I don't know why I cry. At least I don't feel dead. What you ask about a smile. Is that tears in your eyes? Can't predict the weather of this ocean inside. Never sure when's the encounter. A meteor in the sky. Is it the high that brings the low, or is the low that brings the tides? I don't trust it. My brain can't command. The spirit roams looking for an echo. A fleeting moment the universe's made for. No evidence. No reason. No witness, No future. No declaration. No following. It's lost till it appears, again. Before you recognize it. While you wait for it. Maybe prepared for it. It will be yours. Just for a moment. You're all its worth.
I took you when you were young, and saw the world through your wonders. You ditched me when it became boring when I'm with you everything's easy. I watched you splitting into two. The warring drains your mind till you're blind of what should've been. It's not your fault. It's too much too fast. You are always alone looking for answers you've already known. You could, so you did. But you've been missing home. Older & wiser, thinking yourself a fool. It's OK. I knew you'd come this way. You love me, so, you had to throw me away. I'm still right here, the same everything. I understand you have to grow alone, finding your battles & healing your wounds, being tempted at every step to turn back. I can't begin to tell you how proud I am. Have you had your fun? Good. It's time to take possession.
It's not my fault they are all twisted twines. It is my fault for ever believing in them. Tying my worth on fragile egos, hiding my made-up sorrows. "I don't want to be strong, yet." "I want someone to carry me to tell me it's all gonna be fine." Now I know it's all bullshit. The intuition is always correct. Bypass the ritualistic liars, it's about who gets fucked & who gets paid double time. It's a world without reason: you can be cruel & people will worship you if you set the rules; the thieves thrive while the kind-hearted lose their lives & minds. A world in our image, burning from the inside.
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