Warning: this blog post discusses menstruation in graphic and no-fucks-given detail. If that’s not your thing, this isn’t the blog post for you. I also swear. A lot.
My period is not a magical time, and you shall not convince me otherwise.
With the resurgence (and blatant commercialization) of the Divine Feminine and everyone embracing their inner Goddess, there’s a lot of talk and expression around periods as being our Magical Moon Time, and a cycle that connects us deeply with our magick and spirituality. And while this may be true for a lot of women, it is absolutely 1000% not the case for all of us, and it’s time someone talked about it.
I have met these mythical women who spot for three days and never cramp. The women who experience something a little heavier that’s considered “normal”. The women who can go to bed and sleep peacefully in their favourite sheets, like an origami flamingo without a care in the world. If you’re one of these women, I hope you know how lucky you are, because this all sounds like a dream to some of us.
Some of us cramp before and throughout our period. Some of us go through an overnight pad every hour or so. Some of us would give anything to go to bed and lay in any position except flat on our back over a towel, praying our mattress survives the night.
Some of us can ruin our entire day – and outfit – with a single cough, sneeze or side step. Some of us are afraid to leave the house, lest this nightmare occur in public. Some of us end up in washrooms in awful tears, trying to pull ourselves together as we desperately clean blood off ourselves (and the washroom) and change into another outfit we may have to part with.
If this sounds dramatic to you, please understand that it isn’t. It’s reality for more women than you may think, and it absolutely affects quality of life during that time of the month. Every month. For up to five decades.
Periods change. Many women experience shifts in their symptoms, flow and timing throughout their lives. Things like stress, diet and other bodily experiences can alter our menstrual cycle and sometimes it gets better, sometimes it gets worse.
I don’t remember my early periods. My cycles began at the age of twelve, which was normal back then. Since growing to adulthood, I’ve met an 8-year-old with a period, and oh, how my heart ached for her. I could never imagine being that young, being still very much a child, and facing that experience. I do remember ruining a few pairs of pajamas as I awkwardly navigated this new phase of my life. By high school, my cramps were so awful I often couldn’t stand up straight. I would’ve given anything to stay home from school, and even more to not have to spend hours on my feet at a part-time job afterward.
At one point, I was legitimately on a prescription of Tylenol-3s, just to make it through my cramps.
Eventually, somewhere in my late twenties, my heavy flow lightened enough that I was slightly less afraid of wrecking my clothes or bedding, but the cramps got worse again. By my thirties, my new doctor felt I was showing many symptoms of endometriosis, a condition in which a tissue similar to uterine lining begins to grow outside the uterus, causing intense pain. I have met women with endo and it is no joke. Unfortunately, the only way to be sure was to perform surgery to open me up and take a look at what was going on.
Nothing. Nada. “Textbook perfect uterus”, they said.
So what do I do now?
Toxic Divine Femininity
“Honour the ebb and flow of your cycle!” “See your blood as sacred waters!” “Your uterus contains such powerful wisdom!”
Does it though?
If it does for you, please know that I am thrilled for you, genuinely. I firmly believe that a woman’s wombspace is completely sacred, the cradle of life, the magical maelstrom of all creation. There is absolutely wisdom in our blood (which I talk about in my forever-coming book), and I do believe there is primal, holy power in this area of a woman’s body, whether she has a uterus or not, whether she bleeds or not.
Do not think that I came to my current stance on sacred periods without trying to live the other way. I have tried connecting with my cycle. I have meditated with it, communicated with it, felt into every dark corner of it. I have asked the Goddess to bring me clarity, to help me understand the lesson of this burden. Because that’s what it is – no matter how magical you try to make it, for some of us, this time of the month is intensely burdening, and very depleting.
I feel the connection between my cycle and that of Grandmother Moon. I have seen many examples of art created by women with their sacred blood. I honour their journeys.
But the honest and authentic truth is that I struggle to honour my own.
I struggle to see the beauty, and the magic, and the power, as I stand frozen, afraid to move after a rush of blood that may or may not soak in to the sad plastic excuse of a pad available to me before I can move and get somewhere to clean myself up. Again.
I struggle to feel the surge of my divine feminine energy when I’m sitting and staring into space, feeling completely detached from myself, and wondering how I can do this again next month.
Periods are not beautiful for all of us. And the conversations of “I have a period too and it’s not that bad” and “I have a heavy period and I can still go to work fine” and “I guarantee my cramps are worse than yours” need to fucking stop right the fuck now.
The patriarchal view of periods as an inconvenience that should be kept hush hush, and pushed through to prove one’s strength, and the “Keep Calm and Carry On” mentality being shoved down our throats is not only outdated, it never should have existed in the first place. It forced women to view themselves as weak if they couldn’t do what other women did, taught women to push through to garner praise for their fucking “resilience”, and pitted us against each other bitterly and unnaturally.
The Real Lost Wisdom
Did you know periods actually used to be sacred? That it was common practice for women to gather together at their moon times and go to a place together where they would sit and bleed together and support each other, and welcome the wisdom of their cycle?
Has anyone stopped to think that maybe if we hadn’t let those kinds of traditions die, we might not struggle to connect with our cycle? To connect with our bodies in general? Hell – to connect with each other as women?
(And before you ask, no, I have never been to a Red Tent Ceremony, but I hope they offer the sacred and safe space they claim to.)
When I was growing up, we didn’t talk about periods. In the 90’s and early 2000’s periods were still “unsanitary” and never discussed in public unless it was to purposely humiliate someone. Commercials showing girls playing sports in tampons made those of us struggling through our periods feel weak and we were accused of being dramatic and told to “suck it up”. We didn’t have the support some girls have now (that I fucking hope they have now).
And no, I’m not touching on periods as they’re viewed and experienced across the world, because that’s not my experience. I’m writing this for me, first and foremost, because I need to get these feelings and thoughts out, if only in a long-form rant of a blog post. But it’s also for those like me, who see the posts about honouring our blood and loving our periods and finding that most times, if not all the time, we just…can’t.
Finding Meaning While Honouring the Struggle
I want women who struggle with their periods and can’t seem to find the magick in them to know that they’re not alone, that there are many of us who count down the days to when we can feel remotely normal again. Who pray for the day our period doesn’t fall on a significant event we were really looking forward to wearing a fucking dress to.
And please, for Goddess sake, stop telling women to embrace their cycles if they’re expressing that they’re struggling to do so. This dismissive attitude that I see women met with, like we’re all not “trying hard enough” to connect with our bodies is quite literally blood boiling.
We are trying. And we are struggling. And some of us are just over it.
Maybe we have dark goddess cycles. Maybe we bleed to within an inch of our lives because our souls carry the memory of Lilith, mother of demons, sacred dark goddess of what it means to seize your sovereignty from the hands of your oppressors. To take the weight of the struggle with our fangs bared, in the name of freedom and our right to choose.
Maybe we experience the pain and onslaught of flow to force us to stop, to rest, to say “fuck you, fuck that, and fuck allll of that” to the world and be a hermit for a week, semi-reclined on a couch with blankets and herbal tea, questioning the validity of reality and hissing for snacks.
If honouring your period means holding your wombspace and dancing to the rhythm of your cycle and connecting to your ancestors, then absolutely do that.
If dancing to the rhythm of your cycle means biblical end times in your favourite sweats, then absolutely don’t do that.
Honour you, before you honour your cycle. You are not your period. You are a human being. You are a divine feminine wonder. And it’s perfectly acceptable to honour that by throwing the horns from beneath a mountain of blankets, cats and hot water bottles.
Do you, babe.
Heavy-bleeding witches with enough self love to say “that ain’t for me” unite!
We got you.