We asked people to contribute their candid thoughts on menstruation. These are the results! Welcome to our Cycledork Letters series. This is letter #12. Read all of the letters here.
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Cycledork Letters: #12
by Spring Chenoa Cooper
I’ve always felt very strongly about not blaming my period for things. I don’t blame my period for my moods, my responses, my actions, my choices, my anything. I’ve spent years resisting yoga teachings of not inverting during my monthly bleeding. My period doesn’t limit me; it doesn’t make me less of a person.
But I also teach sexuality education. I teach about the hormonal fluctuations and how they affect us; and how they affect individuals differently. I know that there are real biological, physical, and emotional effects of a period.
It’s only in the past year or so that I’ve started to be able to notice patterns around my cycle. I get more impulsive during ovulation. I might spend money recklessly. I might drink excessively. I might be more prone to any of my at-risk behaviors. I am more tired and more prone to take things personally around the first days of my cycle.
And noticing these patterns gives me the power to acknowledge and discuss them more freely. I still don’t blame my hormonal cycle or my period for anything. But I can talk about the attributions now.
“I’m ovulating this week; I don’t think I should make a decision about this purchase right now. I’m feeling a little more irresponsible with spending than I normally might be.” (Notice it isn’t: I’m so hormonal, I can’t make decisions!)
“I got my period today, and I’m feeling really tired. I don’t think I need to go out tonight; I might stay home and have a bad TV marathon instead.” (Notice it’s not: I’m so crabby because of my period!)
I’m still totally against blaming. But I’ve gotten to the place where I can allow myself to experience my body a little more fully. I’m not ignoring the signals anymore. I can talk about them realistically.
And that feels really good.
ps: I got my period today. And I’m at home at 10pm on a saturday just writing this instead of doing holiday celebrations with my friends. I’m feeling home-body-ish. and that’s OK.
Spring Cooper is an Associate Professor with The CUNY School of Public Health with academic qualifications in public health, health promotion, and sexuality. Her academic background is in BioBehavioral Health, an interdisciplinary approach to health and prevention. Her PhD focused on the sexual health education implications of menstrual attitudes and knowledge among women of varying socio-economic status in the United States. After completing her PhD, she published The Secret. Period., a children’s book related to her dissertation research on periods. Follow her on instagram: @springc and twitter: @gurlilla, @secretperiod.