Welcome to our Cycledork Letters series! We recently asked people to contribute their candid thoughts on menstruation. The results were period pieces that were funny, personal, reflective, informative, and endearing. This is letter #10 in the series. Read all of the letters here.
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Cycledork Letters: #10
by Kara DeDonato
When I think of menstruation, or my period, what I really think about is my health and my fertility. I definitely subscribe to something my mentor Nicole Jardim often says, which is that our periods are our monthly report cards. How our periods do or do not show up each month is a direct reflection of whether or not we’ve eaten foods that serve us, whether or not we’ve practiced self care, whether or not we were gentle and compassionate towards ourselves.
Beyond that, I think of our menstrual cycles as being connected to our fertility, and our fertility as being connected to our power as women. This might seem rather obvious, but having been on the pill for nearly a decade, I spent a good number of years not thinking very much about menstruation or fertility at all.
And I definitely think a lot of us take our fertility for granted in our culture. Instead of honoring our ability to create life, we too often just medicate the entire system with hormonal contraception and shut it down. We skip our periods so that we don’t have to deal with the inconvenience on vacation. We take the pill so we don’t have to deal with the emotions that crop up for us pre-period. We do so much that distances ourselves from our bodies and the cyclical nature of our moods, energy levels and predisposition towards certain tasks.
Today, having ditched the pill, I love my monthly cycles. I love knowing where I am each step along the way so that I can take the best care of my body. I eat different foods throughout the month, do different kinds of exercise, and even plan a lot of my business around my cycle. Because it’s easier that way!
I know that I’m better at getting major stuff done before and during ovulation, I know I’m better at giving presentations at ovulation, I know I’m better at refining things and doing detail-oriented tasks during my luteal phase, and I know that I’m better at establishing goals and making plans during my bleeding days. Being conscientious of this sets me up for success because I’m not fighting my body, but working with it.
I wish I’d learned how to do this earlier in my life. When I was a teenager there was definitely a lot of “oh my body is crazy”, “I don’t know why I have PMS/acne/low energy”, etc. Now I know my body, and my cycle in particular, is an awesome system that yes, acts up when I’m not supporting it, but can also be harnessed to create a rich and vibrant life that I love.