We recently put out the call for people to contribute their candid thoughts on menstruation with the purpose of raising awareness and positivity – even if their story isn’t so positive. The idea was to give them room to take it wherever they wanted, to share whatever they liked. The results are letters, all different and unique, all offering us some perspective, some personal reflections and revelations, and in a few cases, some hilarious levity. The letters series coincides with our current campaign to help us continue to build this site and community. Please view our campaign here – there are some amazing perks!
Cycledork Letters: #1
by Brigid Taylor
I haven’t always been happy to have a menstrual cycle. I mean, I never hated it or dreaded it, probably because I’ve never had it bad when it comes to cramps or mood swings and everything. My periods have always been regular in their own way (I can probably count on one hand how often I’ve had a cycle less than 30 days long), so I’ve never really worried about that. Honestly, for most of my menstruating life I basically ignored my period. It was just “Ugh my period’s here,” then I’d forget about it until next time.
All of this changed pretty recently in my life. In experiencing pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding, I realized how little I knew about how my body works. And I learned the hard way how disempowering this can be. I began to take steps towards educating myself in order to get my power back, and through this process I connected with my menstrual cycle.
I realized that there is so much my body can tell me, if I only know how to listen. I learned that menstruation is SO much more than just a sign that you can get pregnant. My menstrual cycle is MY cycle, not some marker that I can bear the heirs of the patriarchy. It is my blood, my connection to the women of the world, my connection to the earth itself.
It’s hard to explain how electrifying these realizations were for me, how strong they make me feel. Being body literate gives me a self-confidence that is very new to me. I believe in my body more than I ever have before. Just an example-a few months ago my period was later than usual, but I wasn’t worried. I knew that I had ovulated later in my cycle than usual (maybe stress related or maybe due to my toddler’s renewed interest in night nursing?), so I had expected that my period would start later than usual. A few years earlier I would have been panicking, maybe even taken a home pregnancy test. It was amazing to now know that I didn’t need some little drug store device to tell me what was going on with my body. I got to bypass the anxiety of “being late” and just enjoy the cycle I was having. (and my period did start right when I thought it would!)
I know that in loving my menstrual cycle I am unusual, and that’s okay. The only cycle I can relate to is my own, so I would never say how anyone else should feel about their cycle. I think it’s so important for us to share our menstrual cycle stories, precisely because they are so different. The diversity in women’s experiences of the cycle adds a richness to our collective female history. We have so much to learn from each other, and the knowledge that we share and receive makes us all stronger.