Let's Talk About Periods

Yes you read that right.

Okay so I've wanted to do this blog post for a while now. In fact I've had part of it drafted on the notes on my phone since 9th March. And I haven't got around to writing it up and posting it.
Well, more that I've been too scared to, if I'm totally honest. But this is EXACTLY why I've got to do it, talk about it - why we've all got to start talking about it.

And I'm on Day 1 of my cycle (i.e. starting bleeding today) which seems like a great time to finally do this. A really bloody brilliant time actually (pun VERY much intended).

Okay so sometimes it can feel hard being a woman. It can feel especially hard being a woman when we have to go through a monthly experience of pain, mood swings, perhaps even nausea and headaches, and of course a whole fricking load of bleeding from our vaginas.

Guys are so lucky that they don't have to go through this, aren't they?!

Or are they missing out?

Having had a monthly period for 10.5 years now (so approximately 125 of them), I've just got to the point where I'm a bit fed up. Not of the periods themselves. But of women's attitudes towards them (and until this year, of my own attitude towards them as a result of how society tells me I should feel about them.)

I've grown up to believe that having a bleed each month is an inconvenience, is something we have to put up with, is a pain (metaphorically speaking and not). That I should absolutely hate periods. That's it's not fair that we have them each month.

What a load of crap.

Why all the negativity? Shouldn't we celebrate being women? Because we are amazing aren't we? And periods are such a HUGE part of being women. Why are we so resistant and hateful towards them? Why are we denying ourselves the love for our bodies and what they do and accepting and embracing this amazing part of womanhood?

I know what you're thinking - but they're painful, they're an inconvenience, PMS turns me into a raging hormonal monster...

I get it.

Last weekend, deep in my pre-menstrual phase, my poor parents couldn't even breathe without me wanting to rip their heads off their bodies. I also couldn't do ANYTHING without crying about it. Emotional was an understatement.

But what bet you haven't thought is that periods are quite a blessing to us. They are our body's way of telling us that we are not pregnant (for most of us - this is a relief. Actually if I'm being honest, I would just love to be pregnant but that would be biologically impossible). But most importantly, it's a little message from our bodies that we are healthy.

How about that - what an incredible thing that we get a monthly reminder, A little memo every 4 to 6 weeks from our body just dropping into say 'you're all good'.

As for the pain - well I can say hand on my heart that as soon as I stopped thinking about periods so negatively, as soon as I let go of that resentment towards it, towards my uterus and my body, my period pains significantly eased off. I barely get cramps now. And the little dull feeling of my uterus wall lining shedding itself? I actually really quite like it.

You see, period pain is fear, and tension, and resentment held in our womb. It's the "ugh periods are such a NUISANCE, why do I have to do DEAL with this" thoughts showing up in our bodies.

Release that and I can promise you the pain will reside to.

I just mentioned fear. You might be wondering, what do you mean by fear? Okay how about the fear of not having sanitary products available when we come on, the fear of having to sit at work or at school or at uni in excruciating pain and not be able to curl up in a ball, the fear of skipping a period and thinking you might be pregnant, the fear of having a period when you want to be pregnant, the fear of leaking through your clothes, the fear of being angry or unreasonable towards people because of your rising and falling hormone levels, the fear of starting your period when you're at a sleepover or on holiday or just as you're putting on that white dress to go out to that special event that you've been looking forward to for weeks...

But that's all it is - fear. And fear can be released. It must be released. The only reason we have this fear is because society tells us we should. We're supposed to hate them, be embarrassed, talk about them in hushed tones. Use any words to describe it except “our bleed”, “our period”, “menstruation.” It’s all “time of the month” and “p”. We can’t even bloody say the word, let alone talk about it in detail.

Thanks patriarchy.

You see, patriarchy is responsible for all of this. It's why women are still seen as inferior. It's why women are still paid less. It's why so many women are afraid to speak their truth, uncensored. It's why women are embarrassed/ashamed/disgusted by their periods. (FYI, I now talk about my period with ZERO shame, to anyone who will listen. I even said the word "period" to my (male) boss yesterday without cringing even a tiny lil bit).

In ancient times, women would all bleed at the same time. They would all bleed on the New Moon and ovulate on the Full Moon (yep, that's right, our cycles were synced up with the moon - the fact that the average cycle is 29 days and the moon cycle is 29 days is no coincidence). They would all go to a red tent and bleed together. It was honoured, sacred.

And then the men got scared of how powerful the women were (not only at bleed time - all the freaking time) and cursed them, and thousands of years later, well, not much has changed has it?

But it's about bloody time it does.

We should honour our cyclic nature, our womanhood. We should fully embrace our bleeds. It's our bodies giving us the time we need to rest and rejuvenate, let go of everything we've been holding onto for the past month (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually even). We owe it to ourselves. 

I tell you what else. You don't know it yet, but each phase of your period (menstruation, pre-ovulation, ovulation and pre-menstration) has awesome benefits, and you can use these to improve your life! Genuinely!

Here's a quick run-down of some general superpowers of each phase...
Bleeding is great for rest and restoration, releasing tension/anger/negativity/resentment/anything else you don't want in your life anymore. It's also when you're most creative and get new ideas. 

Pre-ovulation is a great time to get stuff done, get organised. 

Ovulation? Heightened confidence. Got a presentation you need to do? Do it when you're ovulating. Have to go out and network? Ovulation is the time to do it! 

And amongst the raging hormones, pre-menstruation is when your intuition is at an all-time high. Gut feelings are strong. Somewhere deep in your womb, you will find answers.

But the best bit is that we're ALL different, and there will be certain. You've got the tools, you just gotta learn how to use them. 

The best place to start is to chart your cycle (the whole thing, bleed day to next bleed day). How confident do you feel? Emotional? Productive? Motivated? Joyful? It's amazing what patterns show up when you start charting. For example, on Day 18, I'm always my most confident (good hair day, feel like I could talk to anyone about anything). Try it. Find out what YOUR cycle says about YOU and how it can change YOUR life. It's freaking awesome.

I feel like I have SO much to say that I can't get it out fast enough now that I've started! So I'm going to be writing a heck of a lot more about periods now (and no, I'm not sorry, and yes, it is easier now that I've actually found some courage to post it - dammit I should NOT need courage, this is the entire problem). And I hope you're interested. And I hope that you can find some love for your cycle. You really should, it's much more useful and joyful than hating it.

Future blog posts will cover the following:
  • The importance/value of charting your monthly cycle
  • The huuuuuuge ginormous benefits of charting
  • HOW to start charting!
  • How each phase of your cycle has amazing benefits that can help you in so many areas of your life
  • The awesome link between the menstrual cycle and the moon cycle and how you can sync up!
  • How to enjoy your period, and some lovely things to start doing when you bleed
  • Why being on your period is bloody awesome (and why I now look forward to mine)

Also ladies, if you do one thing this week, go and buy the book 'Code Red' by Lisa Lister. It changed my attitude towards periods, and as a result, it's changed my life. It's packed full of wisdom and magic and encouragement. She's also a brilliant author and human being (I know, I skyped her this week).

Okay I'm going to go and sit in my blood red jumper and eat dark chocolate, light some candles, do some journaling and have an early night. Because that's what I do when I bleed. 

Loadsa love x

P.S. If you want to help stop the stigma/taboo around periods, be brave and go and share this post on your Facebook timeline with your fellow women. Don't overthink it. Don't be embarrassed. Just share it. The sooner we stop the shame and share the womb love, the better, don't you think?