What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
As thrilled as I am to not be pregnant right now, I know whatever the hell is happening inside my organs is directly related to the fact that I’m on my period.
I MUST DIGRESS IMMEDIATELY TO TELL YOU THIS: In rehab, this pretty Native American lady came in every Friday to brush sage smoke on us with eagle feathers, and to lead a craft, like making Power Sticks (which involved hot-gluing embellishments that represented our recovery on tree branches, such as shells and stones and hot-pink feathers).
One week, she told us that many tribes call periods “moon time” and that the women who are “mooning” get to go into a special tent where they are treated very nicely and given foot rubs and stuff. It blew my mind! And everyone else’s. After that visit, anytime a girl got her period, she’d say, “Ughhh, I’m MOONING right now.”
So, yes, I’m mooning hardcore, and my lower abdomen feels like someone is stabbing it. Also, I’m BLOATED! Ugh, I feel disgusting.
Since wearing any other articles from my sweet clothing rack (we don’t have closets in Bushwick) get so tight they make me want to DIE by EOD, I’ve been wearing my maxi skirts with elastic bans from American Apparel. I have two of them (this plaid one and this one, in black, of course). And I’ve been wearing them for exactly three days straight now.
I’m realizing this might be an issue: Does everyone in my office think I’m a lazy slob? Also, I see my therapist on Thursdays, and she always thinks my maxi skirts signify that I’m falling into a deep depression -- I wore them a lot before I gave into everyone’s requests to go to treatment and flew across the country to glue things on sticks.
(These skirts seriously feel like wearing a blanket, and are the socially acceptable equivalent to staying in bed all day, I think.)
Rather than going on a repeat-wearing spree of my elastic-waist skirts every month during moon time, I may or may not do the following:
You may think, “No, shit,” but there was a time when I didn’t take ANY pills at all, not even Tylenol! (Except, I did take Ecstasy? I don’t understand myself.) I now realize I was out of my mind, and Midol is the best thing ever. Originally, I started taking it for cramps, but it helps with bloat enormously.
I keep some at home, in my desk at work, and instead of keeping some at my boyfriend’s, I like to text him from bed when he’s out getting coffee so he can go into the nearest bodega and ask, “Do you have, um, Meed-al?” (He’s not French, unfortunately, he just has no idea what he’s talking about.)
Will I do this? Yes, popping pills is easy, I’ve come to learn. (Thanks, rehab!) Bonus: Extra caffeine!
TAKE SOME PROBIOTICS
Bloating that happens during your period is your body retaining water due to hormonal changes –- but duh, you already knew that. HOWEVER, this can affect your body in a myriad of exciting ways, like when you’re going to the bathroom. (Ya dig?) Probiotics can help gastrointestinal problems by restoring your system with good bacteria.
Over flooding your body with probiotics when you might not need it can make you more bloated -- so take caution, and don’t overdo it! Or eat some delicious yogurt.
Will I do this? I’ll take a probiotic supplement (more pills!) or eat Greek yogurt -- that’s high in probiotics -- twice a week if I feel like I’m dying. Or when I’m feeling motivated to make my vagina healthy. So yes. Easy.
To get rid of some of that water your body’s retaining, you must sweat. If you have access to a sauna, sit in it. Or ride your bike or run or do the elliptical, but I guess those don’t sound as easy.
Will I do this? My gym DOES have a sauna and I pay way too much to go there, I don’t feel like running right now, and I’m sorry. (I did just go on a walk around my block, though, and it made me feel better.)
DRINK LOTS OF WATER
Erm, I did think this was counterintuitive to getting rid of water weight. Apparently, drinking water helps water retention, for the sole purpose that it makes you pee more to get rid of it.
Will I do this? Didn’t before, but now I will…
EAT FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Same thing: Eating foods that are water-rich is KEY. Here are some: peaches, pineapple, WATERmelon, strawberries, cucumbers, celery, and tomatoes. Just add one to every meal.
Will I do this? Mmm… no. Maybe. Is anything in season right now? Baby carrots contain lots of water, too, and they’re easy.
STOP EATING SALT & OTHER SHITTY SHIT FOR THE MOMENT
As much as I want a Diet Coke and a classic NYC street pretzel right now (haha, I never eat either of those things -– wait, I love chips and ginger ale, damn it!) foods with salt and carbonation are only going to make my jeans feel tighter.
Will I do this? Yes? Yes.
TRY NOT TO EAT AIR
Like carbonated beverages, chewing gum or eating fast can also make you more bloated, since it causes air bubbles to sneak their way into your system.
Will I do this? Not eating fast is really difficult if you’ve made it a habit, ya’ll.
SCREW WHAT PEOPLE SAY AND WEAR MY SKIRTS
I do really love them and I don’t care what other people think. (About my outfits, anyway.) Plus, they’re so versatile!
Will I do this? Obviously, yes.
So, are you mooning? Bloated? Do you love Midol as much as I do? What do you wear to work when none of your other clothes fit? Also I just learned as I was finishing this that I may have a cyst on my ovary that exploded. COOL! Isn’t being a woman fun?
Here’s Lesley’s Period Survival Kit.
Follow me on Twitter: @caitlinthornton