Menstruating Is Cleaning Out the Bilges

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Having a period is like clearing out the bilges. Yes, it’s tiresome, dirty work, and you are in danger of maxing out your credit card, saying unforgivable sxxt to someone vitally important to you, and / or stepping out dressed in a “symphony of reds”, but at the same time it’s what a girl’s gotta do.

Suddenly all your repressed emotions fly out and splatter all over your nice, clean family / work / social life. Specifically, I’m talking about your opinion of your partner’s particularly annoying sexual proclivities, your children’s least endearing character traits, your friend’s obsessively obsessive self-obsession and your co-workers’ just, just, basic annoyingness. Like whipping off a plaster on a particularly hairy inner thigh, there’s nothing for it but to just get that sucker off and say what you gotta say. In any event, do you have a choice? Mother Nature says: “no.”

Maxine Smilley, shamanic teacher, states that periods are shamanic. I look on menstruation as psychic house-cleaning. Especially since, as women, we often (feel the) need to be better than any man in order to get to the same place, attend to our appearances more, not guffaw like a donkey crossed with a machine gun, not pick under our fingernails or generally be un-ladylike. All that while suffering from stomach cramps, nausea, sciatic pain and anaemia through blood loss. So sometimes the valve just blows and out comes all those little things that you weren’t going to mention because you’re not petty. ALL of those things.

When I see the sign for the priority seat on the train, I’m tempted to add: “Heavily menstruating women” to the list of priority users. Think about it: out of an average 28-day cycle, women are menstruating during 5 of those days. So that means that we are having periods on one day out of five or six. Which also means that one in five to six women you see today is bleeding like a stuck pig, all the while acting as if nothing were and risking white trousers.

Actually, I count my period as a blessing. Although, frankly, as I don’t have a choice, why not? But think about it: when all the muck from your psyche-sump has sprayed out and redecorated your life like Jackson Pollock attached to a helicopter rotary, do you feel a certain catharsis? Of course you do. Better out than in, never apologise never explain and so on. Well, that’s my excuse, and like the wing of a sanitary towel attached to a stray pube so that every step feels like a bikini wax, I’m sticking to it.

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