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By Amelia Holzapfel
Every month (when I’m not super-lean from running) my body realizes I foiled its attempt at reproduction and gives up in a stream of blood.
I wish you could understand how unsettling it is to have my body constantly changing. Some women are on steady cycles. Their body never surprises them. I’m not like that.
My weight fluctuates. I get bloated. Sometimes I bleed a LOT and I get scared. The doctor says I’m okay but I often don’t feel okay. It’s something I could probably explain, given time, but whenever I mention my lady engine your eyes glaze over. You say you’re interested and that you want to understand, but your actions say otherwise.
Here’s my best try at a short explanation:
When I get emotional during menstruation it’s not just because hormones are making me edgy. I’m also being reminded of my own frailty–I’m terrified of blood, especially my own–and how rapidly I’m aging, disintegrating, and how powerless I am to do anything about it.
I joke about it sometimes, sure. But I’m only doing so to cope.
When I disagree with you about something and you ask me if I’m ‘on my period’ it’s a bit like promising an arachnophobe that you’ll be sure to bring her a spider next time you visit. Please don’t. It’s not funny to me.
I’m having my period, not giving birth to aliens. It’s not freaky, weird, or gross. It’s me!
You seem pretty interested in my vagina most of the time. Why not do some research and learn about how that part of my body works? Ask me questions, pick up a book, do a little hands-on exploration!
I wish we could talk about this. I wish it were okay to discuss my body without you feeling like you need to make jokes because you feel awkward. I want to talk about it. Most women do. If you take the time to learn about how my body works and how I relate to it, I think a lot of other things I do will start to make sense.
As a woman, I’m supposed to be all mysterious, right? Well, when it comes to my period, I think the mystery has been working against us.
If you want to know more, ask!
(For the pervs: No, I’m not volunteering to answer questions about my vagina. Go crawl back into your basement computer room with your anime.)