Sunday, August 31, 2014

Why I Should Get a Sabbatical From Having My Period

            I was in a coffee shop. I was trying to study—trying. This damnable headache kept getting in the way. It would fade for a little while. Then it would surge forth with a fury that made me close my eyes and grab my forehead Harry Potter style.  This weird, inexplicable headache had been plaguing me the whole weekend. I was taking ibuprofen a couple times a day and wondering why it wouldn’t go away.

            Then it dawned on me.

            Oh yeah.

            It is nigh period time.

            I take issue with this.


            Not only are periods a fact of life, consistently plaguing a woman’s life on a monthly basis, the plague of this Eve-curse is a particular nuisance—well—all the time, but particularly at this time.

            You see, having a PMS headache while your studying not only keeps you from focusing on what you’re reading, it also keeps you from playing any kind of music with a beat—which rules out pretty much anything but Enya (is Enya still a thing?). And when your mind is prone to wander without music, you're defeated before you even begin.

            Also, while you’re trying to make decisions about jobs, living situations, navigate a new city, a new school, and, basically, a completely new life, to have to deal with moods that swing between anger and tearful breakdowns is just not something you want to add to this already tumultuous mixture of thought and emotion.

            Unless you’re a sadist.

            And it’s possible that anybody who’s tried to do school and work at the same time could technically be considered a moderate sort of sadist.

            Back to periods.

            If you’re a woman, you usually fall into one of two categories.

            Number one: you sympathize with people who bitch about their periods because you know exactly how that person feels and understand the unfairness of it all.

            Number two: you fight the urge to tell period-bitchers that they should suck it up and realize that there are people all over the world who suffer to a greater extent than just a silly little thing like a period. Be grateful that you can even have a period because it means you can bare children, therefore, rejoice and be glad and recognize the joy of the Lord is your strength.

            First of all, a period does not equal children (as many women can testify).

            Second of all, the number twos are those women that other women hate—the ones who don’t have painful periods nor any hormonal side effects.

            Yes, we hate you.

            Speaking of children, if you’re a dude, don’t ever use (as a well-meaning man once used with me), “Just remember this is what makes it possible for you to have children” as a way to comfort the women in your life. Especially if that woman is over 25 and doesn’t look like she’ll be having kids any time soon.

            As already stated: periods do not equal children.

            Secondly, sometimes we get tired of the blood and pain that is a natural part of the reproductive system. Yes, it is truly a part of the reproductive system, but we all dearly wish there were another way.

            However, there are some tried and true means of achieving comfort during this trial. This is not a complete list, but it does help to be reminded every now and then of a few benefits of monthly cycles.

            #1. It’s an excuse to indulge chocolate. Scientific studies have indicated chocolate’s power to improve moods and manage pain. Whether this is due to its tastiness or actual chemical qualities is a matter of discussion. Sure, this could just be a conspiracy between scientists and chocolate factories. Who knows. But science doesn’t alter the pure, natural power of chocolate to bring a smile to a girl’s face in the midst of misery.

            This is one conspiracy I support.

            #2. Red Wine. The same could be said of conspiracy between wine vineyards and scientists and foodies. This theory is even more widely supported (and makes more sense then the chocolate theory).

            #3. It’s an excuse to cut yourself some slack. The extra stress you’re feeling could be hormone induced. Ride it out, and try to avoid making hasty decisions. Also avoid getting into it with the cashier at the grocery store. They don’t know you’re on period and they are sincerely trying to help you when they ask if you’d rather have paper or plastic.

            #4. It’s an excuse to form bonds with other sisters who are going through the same cycle. It’s an excuse to find common ground with other women with whom you may or may not have anything else in common. Where the period might not equal children, it does equal universal talking material.

            Menstrual Cycle: bridging cultural, generational, and religious backgrounds everywhere.  

So even thought it isn’t possible for me to take a sabbatical from my period. I still wish I could. There is no good time to have a period. Just like there is no good time to get in a car accident. Or experience a tornado. Or contract the flu. It’s just one of those hellish things that makes you glad you actually aren’t going to hell and makes you look forward to heaven—the ultimate end of all things hormonal.

Today is a Come Back Jesus day.


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