Love is a relative emotion. When I say I love my period I mean I love it more than I used to — I don’t love it more than, say, ice cream. I don’t even love it more than being sweaty! Periods are a total nightmare, that’s blanket-true. I’m still irritated on a regular basis that bleeding profusely from our vaginas every 28 days made it through six millions years of evolution. Ludicrous.
All the above said, I’ve managed to repackage the whole experience in my mind and have come out the other side genuinely appreciating the first rumblings of cramps. Swear.
For so long I dreaded the first day of my period. The pain, the fatigue, the game of tampon musical chairs. That I couldn’t control the timing of it was deeply frustrating. It would always loom when something important was coming up. The whole process incited a sense of vulnerability and powerlessness in me that’s hard to describe.
I still feel that way about the lack of control, but now with a different tilt: I await my period eagerly, impatiently. I want it to come as soon as fucking possible. Especially if something important is coming up. Hurry hurry hurry.
Learning about my hormone cycle changed everything for me. I’ve written about this before. It helped me to learn that, on the first day of my period, my body starts producing more estrogen, zapping me out of my pre-period fatigue, helping me shed my PMS bloat, boosting my energy, attention and mood for the next two weeks. It’s exciting! On the other hand, I now dread the estrogen dip that occurs the two weeks after I get my period, and the downward trajectory that follows it.
The act of closely tracking my hormonal cycle has changed my relationship with my body, full stop. When my period is perfectly on time, I feel a sense of triumph. You do not have to get a period to be a woman, but having one has helped me appreciate my own womanhood. Understanding all the complex mechanisms that make it happen makes me marvel at its consistency. Since I’m fortunate to not be an endometriosis sufferer, I’ve come to appreciate cramps as annoying-but-sort-of-comforting reminders that my body is doing what it’s supposed to. When my period’s late, I wonder what’s going on with my hormones. I worry for my body and I miss it. I long for the comfort its arrival brings. I pine for the estrogen climb it precedes. I wait and wait and celebrate when it finally arrives.
I really do. Sometimes I get so excited when my period comes that I feel the urge to tell everyone around me. I’ve been known to announce it at work (please do not try this) and do a little dance. It’s stupid. But I like it. I like loving my period. Hating it was bringing me down.