Sunday, November 13, 2011

Aunt Flow Loves Punctuation

Have you ever wondered why a woman's menstruation cycle is called a period?
I guess it doesn't take too much to answer that wondering anyway because period isn't just a punctuation. It's also a block or amount of time. An interval. A woman's "cycle" is just that, I suppose. What I think is funny are all the other names we use when we don't want to come out and say MENSTRUATION.

Aunt Flow
Uncle Tom
Time of Month
PMS (which really if you know what the acronym stands for you wouldn't use this one, would you? Pre-Menstrual Syndrome...really, people do we need an English lesson here? pre=preceding i.e. before)
Anyway, don't get me started on PMS!
the bloating
and the cramps
and the increased drive for sex (is this just me? oops!)
Cranberry Juice (this may have just been a code that some of my high school friends used around our guy friends so as to not make them uncomfortable.)
The Curse
Crimson Tide

Whatever way you say it, it's still the lining of the uterus sluffing off and coming out of the body via the vagina. And as embarrassing or gross as some might find it, I think that menstruating is a very LOVELY thing. I've always been a little embarrassed myself to say that I enjoy my period because it seems like society has taught women to hate it. I find it rather fascinating. And to be honest I'm still in working on finding a good way to keep it a little bit contained so I don't go around having bloody pants all the time.

I started out using pads.
Those were awful. Never soaked up anything--especially because it's not just blood coming out; there're clumps of the lining of my uterus as well.
I "graduated" to tampons, which still don't really soak up anything because (I feel like I"m repeating myself) there are clumps of the lining of my uterus coming out as well as streams of blood. I also really hate tampons because I always feel like I'm pulling a bloody, dead mouse by the tail out of my body when the tampon is full up. Now THAT is gross.

I decided at one point that pads were stupid because they had all these nasty cotton things and plastic wrap and weird cloth webbing stuff and no matter what I did I always got blood everywhere especially at night as I lay sleeping. So, my solution was to go back to the good ol days--rags. I have my "period rags", which in all honesty are actually just wash cloths that I put between my legs at night when I'm On-the-Rag and then use to wash my face (if ever I wash my face) the rest of the time. My rag is one of my favorite things about my period because I get to wash it out every morning and watch the brilliant reds drip and swoosh around in the sink and down the drain. Periods are just beautiful. I love having a rag too because it's so much more cost effective. I have one rag which I use for everything (actually I have 2 because I think it came in a little towel set, but it works out good that way because if my rag doesn't completely dry by bedtime then I have another), and I don't have to pay for a bajillion new pads that will not even collect what I need it to before throwing it away.

EW. don't even get me started on the whole feminine products industry and how it's just a ploy to squeeze money out of women because there's really no escaping the monthly visit from Aunt Flow and Uncle Tom. Yeah, I'm not even gonna go there right now.

I'm still working on finding something better than tampons. Lately I've been trying out soft cups, which might only be produced in one brand at the moment called Instead. So far I like the concept much better because they're little cups that catch all the blood AND the little uterus clumps...I'm just not sure yet if this is my favorite way to contain my beautiful messes, but it seems to be much better than tampons at least. There are no strings--no dead, bloody mice images. That's a big plus!

I've heard of other options like sea sponges, which doesn't seem to help with the clumpies, but then again I haven't ever tried them so who knows. Do you know of any other options? I'd love to hear about them.

Sorry (except not really) for another post about bodily fluids, but I just thought periods would be something nice to talk about since nobody ever really does talk about them.

Women, you have anything to say about periods?
Men, you have any questions about periods that you've never been able to ask before?
Share!! ASK!!! :)

~live your own truth~


  1. I'm currently being treated for PCOS. It's where you don't have enough estrogen in your system to properly have periods, so you get cysts in your ovaries instead. Considering how few periods I've had in the past ten years, I assume that my ovaries would burst and cause severe internal bleeding before I turned fifty.

    So, I started on birth control to try to even out my hormone flow, along with a few other daily pills. It's been one huge ride since, and every single day involves cramps. I think periods are terrible things, but they do have a sense of power to them. Women are forced to know what blood is and know what the pain of bleeding is every month--giving them even just a little more strength in the face of danger.

    It's something that has granted women a position of mystery and magical power across many cultures. It's been an excuse to expose women as weak and powerless (and sometimes for good reason.)

  2. I have PCOS too. And my cousin also. She referred to the cysts bursting as "being stabbed with an ice pick." While I didn't like knowing my cousin was in pain also it was nice to know I wasn't crazy with these freakish periods and pain all the time (don't get me started on the extra fat and hair).
    As for the menstrual cycle post I thought it was morbidly fascinating because in my family we don't talk about. My grandma didn't get a talk about it until she was pregnant at 17 (a little too late in my opinion) and no one thought to tell me that bleeding all over the place was normal. Anyway it was nice to have it so out in the open and how you are so comfortable with it. Maybe instead of hating it I will just lovingly refer to it as hell :)

  3. Uh, I'm sorry, ladies. I have no idea what PCOS even is, but from what you're describing it sounds HORRIBLE. I would probably hate my period too. But, just because I'm being defensive about loving my period I'm going to say that PCOS is NOT your period, so mostly your period sucks is because of this other syndrome or whatever it is and not because of menstruation.

    Now that's out of the way...Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it. And I'd love to learn more about this sounds scary. How many people do you suppose has it?

    I think it's interesting that periods do create this sense of mystery and power while at the same time creating a sense of weakness in women. Thanks for pointing that out.

  4. I have the cysts on my ovaries too! But I have the opposite problem and my body sometimes likes giving me two periods a month. I really don't mind my period anymore. It's a hassle if you're trying to live your life, but inside you're thinking, "If I don't change my tampon in the next five seconds..." But I embrace the week (or two weeks if I have those two periods) where I'm not a robot like I usually am and get to feel some emotions (albeit sometimes too violently) and cry. It's a great time to talk to my mom about gay stuff because then she feels bad instead of getting angry because I'm a weeping mess.

    I just hate that PMS. I don't get grumpy, as often stereotyped. All of the hormones mess with my existing depression/anxiety issues and some months all I think for those few days is that suicide is the logical way to deal with anything terrible that happens, as minor as it may be. And a whole bunch of cutting/self-harm stuff is triggered and that's no good.

    But I love syncing up with my roommates. None of them ever do.
    Me: We're period pals!
    Roommates: ...I hate you...