I’m in love with my bed. Or at the moment just the sheet. It was washed and tumble-dried and I still remember how toasty it was last night. I didn’t think about my sleeping position, I just wanted to go fetal and let go. And I was rewarded. I had candied-dreams last night. The kind that you can hold in your hand as if they are cute little jewels that are wrapped in even cuter wrappers. I didn’t even mind having to wake up to change my un-sanitary pad in the middle of night.
But the wind, oh the wind, or rather the air. It’d been blowing the whole night and well into noon while I’m still in bed (because I can’t bring myself to leave). The air is fragrant, like how it was long ago, like how it should be. There was no sound of traffic for the longest time, so the air remains unpolluted, undisturbed. It caresses me with its gentleness and its scent. And I remember…
Outside of the window, the occasional courting birds hide under the fruiting tree, and the feasting butterflies picking out the rotting fruits on the ground. My roaming eyes seek them out, while my body, my sensitive body like my sensitive nose picks up the friction from the sheet and the air. It is good to have a body. Even a bleeding one. I cuddle with the sheet, bunch them up and hold them close to my bosom, as one would with a loved one. For my body is in love with the bed, as my mind is in love with the moment. I can’t bring myself to leave.
Across the street, balloons decorate a neighbor’s front yard, “15”, big and red. Do I want to be 15 again? No. If I’m in peace at this moment, all the moments before led me to this. I can have no regrets. But cake, mmmm, cake. I wonder if I will leave this bed, this moment for another moment with the half eaten cake in the fridge…
“Oh, oh… Shit!” I was suddenly wide awake, didn’t know what time it was, didn’t care. I was, first thing I noticed, in a “compromising” sleeping position which was facing up, legs akimbo. The “sanitary” pad I used simply was not enough for that kind of wanton nocturnal indulgence. So it was the bit of wetness I felt underneath my bullocks that had woken me up. I had no time to be exasperated. Mentally preparing myself for the imminent departure from the warmth of the bed, the doubtlessly spreading pool of blood underneath me had me up in 3 seconds flat after the awakening. “It happened AGAIN!” I was NOT going for quietness or stealthiness or any finesse like that. Fuck that. Why do I have to endure this bullshit alone? The light came on as I accessed the damage to the bed cover. Not too bad, or rather, I had seen worse. Didn’t even need to wash immediately, unlike several other times when this exact thing had happened. I was glad at least of that. I was NEVER in the mood of swapping bedsheets in the middle of the freaking night. Then it occurred to me, “I REALLY hate this!!!” but no time to lose, I wanted to go back to bed, a tainted one but nevertheless. Yeh, the panty I’m wearing will need to be rinsed, well, tomorrow. For now, as I was squatting, angrily, I waited for the washing bowl to be filled up with water. Patience. First, I washed my ass. Then put on a new panty. “Where’s the pad?” Oh, good, I remembered to leave a couple out right by the toilet. Carefully positioned the “sanitary” pad for maximum coverage. Ahhhh, that felt every bit as good as I imagined. “I feel CLEEEEAAANNN again, god!”. Not finished just yet. Rid of the murky water, got some fresh water, put soiled panty into the bowl. “Almost, almost…” Dragged myself towards the rapidly cooling bed, blacking out the stain on the bed, making sure I’m in a period-secure sleeping position, savoring for a second the fresh panty of my labor and falling back to sleep. I didn’t wash the panty for 2 days. It could wait.
Does the “tragedy of the commons” apply to women? I think so. It comes down to the notion that whether women are, well, commodity or not. Commodity is something one can possess. Women certainly fit that description in a commercial world that is arguably ruled by men. The “tragedy of the commons” argues that the masses are incentivized to over-use the commodities that belong to the public without oversight. In today’s environment, where there are man-made crisis each and every day, that problem exacerbates. Women are not commodities, as much as the commercial world would want you to believe. Women are people, full of life, compassion and potential. Their value does not lie in childbirth, but in simply being part of the society. The media would have you believe that a few powerful men run the world, but those men are supported by their mothers, their wives, their sisters, their daughters. Without women’s participation, a community tends to trend towards violence, isolation and absurdities. While it’s hard to find a wiseman, every woman has to grow wise, for the sake of others and herself. It is infinitely more powerful when women band together. It does seem to me, a lot of societies frown upon camaraderie-building among women, while promoting regular get-togethers among men. “They are talking about us, aren’t they?” “They will give each other ideas.” Is that a secret wish? Men think they prefer prim, other-worldly women, that is until these men find these women boring or naive after the novelty wears off. To counter balance, women already start to take possession of themselves. No matter how old or young you are, it’s a woman’s job to be your own woman, your own person, and treat other women like people too, not just a mother, an employee, a waitress. There’s no competition, other than the ones that the society has imposed on us. Women are not goods, their purpose is not to serve. Use the fair advantage.
According to a certain politician, we are all offsprings of rapes and incests. What struck me is that it seems to imply men are doing the majority of the work of propagating to ensure that there are enough babies to go around, and women just have to make the best of it. Gosh, no wonder women are taught to be calm and peaceful, and more responsible, kinder, stay at home, loving, available. Turns out it’s our place to just lay there and wait, then deal with it. Does that sound about right though? What if the page is flipped, and let’s say, women are the hunters, they are the ones who are keeping an eye out for the next viable vessel solely for her own goals? Does that sound vaguely evil now? It does, doesn’t it? And yet, the ones doing the alleged rapes and incests are the ones proliferating. What does that tell you?
But this post is about the period, the other humbling experience every woman must experience. Did we sign up for it? No. Were we prepared for it? For the majority of us, no. Are there any studies done on its impact on young women’s psyche? I haven’t seen any. But I can tell you how it affected me. I believe self-trust is one of the foundations for self-esteem. I was a carefree child, a tomboy, a prodigy even who was preparing for a mathematics contest when my first period occurred. I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t know what was happening. It was a public humiliation. I think I still live with that shock. What’s worse, I was keenly aware that my body was not my own. Things happen to it, my brain’s no longer under my control. I was lost in self-doubt and self-hate. And that was just the beginning of the price to pay for being a woman.
“For what’s a woman, what has she got? If not herself, then she has naught.” I learned it the hard way, or maybe, the only way there was: to claim that person for yourself again, to channel the frustrations, to discern the misdirections, to safe-guard that spark that makes you, you. For now, I’m a cruel and un-usual human being, and I’m flowing with it.
There’s a time for everything. I was never into Goddesses. Anything or anyone that’s too perfect, I instinctively distrust. I was not into the latest nail polish color. I didn’t pick my cloth to impress. I didn’t try behaving a certain way to fit into a particular crowd. When I heard women, with that confident and dreamy voice, saying, “I’m a spiritual being, I’m one with the Goddess.” I would barf and roll my eyes.
But something changed recently, I’d guess it’s in lockstep with the self-acceptance and the empowerment it afforded. The confusions and agonies I felt when I had to tend to my infuriating body had changed into a kind of mirth, an understanding, seeping from a deeply-felt fondness. What do I understand now that I didn’t before? Looking beyond the brain fogs, the unhealthy cravings, the ultra self-consciousness, I found there was something else at work. The kind of things that were on the other side, that were, and forever would be beyond my control. But I have learned to look at myself and my relationship with all these other things objectively.
I was open, against my will almost, to life and the natural processes that came with it. So open that life could wash through me without drowning me. It’s rushing and crushing and unrelenting. When it did retreat, it promised the retrial next month. I was always reeling from something. It didn’t help that I judged myself by other people’s standard and always found myself wanting. At last, it’s quiet, and I’m still. I can reign in myself better which gave me the space to really listen and feel. Now when life bubbles up, I can be present, to greet it like an old friend. To be part of the flow. As a woman.
It's a divination.
With life, you're flowing,
in the stream, the mystery of creation.
Breath deep, when you greet the origin.
It's a divination.
You have to be open to know wisdom.
Through and through, a natural woman.
In the dark, still, you're glowing.
It's a divination.
Kept under locks & keys, not given any reason.
Mother of all civilizations.
Out of balance, since forced silence.
It's a divination.
A crash course, a do-or-die enlightenment.
Rivers of blood, sacred intonement.
How they blame the creator, for the creator
is a woman.
I wanted to write a book about the period since I had years of first-hand experience. But wait, someone has to have done that already.
There is overwhelming evidence that I’m not the only one having periods, though it sure does feel that way. I remember growing up in China, having had a very embarrassingly public announcement of my first period, spending years in bewilderment handling the monthlies in an offhanded way involving a piece of thin cloth with a long string and coarse tissues to cap the flow. Then one day I saw a TV show with a strong, non-traditional female character who after being criticized for being strong-willed and difficult, declared then and there, matter-of-factly, “I’m having my period.” Wow!! WOW!!! I still can not believe it. I remember that scene after all these years. I can picture the scene still: the lady, tall, confident, dressed in a white blouse, with a palpable air of dignity and no-shit-taking, evenly broadcasted her mensuration status to a male counterpart. She stood up for all of us by being herself, and challenged the norm. She’s still my hero.
Other flow news.
Welcome back, Amy!
After some Googling, I found that the earliest book written about period is called “The Wise Wound” which was published in 1978. Strangely, my wonderful local library carries not one book regarding such subject. So I got it from Amazon.
Now we are talking:
Cards Against Humanity: Period Pack
Where love should be
all I feel is sadness.
Don’t know what’s wrong.
Mother did say life is suffering.
I don’t believe her, I mean
if I don’t think deeply,
let’s just count the cheers & grab the beers,
turn sad songs into funny stories.
Depressions hit suddenly.
All makes sense now, only darkly.
Switching out energy for ammunitions.
Shutting down hope for spiritual communications.
You see my eyes, I’m not here, not really.
Thousands miles away & no place to stay.
Thinking on the hurts & things that went wrong.
Present is dead & the future’s sold for a song.
Hope you have a way to deal with this.
Wherever there are lows the high awaits.
Change your mind by looking outside.
You’ve been here long enough, quit being such a weenie.
It cuts, it cuts, it laughs, it sparks.
Only the worst, twisted, so it works better.
Show me the bridge, I want to watch it burn.
You look like a caricature of a total fucking stranger.
What’s the matter with me. I got your apology right here.
Or I will keep it shut so you won’t use it against me later.
You’ve seen this before so guess this is just a comedy turn.
Tomorrow we can play mimes, memes, or just plain stupid.
Hating me, loving this, I swear this is just a period.
Raising it up, putting it down.
Need them fumes for this barely moving trunk.
Period is a time of consolidation. The various roles I played all crushing down and transformed into the shape of a woman. The ticking clock transports me back-and-forth, from the arena that I built for myself into a familiar little room with gray walls and gray lights. It happens in a kind of twilight under which, the harshness of life is moved to the front of the stage, and the weight is felt for my own mortality. I think it’s a pity that guys don’t get periods, they could benefit from its humbling side-effects.
I trust the outside world more while working hard ignoring my own chaotic thoughts. I seek comfort in the real world, relieved that there are still orders and props intact and there are real people living contently in it still. I’m grateful that the world that I sometimes happily stepped out of is still there when I need it. I can count on salmon bento-box for lunch and the local Japanese bookstore for hardcore Yaoi to satisfy my other craving. It’s easy to fantasize during period.
Yes, consolidations. As I was saying in the beginning, I feel like a little woman when I’m on period. My immediate concern has to do with not getting blood everywhere. It is a dream when I can be productive, but those times are closely followed by a feeling of exhaustion and defeat. Do you see yourself as one whole person all the time? I see myself as several. Nothing too crazy, just different parts of me having different strengths and yearnings. I find myself having to appease them by doing different things all the time like playing music, writing poem, meeting new people, doing new stuff. It can be going really well for 20 or so days in a month with all these characters going on their own tasks on their own slices of time, it’s the blood thing that unites them all. For a week or so, they all come home and be silenced, or they would tell their own stories around a bloody campfire. Then they would one by one set off again. (Sounds like a story from a Japanese horror manga now.)
It’s hard to admit to myself that I sometimes find myself dirty. I don’t want to admit it because that’s what some people think of women and they use that unexplained feeling of disquiet to discard women as an inferior animal. I don’t understand why I can’t just think myself out of these chores and hindrances. Why does anybody have to deal with anything? But maybe I’m just as scared as everybody else. There are things that control our lives which we prefer to forget. We don’t want to be reminded constantly of where we came from and where we are going. We look up to beauty because it hides the awful truth. But it’s OK for me now, I no longer judge things as they first appear, unless I’m on period, then my annoyance is justified because I’m high on life, the kind that will pay you back in kind.
I am a dirty woman, and I’m going to finish that juicy watermelon and re-read that delicious Yaoi that is full of half sentences.
It’s fun going to an onsite interview while on the rag, I’m just one coffee zip away from going total lunatic, that’s laughing with no reason, talking to myself not caring what the outside respond is. Feel like I’m tranquilized. It’d be all good if I don’t have to put 2 and 2 together, much less dealt out an algorithm that deals with real world complex problems, as if I give a crap at this point.
Men don’t have to go to interview while having period, or pregnant, I’m sure they have plenty other things to worry about, I’m learning what those things are, but, at least they don’t have to calculate in the back of their heads when their low time’s gonna be. And I missed it this time big, because the recruiter forgot about to put my scheduling request, 2 times straight, and that firmly landed us in the red zone. How did I know this gonna happen again? Maybe I will remember something this time.
My mind tells me to stay still, under the warmth, enjoy the fog and the intangible passing of time, it tells me that there’s nothing happening outside of my body is as important or as complicated as what’s happening inside.
Got a salmon bento (how lucky am I, as a woman, be able to just go out and grab a lunch that I know from internet search is good for me on period.), also grabbed some dark chocolate and red-bean bum. The first bite into the crunchy salmon, it’s as if my whole body breathed a sign of relief. It was like it’s saying “thank you! thank you! thank you!” And I will be like “no, thank you!” (I wrote this while on the rag as some of you can probably tell).
The new period tradition: period food shopping. Japanese foods are good in general, but heavenly during period, their lovingly prepared salmon bento mentioned before, their dark chocolate, everything seems to designed for women on period, could that be the secret of their longevity? Hmmm?
Word of caution though. If you are like me, you will crave grease and sugar like nothing else. But don’t just eat anything you can get your hands on, get better quality stuff if you can. The same thing works in other area in life, if you substitute the real healthy thing with cheap dubious substitute, you won’t be satisfied.
Women on period especially requires warmth, comfort, nutrition, there should be stickers on fruits and food items that signify it’s beneficial for women on period, there should be open environment for women on period to vent their discomfort and getting support, as it is, we have Period anonymous. Maybe, after women can finally breastfeed in public without causing a minor scandal, we can work on removing the stigma surrounding this other bodily function that is the byproduct of the so-called miracle of life.
I don’t think ill of the recruiter though. She has enough to deal with without people like me giving her a hard time.
—- Fucked up period fantasy stories.
A girl was cursed that every time she lifts her skirt, exposing her privates, the earth itself will rise up to shield it so no man can see it, much less touch it. Still, because the girl is pretty, may men were impaled to death by this strange phenomenal. The girl was so saddened that she decides to not wear her skirt, thus a great mountain range was erected around her, isolating her from the world of men. Until one day, the chosen one heard of this tale and pitied the now young woman and decide to free her from this curse. He ended up transformed into the tree and the poor woman cried a pond under the tree and herself turned into a koi living in the pond, under the tree. The end.
Stealing time, that’s how it feels to me. Since signing up the woman-fun-ride package I often get the sense that my body is not my own. Ever since hitting (didn’t see it coming for damn sure) puberty I’ve been facing the biological-firing-squad that just keeps on playing this little game of “Ready! Aim! Fire!”, except they keep the communication to themselves of course. Then I’d be down for awhile. Picking myself up is always a learning curve, can’t say I got the hang of it yet but there’s always the next time.
So I went to 日本 (Japan, yay!) at the beginning of December after consulting my very own periodic table making sure I wouldn’t be caught red-handed. What I forgot is that my body is rather like an amusement park it tends to break down under unexpected-traveling load. And why not just happen to happen on the night of our 温泉 (hot-spring) town stay. Nice body I got here, we are in sync like THAT. Guess I shouldn’t complain too much, there are perks in being zombified after all, the stomach becomes a bottomless hole, not to mention all the reactions with people become automatic due to the lowered input rate from the vastly over-rated consciousness. Go team! Of course I bathed in the 温泉 regardless. I figured it’s all organic matter anyway so I wouldn’t want to miss the one chance to do the unthinkable to the locals (It’s only a slow leak at that point, in case you are weirdly grossed out).
Then the firing-squad did it again at the end of the same month. For that I just want to say thank you, so much, for making me not caring as much (or at all) about how I should behave in the parties, in front of all the relatives. It’s just the perfect time of the year to be under the influence of low blood-sugar and low self-control. I had a blast at both occasions. It is the roller coaster ride that just keeps on flowing.