Every month on the first day of my period I write a post. The responses have encouraged me to believe that even though menstruation is a natural function of many women, it is still a very taboo subject. Unless I am bleeding I don’t actively think about what it means, or how it affects the lives of other women. As soon as I hit the fifth day of my cycle and period is over I immediately forget and embrace a sense of freedom.
You see, I still see having my period as losing something key about myself for a number of days. I know that this is nothing but the internalization of the negative ideas that have been associated with menstruation. I can do anything that I would do at any other time of the month and yet somehow I refrain because, hey I’m on my period and I’m not supposed to engage in certain activities.
I should be more aware of how my body changes throughout the course of a typical month. I should try to embrace the physical but I do not. Womanhood has become to conflated in my mind with the untouchable, the defiled and so I have to consciously force myself to be aware of my own physicality. I have been menstruating since I was 10 years old and yet each month it still comes as a surprise to me. I am so disconnected from my own cycle that the first day of my period often finds me thinking, I cannot believe it’s been a month already.
A reader sent me a menstrual calendar and the image above is what is featured on it. I have decided that it is time to start tracking my periods and noting how my body changes from day to day. This self imposed disconnect is not natural and a product of the ways in which I have internalized patriarchal beliefs about female bodies. My body deserves better than to be disregarded. It is not just an outward shell that I hulk around in. So, yes it is period time and next month I will know when it is coming because I will for the first time ever anticipate its arrival.