. I have noticed things about my moods and energy level all through the month not just during my period. I have tried to talk with my sisters about it but they just roll thei eyes and tell me I think too much. Thanks for your post and confirming what I have felt for years.

  4. I've often been told that I think about things too much, Carrie. At this point in my life I just try to take it as a compliment. :) Thank you so much for reading!