Day 26 (Week 4) – ALL THE FEELS
Current theme song:
(Or for a deeper cut, “Million Years Ago.” All right, all right, the whole 25 album.)
The feels, the feels, ALL the feels. If for some reason I had not known my period was imminent, this would surely be my tears-in-the-headlights heads up. OK, lady cycle, you got me. I’ll bite. Literally and figuratively, because the cravings have kicked in, too.
Let’s take a moment to recognize and appreciate cravings…
See? They’re not so bad. Would you like a cookie for taking a second to acknowledge your needs? Yes! Why not two? Actually, at the moment I’m in more of a salty – french fries, mac and cheese, salt ‘n’ vinegar chips – sort of comfort cravings groove.
The cruel joke here is that self-judgement is also at its height. Here’s another feel, the physical one: body=ugh. Things are starting to feel puffy, my cells seem to be expanding, and even the most comfy clothing doesn’t fit quite right. And I’m one of those wear stretchy pants as much as possible gals.
You could say I’m feeling more sensitive all around. For a normally highly sensitive person this can be both annoying and indulgent. If you’re not aware of it, sometimes this can go too far. Years ago, when I didn’t understand why I was feeling this way, it would send me to a dark place. My relationship to food was not healthy – there was binging. I would feel shame. I would feel disgusted by my body. I would feel disconnected from the world, my friends, my family. My self-soothing was derailed. But once I understood what my body was going through, what it was trying to tell me, that this is only temporary, and actually isn’t so bad once I face it, I could honor it, and indulge it in a healthy way.
Speaking of cravings and feels and sensitivity, this is one of those reflective FEELy days, when the sudden pangs of nostalgia kick in, when every lonely lover’s song is speaking directly to ME. The fact that Adele’s latest album came out today is no coincidence.
Yes, of course it’s coincidence. Adele and I did not go over my cycle schedule when she was planning the release of her highly anticipated album after 4 years of absence. But she MAY have been reading my Cycledork Chronicles and calculated it herself! I’d like to think so.
So as much as it’s a spelunking into moments past kind of day, it’s also a celebration. A time for reflection doesn’t always have to be a bummer. To be completely honest though, yes, it is at first. I let myself go there. I play old songs, look through old pictures, let the memories, the emotions, the bittersweet melancholia pulse through my veins. Because after I do, and this is totally true, I feel so much better. Well, lighter. Because I can feel it, be in it, acknowledge it, experience it, and then let it go and buoy back.
Here’s the sweet to the bitter. Everything seems so romantic and meaningful, even the sad stuff.
I entertain thoughts like…
hmmm…Maybe I do want to get married. And have babies! I want to save all the animals on the planet…and I want to hug everyone I know and tell them I love them!
I do want all of these things (well, most of them – I’m not so hung up on marriage) but today I’m feeling it all more intensely. For now I’ll settle for a sending a few heartfelt emails and getting some much-needed snuggles with my partner and kitties, instead.
Romantic comedies – so cliché, right? Not today, friend. It’s another indulgence I don’t normally find that fulfilling or worth my time, but if You’ve Got Mail is on TV you better believe I’ll have the coconut oil-drizzled popcorn ready! By the way, an old movie that feels nostalgic (who remembers AIM and dial up??) and is also a sweet romantic comedy with a happy ending: YGM = Week 4 brilliance. Throw in a glass of wine (or 3) and it’s a perfect Friday evening.
(Side thought: this may also be part of where that premenstrual “regular life is not good enough” thing stems from. The reason you’re feeling crappy about your body. The reason you’re second-guessing your significant other – was my mother right about him? The culprit behind nothing being the way you want it to be. Why can’t everyone just do what you want them to? Why is that so hard? Why can’t things just go my way? Because your hormones have you living in a rom-com wrapped in an Adele song, sister. But, all in all, what’s wrong with a little romance?)
In this current space, there’s an urge to feel, and a need to indulge that urge. I’ve learned for myself that the key is to find a balance there. To remind myself that it’s OK to be feeling these feels. Because it is, and when you think about it, that’s kind of special. This is NOT an indicator of weakness. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
I recently realized I’m not a hater of this time of my cycle (end of Week 4) because it forces me to be extra embodied. In our modern lives we can get easily detached from our bodies, or we mask our feels with things like medication, drugs, alcohol, or other feelings like anger and frustration. I may be weird, I know, but I like experiencing these heightened sensations. Pain, sucks, sure. I’ll pop an ibuprofen here and there. But it’s more about being present to what my body is telling me, and flowing with it, rather than ignoring it or trying to hide it. Believe me, the struggle is not worth it. Plus, I learn more about myself and give myself room (permission) to grow emotionally every time.
For this Day 26, Week 4, I will indulge, consciously, and give the feels a fighting chance.
Special thanks to progesterone!
PRO TIP: Two hyphenated words: Self-soothe. Make a list of healthy self-soothing methods. This may take a few cycles to figure out, and maybe it’s different each time. Take note. Observe. Communicate this to your partner and friends. Yes, it’s easy to just pass it off by saying, “Oh, I’m just PMS-ing” but what does that mean to you? What would make you feel better? Really. If it’s crying to the new Adele album by all means, go for it. You are not alone.
PARTNER TIP: You may automatically get the sense you need to step away and give your premenstrual partner her space. But this may actually make things worse, because you may be encouraging the old thought: “if we avoid it, it will just go away, right?” And also the tired idea that PMS turns women into monsters. My advice? Check in. Be kind. Communicate. Offer to take part in the comforting, self-soothing rituals. You might even get some delicious eats of out it! And more importantly, your partner’s gratitude for being so present with her.
New readers please note:
The Cycledork Chronicles are based on my 4-week menstrual cycle pattern that lasts around 29 days on average. (note: I do not use hormonal birth control). I’ve been keeping track of my cycle for years (even before apps!) and because of this I’ve uncovered patterns that have helped me better navigate my life and become a kinder friend to my body, my mind and my period. An expert I am not, except of my own body and cycle experiences. You may have similar days to mine or your experience may be completely different. My hope is that some of you might be able to relate, celebrate, or commiserate with me, or at least get a good laugh as I chronicle my ladyhood. Because for me, the more I learn about my own body and cycle, the more empowered I feel. I hope you do, too.
I welcome any and all thoughts in the comments!
Want to better understand your cycle hormones? Read this: Back To The Basics: What Is a Menstrual Cycle?