How to Deal With a Menstrual Cycle
Day 1: Start your day by taking a trip to the nearest Target. Buy Midol, U by Kotex tampons and pads. As you approach the checkout line try not to cry when you see a couple holding hands in a loving embrace. Try not to imagine when they first met. But it was probably an English class. She read her story about periods and he fell in love with her honesty. Try not to think about their first date and the way he brushed her hair out of her face before he kissed her. Try not to think about all the dates they have had since then. The dates that led them to this moment, as they hold hands and stare deeply into each other’s’ eyes in the middle of Target for you to gawk at. Buy chocolate, you’re going to need it. Oh, and tissues too.
Day 2: Wake up and smell the coffee. First, you are going to have to make coffee. It will give you something to look forward to. All day, try not to say to idiot people, “Sorry I am on my period” or “I am busy menstruating”. Yes, that is what is happening to your body, but no, it does not need to be everyone’s business. Remind yourself that it is not everyone’s business. Remind yourself that your body is your right. Remind yourself that no man, law, or authority can tell you what you should do with your body. Remind yourself that it is the second day of your menstrual cycle and you are looking to get worked up about something. Anything, really.
Day 3: Watch The Notebook for the eighteen hundredth time. It is your monthly ritual, a reminder that these crazy, emotional feelings come and go and come back again. As your housemates try to hug you and tell you that they love you, accept it instead of acting like you hate it. Remind yourself that hormones amplify any and all lingering emotions you have had throughout this past month. They take the small segment of sadness, the mere ash of anger and pour copious amounts of lighter fluid on them. Then, as you begin your cycle, they light those emotions on fire and watch you burn. Remind yourself while those feelings are real, they are not as big of a deal as your cycle is making them seem.
Don’t listen to sad music today. Ben Howard, Keaton Henson, Angus and Julia Stone-fuck those guys. They’ll make you cry. They want you to cry. But maybe you need to cry. Maybe you need to get it out. But hold back tears anytime someone asks you how your day is going. Don’t tell them “The world is crumbling and we are all going to die”. Don’t tell them that it feels like the weight of the world’s problems are on your shoulders. Don’t tell them that you are thinking about all the problems your future children will have. Don’t tell them that you are worried no one will love you and that there will never be any future children. They’ll probably think you are crazy. They might be right.
Day 4: Drink tea today. Honey and lemon and chamomile will do. The honey and lemon will attack the lingering cramps. The chamomile will help keep you calm. Don’t be sassy today. Don’t bark at the stupid kid in class. Don’t tell everyone you are an anarchist and an atheist. Neither of these are true.
Day 5: Well, well, well: the storm has passed and now you are just waiting for the rainbow to come. Tell yourself you did good. Tell yourself you are woman and you may have gained 5 pounds from all the chocolate, pizza and French fries you ate these last five days, but it was what you needed. Tell yourself you are cool and you don’t feel like simultaneously crying and hitting people anymore. This is good. Tell yourself all is well now. At least for the next 28 days.
Allis Carvalho is a student, researcher and aspiring adult. Her poetry tries to acknowledge how societal constructions/assumptions inform personal experience. Her work ironically covers relationships, gender oppression, emotionality, grief and the occasional reference to the evils of capitalism. She is always a week behind on her word of the day calendar. She likes using the word ‘she’ a lot. And if you knew her, you might only maybe guess she wrote there poems.