Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Let's talk about blood - menstruation in a male dominated world

Today is supposed to be the first day of my period. I am sore. So sore.

It feels like there is a vice crushing my uterus so that it is forced to close in on itself. I wake up early only to make it to work late because I find it hard to concentrate on getting ready. I go to pee when I get to the bathroom at the office only to see my brand new briefs stained with blood. It soaked through the measly fucking pantyliner.


I hope I have a tampon. I find one somewhere in my stationery draw and am grateful.

I pop two paracetamols and one ibuprofen. I wait for the pain to subside. It doesn't. An hour has passed and I am supposed to be working on an urgent document, but can't bring myself to focus. The contractions get worse. I am seeing a bit blurry. I bend over my tummy so that my head is under my desk. My eyes well up with tears. No-one notices. 

Fuck this.

I make the executive decision to fuck off home. Fuck. Fuck this shit. How the FUCK am I supposed to be productive when I feel this way? I start having doubts about calling in sick, and decide to work from home. I convince myself that it will be easier to work if I'm lying down. Drugged up. In clean panties and oversized track pants made for a chubby man. 

Why the fuck could I not just be a chubby man? Or a man?

I am 27. I have been having my period for fifteen years now. FIFTEEN YEARS. Yet every time it happens I feel like it is the first time. I take pills to control the hormones, and pills to control the pain but it never gets any easier. 

It never feels like the symptoms associated with menstruation are a legitimate excuse to stop what I am doing, and have a legitimate rest. Every time I menstruate I get angry, MAD, APOPLECTIC. I feel like a kid. I feel intolerant of my body. I feel incapacitated by the physical pain, and overcome by the emotional turmoil. I feel relief that the cycle will be over soon, but I can't cut myself the slack that I need. 

For some reason I feel like I need to be doing more. Working just as hard as any other day. Eating less sweets, gymming through the misery and acting normal. 


Why do I hate myself so much when I am on my period?

Why am I so intolerant of this natural and miraculous bodily process?

Who taught me to feel this way?

Why is it that we live in a world that does not acknowledge the feminine?

Why is it still taboo to mention periods at work or in public?

Why is period pain treated like an illegitimate ailment?

Why am I so angry, so enraged?


I know the answer to these questions. I know a male dominated society is designed around the premise that female bodily functions are unworthy of attention. I get even more angry. It makes me want to rebel against work. Against the system that treats menstruating humxns like machines. It makes me fume.

Instead I curl up in a ball with a hot beanbag on my tummy and cry. At the same time I hope that my little act of courage (making it home and to bed) means something in a world that refuses to acknowledge half its population. I try to calm my mind about the anxiety about the work I need to do.

Deep down I lament the sad fact that... "If period pain were a male problem it would be solved by now."


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