-by Erika “who threw up a bit in her mouth typing that title” Ray
I had a blissful existence with my period for almost two decades. Really I did. I was a late bloomer. How late? I drove myself home to get a tampon. Yep, that late. My period was always good to me. Only lasted three days, never gave me cramps, no bloating, nothing. If I was moody, I probably just blamed it on the period. If we have to get messy once a month, I was going to blame a ton of shit on it. I’ll pull that card. For the most part, it was a nuisance. I was never bed-ridden. I never needed to go on birth control to regulate it. I just existed with it because I was a woman and it’s part of our genetics. I’m a woman and I have a period.
All that changed after Becks came along. My period showed up and reared her ugly red-head and I fucking hate her. Once a month, she makes me hate that I’m a woman. So much that right now, I’m not sure why I’m giving her the female gender. Because there’s no way a woman would ever be a period. My period is an old, sexist, grouchy Man who doesn’t understand why I’m working. Doesn’t understand why I’m not cranking out more kids. He’s pissed that I didn’t bake my husband fresh bread this morning. He’s mad that I’m not sexually satisfying my husband every single day. And he’s pissed that I’d have to fake it (Everyday, people. You’d have to fake it). And to punish me, he shows up once a month. My period is that kind of man.
Once a month, I have a period that is tricky and deceptive. “Oh there he is…” I say in the morning. But he’s only teasing with the actually start date. This goes on for a week until he makes a grand entrance to stick around for another week. And during that week, he isn’t lazy. He’s hardcore. He gives me cramps that make me consider ripping out my uterus. Those cramps can get so bad that I talk to them in the car, “Please just stop. Please just let me get to the hotel and I’ll silence you with a glass or two of wine. Please cramps, please.” But he does stop there. Oh no, he’s just getting started.
He bloats the shit out of my stomach. So much that I look six months pregnant. Every month when my period shows up, I look down and think, “I need to stop drinking beer, eating regular lunches, do sit-ups, starve myself…” It doesn’t help that the week prior, I could eat our house clean. I contemplate eating the can of peaches that we brought into the house from our previous apartment ten years ago. I eat like I’m about to die. I never remember this fact. Each month, I’m shocked by the amount of food I consume. And then I’m shocked that I’ve started a period. Why don’t I remember the cycle of destruction?! But during my period, I spend the next week willing myself to eat. Because like a sexist old man, my period doesn’t allow me to eat. He wants me waif-ish and sick so he takes away my appetite. “I’m doing you a favor,” he whispers as he taps my bloated tummy.
And then the mood swings… No joke every other period, I will find myself on the floor crying. The slow dramatic actress cry. The kind that awards an Oscar to the actress, but they know how to do it while looking pretty. I’ve never been able to master that trick. I’m covering the floor with snot and tears. Why am I crying? It never matters. I can make anything into a reason for a good bawl-fest. Veggies in the crisper about to go bad? Sure. I’m bawling because there’s starving children walking to school for a free breakfast. And here I’m letting the cilantro turn to brown mush. Idiot. New Taylor Swift comes on the radio and I’m sobbing because she found her power to never ever get back with the boy. Oh yeah, that’s my life during my period.
I was complaining about it once and a woman said, “That’s what we get because Eve ate the apple.” As women we would make this awful time into a martyr situation. We get a period because we’re women and that’s what our genes demand of us. In order to be a woman, we have to have this asshole show up once a month. Not as a punishment for some potential made up story to keep women in line way back when. I say “potential” because not everyone believes in that story, don’t get mad at me. But believe me right now, if men had to have a period, they would have figured out a way to be a man and not have a period. Because men can’t deal with this shit. One little cold and their world is about to end. But walk around in pain for a week, crying, bleeding, ruining perfectly good undies, scrounging around for the last hidden tampon? No way. They would have fixed this problem and still kept doing their gender thing. But women suffer and deal with it.
Hey, lady doctors and scientists? Hey female activists and humanitarians? Do me a favor and find away for us to not have periods? Don’t sensationalism them or make it a badge of womanhood. I’m over it.