Parting the Red Sea

Uterus-not-havers, buckle up, cuz we talkin’ ’bout menstruation today.

My first period happened when I was 11. Every roughly 20-26 days after that, I got to bleed for another 8. The first two nights I didn’t get to sleep because they did not make feminine hygiene products that could deal with the amount of blood I lost. My cramps were so bad that my choices were “knock self out with Excedrin” or “be screaming in pain” and I’m not actually exaggerating this time.

I mention this because if there happened to be a math test on day 1 of “that special time” when I was “not at my best” because my “vagina was bleeding”? I was completely and totally screwed. Roughly once a month I was physically incapable of being a functional member of society, not because of any sort of social taboo or “moon hut” or whatever, but because my body was attempting self-seppuku. I was actually ecstatic when my period showed up on a weekend because while it completely ruined my weekend, at least I wasn’t missing obligations.

When I was 21 I found out that the birth control pill could be used to at least help regulate that sort of thing and might even make things a little less awful. When I finally got around to telling my parents that I was on the pill, it was in the context of being out shopping on day 1 of my period and my mother stopped and stared at me with her mouth open like “holy shit you can move?!” Last summer I got a hormonal IUD implanted and I haven’t had a period since – and I have never felt so much like an actual, functional member of society. This is what half of society feels like all the time, with no interruptions to their concentration or having to think about crap did that tampon just blow out and I need to get to the bathroom to check but I have to finish out this meeting because it’s important and nope there go my favorite work khakis and my pride.

We’re so squeamish as a society about menstruation, we’re fighting to get contraceptives removed from obligate insurance coverage because SLUTS, but the unfortunate side effect of that is not just that people with uteruses who like having sex with people with penises might occasionally be “punished” with unwanted babies but also that we’re Keeping Women In Their Places because they can’t afford to choose when and if Aunt Flo shows up or what force she shows up with. And that’s some bullshit right there.

4 thoughts on “Parting the Red Sea

  1. Wow, you had it bad. Most women find it less of a problem than you, but at least one woman I know went on the pill just to modulate the damned thing.

  2. It took childbirth to quell the worst of my misery. My last menstruation was January 2005 and, let me tell you, I don’t miss it a bit.

  3. I still get cramps on the first day of my period even on the pill. Couldn’t imagine what they’d be like if I weren’t. Oh wait, I know exactly what it’s like… and it sucks. My favorite was when the paid was so much that I’d vomit. @Kaleberg — I’m sure more than one woman that you know went on the pill to modulate it, but we’re not allowed to talk about icky squicky bodily functions.

  4. Used to be a functional anemic because of it. LIterally kept Pampers in a shoulder-bag, ’cause no pads lasted more than an hour the first 4 days.

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