My Period is Not My Best Friend

I’m sure once in your life you’ve seen a period commercial where women spin in circles with smiles plastered on their faces thanks to a product. Most of us audience members sit back and shake our heads knowing full well it’s not quite like that in real life, but most women will still say “it’s not that bad” when asked about. Perhaps it’s now to show weakness considering how we’re seen as lazy when Mother Nature pays us our monthly visit.

I for one cannot look someone dead in the eye and say my week of pain is just a shoulder shrug, dancing, white dressed experience. My period is painful and gross and I definitely don’t wear white.

Of course there are plenty of ways that the body pain and emotional instability can be managed by taking birth control or other medications designed for periods. But what if you’re like me and the meds have no effects? Birth control does wonders for my acne and regulating when my period hits, and products such as ibuprofen and the like may stem a headache for a few hours, but other than that I’m left to how much my body wants to biologically punish me.

It starts with cramps and back pain. A graphic way to think about it is when you have awful gas that sends a shooting pain through your abdomen, but there is no way to relieve that pressure and it keeps you company in all your daily activities.They hit me like a set of bricks in the middle of the day with no warning signs to prepare me. My lower abdomen seizes in pain and I fight the urge to double over in class and cry out. These cramps fluctuate in levels of pain for the remainder of my cycle which for me lasts about four days. There are no breaks in pain, no reprieve; my back is taught with discomfort and it wraps around to my uterus in a vice.

After my cramps give me the initial green light for the red flow I get a visit from fatigue and mood swings. I’m mentally and physically drained. My body is lethargic and bloated as it weighs me down and my mind craves a nap at every moment. Because I’m so tired and uncomfortable in my body and mind I’m irritable and become annoyed at the smallest things I normally wouldn’t bat an eye at. Some things made me more sad or happy than usual and my mood can change as easily as the flip of a switch. Believe me, it’s just as awful for me as it is for you.

Finally, there’s blood. What? Surprised? Thought it was just a monthly excuse for women to get out of work? Nope! It’s sitting in a lady diaper while gravity and your uterus decide when and where the inner lining of an organ will shed from within to greet the outside world. We have no control. There is no muscle or sphincter to clasp shut to hold it in. Mother Nature says shed and her word is law. To attempt a brief moment of control we can try a tampon and temporarily plug the hole, but that plug better come out before the eight hour mark if you don’t want to get sick. Didn’t know we could get sick from keeping a tampon in too long? You bet we can. Toxic shock syndrome if not prevented or treated can lead to major complications and death. But we tend to know how to handle our cotton strings so most of us escape with our lives. Just a bloody souvenir from your body.

Unlike many women in interviews about their period and those who strut around in lacy white dresses as they dance on the beach, my period is not my best friend. It’s not an acquaintance. It’s a nuisance. It’s dirty. It’s not beautiful or fun nor does it make me feel real good about being a woman. It’s a sign I take care of my body the way it needs to be taken care of and that I took the precautionary steps needed to prevent an unwanted pregnancy before it’s time.

I’m not bashing those who celebrate their period as a sign of womanhood. All I’m saying is that a period is not the fun week TV ads and false advertising make it out to be. It’s a real life cycle that lasts about half a woman’s lifetime. That’s decades of mood swings and pain and bloody cotton.

On that note.

Anyone want to take a walk on the beach and dance with me?

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