Updated: Sep 7
For everyone with a uterus.
Menstruation. Grateful to have the opportunity.
It's so. SO. Soooooo. Much. Work.
The prep. The arrival. The time after the flow stops flowing.
The laundry. The purchases. The lost wardrobe. The investments.
The research as products change.
The research as the body changes.
The trial and error figuring it all out over the months, years, and decades of blood flow.
The planning for menses.
For work. For travel. For dining. For theater. And dance class.
For yoga-ing with a heavy flow.
For pitching and for presentations.
For timed tests, and certifications, recitals, conferences, 3 and 4 person interviews and power lunches with this hidden companion out of sight as society shames us for having her, for letting her show, for letting on that I'm a plus one.
The planning for recreation. Hikes and camping. Three hour films in the theater. Long flights. Amtraks and Acelas rocking you from side to side, tossing you as you desperately try not to touch anything and desperately try not to leave blood on the floor, the toilet seat, the thinning paper towel roll or anywhere anyone may see it.
The desperation to keep pants, shorts, skirts, leggings free of any sign of pad, tampon, or menses.
Friend's dog senses it and tries attaching to crotch like a magnet. Left holding a hand of shame and curious puzzlement, trying to explain what the dog's nose is divining.
Me. Should proudly say me. But I don't or won't depending on the company I'm keeping at that moment.
The Unannouced House Guest.
The symptoms. The bloat. The emotional orchestra. The cacophony of simultaneous cravings for sleep, hydration, food, orgasm, painkillers, bed rest, and a never-ending-shower. The clean up.
The rest of living doesn't stop. The menses, which, for some can last weeks or an entire month, is added to the countless stacks of to-do lists.
Being given paid time off to menstruate and pre-menstruate is making more and more collective sense. By my math, I've given over six years to my period to date.
Fantasize: Resting naked in a clean, ancient lake for 7 days of free-bleeding.