Archive for category menstruation
The pressure builds slowly, sometimes imperceptibly. I can almost forget about it. But at a certain point, the tautness can no longer be overlooked or dismissed. Lately I’ve conceived of this mounting pressure as a balloon filling, slowly at first, and gaining momentum as the weeks pass. By the end, before my balloon releases, the pressure demands notice, requires my attention.
One of my earliest posts here and on Dodson and Ross was an attempt to earnestly and poetically express my feelings about my menstrual period. As a new blogger, I remember being rattled by the comment thread at D&R that followed, and have generally avoided the topic since. Of course I don’t want to reduce women and the female experience to hormones and menstruation. But to deny its impact on my life, inner and outer, would be disingenuous, especially as it relates to my sex and sexuality.
Do you want to know about my underwear? I’m Mormon. Or I used to be, anyway. The question of sacred panties seems to come up when I’m around.
When asked if I ever wore the Mormon garments that seem to elicit so much fascination, I usually laugh and say, “Oh, no, I left the LDS church long before I did the ceremony to get garments.” Then I usually change the subject, because even though I know Mormonism is seen as weird and is great fodder for jokes, they are still my people. It’s sort of like talking trash about your own family, but getting riled if someone else does.
Photo by Pete Gaylard
In my bloodcycle I feel the tides. Lunar gravity pulls at cellular fluid. My belly fills and flushes, ebbs and flows, expands, wrings itself out, renews and regenerates. In quietude, I feel the tug and sway, the cycle of life that extends out of my body, encasing me in a web that connects new life with compost, death with rebirth.
“It’s all about the blood,” Dr. Amy said. She was talking about hydrotherapy and the body’s cleansing systems. I nodded, thinking about my liver, but also thinking about this post and what my menstrual cycle means to me. It’s all about blood, yes. Blood and gravity.
For several years my goddess sisters and I met monthly. We gathered on full moons, later shifting to new moons, the time for starting over and setting intentions. We circled, we connected, we laughed and ate and cried and drank. Sometimes we spoke of red tents and ancient practices of fertilizing fields. We imagined the ways in which women/wombed-ones/wimmin/we-moon/womyn circled together in temporary huts, bleeding into the earth, nourishing the fields that literally fed the people. We spoke of cycle and return, of reciprocity, of knowing our bodies as powerful and connected and capable.
And yet, despite nostalgia, I still segregate the theory of my bloodcycle from my practice. I might wax poetic about the glorious benefits of cleansing through menstruation, but then plug myself up with a tampon or capture the crimson clots in a cup, holding it inside me.
I never let it loose. Christina’s tattered bloodtowel reminds me of a deep longing to release the flow and bleed out. Doing so may unleash all that has backed up for me creatively. The logs may become unjammed.
What my period means to me: The power of potential.