It’s not just belly bloating, major moodswings, and cramps.
I’m not in a particularly educational mood today, so I’ll chalk this blog up to salt. I’m in the center of arguably one of the most horrific periods of my life, and so I’m leaning more toward salty after my death-cramps sent me to bed early where I just hoped to drift off into slumber while curled in the fetal position, only to be woken up twice by my husband loudly playing videogames, followed by repeated wakings due to his chainsaw snores…. yeah, salty. He grew up with women, he’s not a moron, yet, I think, deep down, he still thinks periods are no big deal. Or, that after over two decades of dealing with them, I should be used to the discomfort and side effects.
He’s wrong. And instead of doing something evil, like catching up on Game of Thrones without him, I’ll use my rage in a productive way: to spread the truth. The TRUTH, truth.
Men, and I don’t just direct this at you, this could be used for young girls as a lesson of what’s to come, but today I point out the men of the world– if you know that cramps are horrible, that periods aren’t just about “women being emotional”– if you can even come close to sympathizing, I appreciate you. But just summing up periods as bloating, cramps, and crying at Hallmark commercials, is doing us women a real disservice.
All periods are different, so while I can’t speak for all women, I’d like to set the record straight the best I can. Give you what some might call “TMI” but, y’know what? If we women can’t be comfortable, you shouldn’t be able to be comfortable either!
Let’s start with the ever-popular to be mocked “mood swings”. I don’t just go from manically happy one second to crying the next. Shit doesn’t work that way. I find more that random shit annoys me. Random things piss me off. I’m, in general, more irritable. But I’m not going to bite your head off. You don’t need to hide and throw chocolate at me from afar to appease my angry uterus. Chocolate is welcome, but it’s not going to instantly snap me back to “normal.” It could be that I’m in a nasty mood because my period seemed like it was over, so I put back on my “good” underwear, only for it to come back and destroy them. Yes, that’s right, we have specific “period” underwear– the kind we don’t mind ruining either because it’s dark colored, or it’s been ruined before and we kept it around so we won’t ruin OTHER pairs.
Look, I’m just as annoyed by myself on my period as anyone else.
That brings us to cravings. Why do we “need” chocolate before our periods? Because our bodies crave magnesium. What’s high in magnesium? Cocoa beans. Magnesium can help decrease PMS symptoms, such as cramping, tender breasts, bloating, etc. So, eating chocolate isn’t just part of being moody bloated beasts, it’s helping ourselves. Personally, I crave salt. ALL THE TORTILLA CHIPS IN THE WORLD! It’s not just being a lazy cow- when a woman’s body craves salt during her menstrual cycle, it’s because it has a mineral deficiency. OR, MAYBE, good, delicious food just makes us feel better when we’re feeling bad, so perhaps we should be allowed to indulge without the judgment.
Ahhh bloating. Good ol’ bloating. PMS? Balloon belly. What more is there to say? Well, what more there is, is that it’s not JUST belly bloating. Pants aren’t the only things that become unbearable.
My entire body basically turns into a sack of clay when I’m on my period. Nothing looks right, no clothes fit right. It’s almost like I’m in someone else’s body. Belly bloating is obnoxious, but it’s only one piece of the tiny puzzle. And I didn’t get “lucky” in the period department and get big boobs during my cycle, though they DO hurt like a mofo. There’s no “golden ticket” – no matter which card you draw, it’s not going to be fun.
Oh, and did I mention I itch? Because I itch like fucking crazy.
Who could forget cramps? ME! ME ME ME! Oh, right, I wasn’t giving the option, because it’s impossible. Cramps are a nightmare, and they come in all different forms. Low front stomach pain, back cramps, all-around the waist cramps, full body aches, mild enough cramps that may not put you out of commission but constant enough to cause fatigue, to “this feels like giving birth” cramps. Do you know what ALL of these cramps do? Tense up all of our insides. This can increase any pain we already experience, such as tight, sore muscles, or chronic pain/fatigue. It can flare up chronic illness, or make any bug we have feel ten times worse. Oh, and guess what the uterus is near? The stomach. And guess what happens when you tense up the stomach? Yeah. Poop. A lot of poop. And it doesn’t smell like roses… unless the roses were buried in the corpse of a bear left in the hot sun for three days.
What about birth control? Can’t that regulate things? My sister said…
HEY, look… stop. For one- it’s really none of your business about whether or not I’m a) on birth control and/or b) am willing to take it. Secondly, birth control is not for everyone. For many reasons. Did you know there is a male birth control in the works, and the reason it hasn’t gone to market is because of… GASP… side effects? The same ones women deal with? Yeah, look, I’m with you dudes, I can’t do it either.
Well if you’re done having kids, why don’t you have a hysterectomy?
LISTEN HERE, BUDDY. You want me to have incredibly invasive surgery, deal with recovery, and the after effects, just to stop my monthly visitor?
No. I’m keeping my period. I’m also going to keep bitching about my period. And I, along with all other women of the world, would appreciate a little bit of understanding. Maybe a little compassion. A lot of silence…. and hell, even some chocolate.
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