Sometimes people get very upset when menstruation is mentioned but I don’t think it is upsetting in the least. I remember I had a friend who would blanch at the topic every time it was brought up. She would lift up her hand and actually stop the conversation, like a crossing guard. She explained quickly and quietly that she’d never had any problems with her period, that it came and went easily within the span of 72 hours, with no pain and barely any symptoms, and discussion of it was to her a form of bad luck, as if her ears caught the words they would form themselves into vengeful hormones and alter her lucky situation for the worse.
Its too bad because she was a funny friend, and I would have loved to have known her observations on the subject, but she spoke little of it and would hear none so I couldn’t do much but slowly let the connection fade, the tender link between our phones and psyches pull thin until the signals were dying. All you have to do is not call back once, and its over. Painless, unlike my period.
I bleed like a madwoman, hard and hot, with fairly horrendous cramping. I bleed like a big cat might, a lioness or a Bengal tiger, queen and mother of the jungle, large and unafraid, ruling her world with efficient and elegant brutality – velvet paws with claws. Like a big cat, my life is ruled by blood. Month to month, every month.
I have a fallopian tube and an ovary that don’t like their jobs, and would rather be off in another part of my body, doing something else, anything else. When it’s that side’s turn to do that whole dance with the egg and the uterine lining, it makes sure the rest of the body is miserable. It bloats my belly and retains every drop of water imbibed to spite me. It coagulates the blood into huge, hard knots that stretch the inner tubes of me causing unbelievable cramping as they pass through. I am irrational and irritated and feel the sky falling and the ground rising and it’s every other month that this happens. The other ovary and fallopian tube is just fine. Whichever side’s turn it is, the whole process is long, with lots of stops and starts, maybe even an entire day going by without anything coming out. Sometimes I feel like an almost empty ketchup bottle, all the red at the base of the bottle, turned upside down and pounded. An-ti-ci-pa-tion…….
I try to push it out, but there’s only so much you can do. Douches don’t help. That’s just rinsing it out, and supposedly its not that good for you. Who knows. I don’t care for douches anyway. I have tried to drink lots of water as this is also another method of moving things out of the body. This has done nothing but make me go to the bathroom more.
What I dream of, which is a sick fantasy and probably something I won’t ever see in my lifetime, is a menstrual extraction machine. They have a patent for one at the museum of menstruation. It’s got a tip that inserts and some kind of a pump that feeds into a receptacle. There’s possibly a flywheel or something, I can’t remember what is exactly on the diagram. If something like this was ever developed I would go for it as soon as it was on the market – be one of those people who camp out at the apple store for the new ipad or iphone. I want to be the first in line to have it.
Supposedly women did this for each other in the high-minded feminist 60s and 70s. It was kind of a midwife thing and kind of a feminist thing, but mostly it was a way to get control over and an understanding of our own bodies. Early feminists would make a jar with tubing that they’d sterilize and use to siphon out each other’s period blood, like they were stealing gasoline. It became illegal, possibly because the process could be easily adopted to terminate pregnancy, and no one wanted to give women that much say over what happened to their bodies and their selves. So, it’s a mystery that remains unsolved, periods and their length and vigor and timing of flow and everyone is scared to ask the questions because the discussion in itself is considered uncouth, even by and especially by women. I love to talk about my period because I think it is interesting. It’s a weird thing that I endure monthly and it causes me much pain and stain. I need to make my feelings on the subject very public. It’s weird and I have never liked it and I want to complain. Why hold up your hand to stop my bleating when if we could just talk maybe I could stop this bleeding?