What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
I got my period this week for first time in 6 months, which had been the first time in 5 months before that. For one day this week I have bloody mucus dripping from my crotch, leaving little dark stains on my tights no matter how I pad or plug. Then it leaves, cleanly, traceless, the next morning. Like it had never been.
Two days later, I get some rather pathetic ghost period, a light pink drip that doesn’t amount to much and which happens at a sporadic release every few hours. This continues for a few days.
The history? I was regular once. Until a few years ago, seven, eight days each month I'd bleed through everything. Sitting on the toilet at a friend's house, 13 years old, second time it came, I'm taking a tampon out, purple red pouring over my hands, purple red hitting water and expanding like a slow atom bomb, thin streams over the toilet, drops on clean tile. Oddly stunning, really, scary and grossly fascinating how truly plentiful, looking like something violent died slow inside and was bursting out.
My friend comes in and makes me open my legs so she can see. She shrieks, sniffs it. She's worried I’ll get it on the rug, we're laughing. So much MENSES!
"I guess this means you're a real womanly woman," she says. I think of my minuscule prick boobs like chicken cutlets. I'm wearing slippers with Aladdin's Genie on them, my warm can of Dr. Pepper sitting on the edge of the sink.
"Yeah, I guess."
Later, recounting to my mother the fascinating horror of it all, she says, "Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. We bleed like that."
Things went on like this, the damn thing unstoppable. I practically have to wear diapers to bed and I bleed onto a chair in a public place on more than one occasion. For whatever reason, I like it. I like the feeling of it coming in my stomach. I like the tinny sweet smell. I like that it makes me crave things and feel comforted by eating a lot, how I allow for laying down midday because the pipes are aching, the well worn excuse of a 50s gym-dodging prom queen. At 16, I even make my boyfriend touch it, like ha ha, look at this weird thing that happens to me and not to you!
Then, early twenties, I stop eating well for a while, I run much too much, that's when it first leaves. Out, gone. Not putting together two and two, I’m so afraid I’m pregnant I refuse to take a test for months. I’m not, of course.
It’s obvious to me now why it left when it did, but not so obvious why it just kept disappearing since that behavior has long stopped, and not obvious why its flow has changed so much when it does come. I've seen it twice for a total of 5 days in 2012. Maybe 4 times in 2011. Not at all in 2010.
I go to doctors general and specialized, get multiple blood tests, do acupuncture, a little reiki, do a round of birth control that makes it come light for a few days but leaves me dog tired and sea sick.
I look it up myself to investigate potential causes: stress, anorexia, “structural problems” like tumors or blockage, chemical imbalances. Stress maybe, but most other things I’ve tested out just fine.
So fuck knows what my hormones are doing. Maybe there is a cyst in there shaped like the lock on a gym cubby. I stop worrying about it. These days I don't have health insurance and I’m leaving, dumb I suppose, my health concerns to be tended to alone. I take vitamins, try and eat a little good beef every now and then, lots of vegetables, exercise, hope for the best.
Above all, I try to practice taking care, knowing my own body, being in tune with it, and accepting, amen, its perceived oddities.
A few days before it comes, I have sex for the first time in some time, since I stopped drinking if we’re getting down to brass tacks, and my mom and my roommate Harry are convinced that’s what clicked the trap back open, so to speak, such vulgarity. Another slightly more vague opinion of a friend, that I might be letting down some invisible guard I’ve had internally charged for a while.
Regardless, I’ll stay tuned to its return, with a quieted hope think things could return to the gushing good old days. I must admit. I miss it in its absence.