Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by menstruation. I learned all about the ins and outs of it when I was in fifth grade. One day, they separated the girls from the boys for about an hour so they could teach us about puberty. The girls watched a video about a girl who didn’t know what to do when she got her first period in the middle of the night at a slumber party. When the video was over, the school nurse answered all our questions and gave us some brochures. I couldn’t wait to get home and read them, front to back.
I practically memorized every line of those brochures. Even at ten years old, I had a type-A personality and wanted to be prepared for “The Moment.” I also read everything Judy Blume had to write on the subject until December 5, 1997 – the day of my menarche. Finally! I was a woman!
(Yes, I know the date of my menarche.)
(Yes, I just used the word “menarche.”)
When I think back to that time in my life, it makes complete sense that I’m totally in love with my period now. Guys, I’m for real. I actually look forward to getting my period every month. Yes, I appreciate the regular reminders that I’m not pregnant, but there’s more to it than that. I feel like such a woman when I’m on my period -- in tune with my body and hyperaware of all that’s happening within it. I don’t mind the mild cramps or the mood swings, either. I embrace it all.
It might be because it’s all so cyclical. I’m a big fan of predictability (type-A folks, represent!). I find the routine of my period to be super comforting and have no interest in interfering with that. Unfortunately, a few months ago, I accidentally did by starting a new pack of birth control pills a week too soon. I frantically called my gynecologist to see what I could do to “take it back.” She was very confused when I explained that I didn’t want to miss my period and told me there was nothing I could do about it. I had to wait 28 more days until I felt normal again. I literally did the Cabbage Patch when my period came a month later.
Recently learning how to use tampons might be another reason why I love my period so much. I didn’t start using them until I was 27 years old, a fact I’m somewhat embarrassed about, by the way. I’ve had friends try all sort of techniques, in hopes of teaching me how to use them. These gals gifted me with tampons, drew pictures of female anatomy for me, and cheered me on outside of bathroom stalls. Unfortunately, nothing worked and each failed attempt added a layer of shame until finally, I gave up. I guess I’ll just use pads forever, I dejectedly thought.
A few years ago, however, I had no choice but to figure it out. I was visiting my mother-in-law who lives in a community for active seniors. I really wanted to attend their water aerobics class and refused to let my period get in the way of me doing so. Just minutes after arriving at her place, I locked myself in the bathroom and forced myself to take care of business. Ten minutes later, I walked out a changed woman and headed straight to the pool, beaming with pride. I haven’t touched a pad since.
(It’s amazing how motivating a water aerobics class for seniors can be.)
Most importantly to me, I think there’s something about knowing that my menses are finite that makes me want to appreciate each one as much as I can, while I can. A friend recently told me about one of her friends who feels sad every time her period comes. She says it’s because each new period means another egg of hers no longer exists.
While I don’t quite relate to that feeling of loss, I understand where she’s coming from. Additionally, menopause looks tough and pregnancy looks even tougher. Both make a few days of bleeding and cramping seem like nothing (though this is coming from a gal who doesn’t experience extreme symptoms during her periods).
I don’t know if my love for my period is an unpopular opinion or not. I mean, I often hear women complain about their periods, but very rarely hear them express enjoyment of them. I already know I’m weird, for more reasons than just this, so I’m not looking to make sure I’m “normal.” But I am curious to know who else out there loves to be visited by Aunt Flo. Is anyone else obsessed like I am? Or should I be embarrassed that I wrote this in the first place?