To my period,
I’m trying to work out a way to be elegant and poetic about it, but, to be honest, the truth is a little too simple for that. The fact is, that you’re two months late, and I miss you.
I miss the incredibly badass feeling that comes from knowing that one of my internal organs is literally able to build up its lining and then shed it every single month. It’s like a monthly episode of The Block Australia, where each month, the contestants have to start from scratch, to build a home fit for a foetus and then demolish it just as quickly; but all of this is happening inside my body, and with a bit more blood involved. (Also, fortunately, it’s not aired on national television!) It’s knowing that legitimately every month (or every whenever-you-feel-like it because honestly, you’ve never been particularly punctual), my body is able to prepare itself to grow a whole new human being. A literal, whole, human being. And not only that, the whole system is self-cleaning, can regulate its own pH and genuinely get a whole human out of your body. Did I mention this whole ‘creating a human thing’? Insane, right? That is actually why we have periods – most animals don’t actually create a uterine wall until an ovum has been fertilised. But, unlike the foetuses of many other animals, human foetuses need a particularly thick uterine wall to help them, amongst other things, grow an amazingly large brain. (For more reading on this, I recommend Animal by Sarah Pascoe.) Periods, therefore, are essentially the result of an evolutionary arms race between our bodies and our baby’s brains. Seriously, how does one not feel seriously hardcore when they are on their period?
Actually, you probably already know the answer to that question. We’ve been lucky and we’ve had a pretty good relationship, but it’s hard to feel hardcore about your period when you’re also in intense pain (which I’ve fortunately avoided), or just feeling incredibly awkward (which I have not). When you learn about your period in hushed voices away from the male teachers at school, you don’t just learn the biology, you pick up on the shame that seemingly attaches to it, too.
And the shame is honestly such a shame, because really, once we got used to each other, we’ve been able to get on quite well. When practically half the population menstruates, it seems more than a little silly that the other half of the population (who will presumably interact with us menstruators at some point in their lives) doesn’t learn about it at all. (And it seems even crazier that periods stop some girls from learning at all).
Long story short – you’re important to me. But do you know what I miss the most? When you’re around, there’s an unshakable feeling that my body is functioning as it should. Of knowing that this age-old cycle that links every generation of humanity is as messy and important and perfect as ever. Now that you’re gone, I just miss the certainty of knowing that my body is ok and healthy, and that I’m looking after it properly.
Can we still be friends? Please come back.