Tampons, maxi pads, menstrual cups, that not-so-fresh feeling, blood and girl parts.
(There. Have all the men stopped reading now? OK, good.)
Now that it’s just us girls, let’s talk periods. More specifically, the period before and during our periods when some of us experience a gentle transformation from smart, focused, emotionally stable women into fire-breathing she-dragons intent on destroying the universe. (Perhaps I exaggerate. There’s more smoke than actual fire…)
That’s right, I’m talkin’ ’bout Premenstrual Syndrome, a.k.a. P to the M to the S.
And not without some trepidation do I launch this discussion. Not only because women are socialized not to talk much about our “cycles” in general, but because we’re also taught never to admit that PMS exists, lest men believe the myth that we’re unfit for (fill in the blank here) because of our raging and unpredictable hormones.
I firmly believe we’re more than fit for (fill in the blank here), f*ck you very much. But I can’t deny that once a month my life is overtaken by a creature who looks like me but careers around like an angry drunk of a sailor out on leave for the first time. She’s short-tempered, moody, subsists on chocolate, fried food and super-cheap wine, and she regularly falls asleep still in her work clothes and makeup. (Anyone who’s had to scrub mascara stains out of their pillowcases knows what I mean.)


I was recently complaining to a friend about the ways women have been silenced about PMS, and she says the real shame is that women once viewed the days before their periods as a time of wisdom and heightened awareness. Huh.

While part of me is dubious (mostly the part that’s mortified about having Snickers for lunch and French fries for dinner last week. Twice.), I’m willing to give this return to pre-modern thinking a try.

So I’ve decided to reframe my ideas about what I once considered symptoms and general pains in the girl-parts and view them as sources of strength.

Former symptom = new strength

Jerky roller coaster of emotions ranging from homicidal rage to sobbing on the couch during that damn ASPCA commercial with Sarah McLachlan singing about angels over pictures of maimed animals = Enjoying a deeper connection to my pure emotional essence

Reduced impulse control (see above re: chocolate, fried foods and wine) = Getting in touch with my under-nourished inner child

Bloating = Taking up more psychic and physical space in the world

Breaking out like a 13-year-old girl = Possessing a youthful glow

Inability to concentrate on anything for longer than — oh look, a chicken! = Clearing space in my head for the things that really matter

Generalized pain/cramps = Establishing an excuse to take more painkillers than medically advised.

I encourage all of you still reading to try this for yourself. You may find yourself rolling out the red carpet (sorry, I couldn’t resist!) for your she-dragon within.

In extra-fiery Rebellion,

Karen Hawkins is the Founder and Rebelle in Chief of Rebellious Magazine. She is a recovering mainstream media reporter and editor who wants to thank her former boss for naming the online magazine she's...

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