Let’s get it out on the table now. In this post, I talk about the female reproductive system. It’s an exquisite, natural and magical process that I beg you not to be squeamish about. That said, men, there are things here for you too, on several levels. Even if you spend most or all of your time on Man Island (which, from what I can tell, sounds very, very boring). If girly, reproductive things didn’t exist, you wouldn’t be here, after all. Word to your mother.
I generally consider myself to be a smart person. but every 28 days or so, something happens that makes me doubt this. And I mean really doubt this.
It starts physically.
I wake up one morning and I’ve apparently gained 20 lbs. while I was sleeping. It makes no sense. I haven‘t been eating more than usual. I have been sweating profusely for at least an hour every morning on running shoes, blades or bike wheels. But my clothes now resemble the casing of a sausage, several parts of my body suddenly favor the contents of an overstuffed sandwich.
About 30 seconds later, I come to the only logical answer: I’m old and I’ve reached that point in my life where no matter what I do, it’s a downhill slide to old, out-of-shape and ugly.
I get pissed. Why today? I ask, shaking my hands at the sky. It’s been going so well. I’m not ready! NOT YET!
The next thing that happens is equally as startling.
One minute I’m happily typing away thinking about how great life is and then—BOOM. It all sucks. And I mean to tell you that the suckage is hoover-sized, black and sticky. I can’t find one thing that’s good. I’m irrationally angry at everyone. It’s like road-rage without the road or the cars, but with everything else within spitting distance. And beyond.
I call my beloveds and cry and bemoan the fact that this is all for shit. That I don’t even think my dog loves me anymore. That I don’t even want to write. Just cry and sleep. And sit on someone’s big, warm, comforting lap.
It always ends the same way.
(By the way, if you didn’t see this coming and you’re a woman, then ‘I’ll have what she’s having.’ If you didn’t see this coming and you’re a man, you will never, ever be my boyfriend.)
Yes. A few days later, I inexplicably get my period. And it’s the ‘inexplicable’ part that really gets me and makes me doubt my intelligence. Because here’s the thing: this brilliant reproductive phenomenon has rained down upon me an estimated 301 times, thus far. THREE HUNDRED AND ONE TIMES.
That’s a lot, wouldn’t you say? And you would think, then, that I would get it, that when my entire body bloats up like a dead frog in a pond and I’m more irritated than a teenager at a family picnic, I would calmly think to myself, ‘Oh! It’s just my period, this too shall pass!’, take a deep breath and go about my day.
But nope. Every time, every single time, I’m shocked. And, because I love to be validated and surrounded, I will share that I’ve been told by several other brilliant women, that this happens to them too. I wonder if it’s because we’re so busy living fabulous lives, that we just don’t hold this nastiness front and center. Yes, yes—that must be it.
And this is the good news. Every month, after the disaster—comes a flood of relief. My body is beautiful and strong and my clothes do fit. My life is happy and sweet and I can see good coming at me from every view.
Just like the crap that hits with the certainty of taxes or, you know, death. So does the relief and reality of the fact that everything is really okay. That there was a reason. That it was just mother nature at work.
Now. How in the hell does this have anything to do with writing, arting and creating?
It applies to the moments when instead of your clothes not fitting, your chair doesn’t fit and neither do your fingers on your keyboard. The moments when you don’t know why you bother—because no one is reading, because you think your work sucks, because you won’t ever make a living from it.
I think there’s a writers equivalent of getting your period. It’s that aha! moment when we realize we were tired or needed an hour away from the computer or a good talk with a friend or a roll-around with a lover or a good meal or 12 hours of sleep. The writers’ equivalent is whatever it is that hits us with the realization that all is not lost, that this is the way it goes—that we stumble into holes on a regular basis and often sit at the bottom of them staring at the dark muck…before inevitably pulling ourselves up and out.
The writer’s equivalent of the period is that we always survive, we always find the strength to come back to center, back to good, back to okay. It may not be once a month, but it’s always there.
It’s that as uncomfortable and messy as it might be, it’s a vital part of the creation process. We have it in us. Period.
Even when we forget.
Image credit: dahlstroms