Being a Woman

This post isn’t about fashion and it isn’t about fitness – it’s deeply personal and something I don’t think we talk about near enough because we are taught that it’s embarrassing, it’s TMI – too much information yet almost half the population deals with it and goes through it once a month, whether they like it or not.  Their period.

OMG, why does she want to talk about her period?  How disgusting?  Maybe but I bet you ask any woman and at one time or another, she has been deeply frustrated, disappointed or angered by how disruptive it has been to her life.   I’ve worked hard during my 31 years with it to never use it as a crutch or excuse to get out of anything – it’s just a part of life that needs to be dealt with and move on.  For most women, it serves a BIG purpose – it helps them track their ovulation, get pregnant, have children, but for women like me without kids, it really is nothing more than a monthly inconvenience.

I was on the birth control pill from age 16 to age 32 when my husband got a vasectomy.  We both never wanted kids but I assumed we would always change our minds, at some point.  But, as we neared our 30s, my husband kept asking when he could go in for the snip, snip.  Let’s just give it another year or 2, I would say.  Eventually, I realized we were making the right decision for us and over the years, I had trouble finding a birth control pill that worked well for my body.  I always had 1 issue or another and eventually, it was freeing to just be able to get off it altogether.

I was blessed to be fairly regular, have fairly normal periods with little issues.  But, as I neared and passed the age of 40, I noticed some irregularity, I’m never quite sure when it’s going to come and at least 1 or 2 days during my cycle are ROUGH.  Super heavy, very crampy and uncomfortable, so tired I could sleep 10 hours a day and still need more.  Normally, I can care for myself in silence – I work 2 days a week from home so those days would be a breeze, I didn’t have to see or talk to a soul if I didn’t want to.  If it was a day in the office, when it got really bad, I would cut the day short and finish my work from home.  Weekends?  Most of the time if I have plans, I can muddle through the event or get together but just taking it easy or if it got really bad, just skip out on the event altogether.

But, sometimes, the stars align to create the perfect storm and that was yesterday.  I was surprised to find my period start 4 days early this month (and last month was 3 days late so I truly feel like I am right in the middle of perimenopause, around 1st into full blown menopause) and unfortunately, these days, it’s almost impossible to tell when my “bad” day will be.  Sometimes it’s the 1st day, sometimes it’s right in the middle, sometimes, it can even be one of the last few days.  I’ve had a big trip to Chicago planned with friends for well over a month now – tickets were bought, travel plans made and I wasn’t about to cancel on all of them at the last minute.  Besides, I didn’t know FOR SURE it would be right on our event day so I rolled the dice, expected the best and planned for the worst.  The worst happened.

On the ride up to Chicago yesterday morning, I could FEEL it coming.  Ladies, you know that feeling?  You’re uncomfortable, cramps are starting, you want nothing more than to just be right next to a bathroom and kick your feet up on the couch – anything to relieve the pain.  I took Advil, like I normally do and it did it’s job but nothing that stop that heavy flow from coming.

We arrived at the convention center, ready for an entire day of nothing but walking.  Walking, walking, feet pounding, pounding All. Day. Long.  I was fine, though uncomfortable, of course, until around 1pm when the Advil started to wear off.  I took more but the damage was done.  It’s not exactly handy or convenient when you are in a giant location, being jostled by thousands of people, having to run in and out of the bathroom every hour on the hour, trying to eat a lot of food when your stomach is in knots and your insides feel like you are being punched over and over again.

How do you explain this to a man?  I wish I could and that they could FEEL it just for a day.  I don’t want to be all woe as me, I’m a woman and I’m cursed but I truly felt like I was yesterday.  By 3pm, I was pretty much in tears and wanted nothing more than to be magically teleported home to my own couch or bed where I could be left and quiet and peace until the pain subsided rather than endure one more moment of chaos and the LONG car ride home.

I lost it.  There is no other way to put it.  I totally and completely lost it on some of the people I love most in this world.  I am sure they think I am insane, I didn’t explain my plight to anyone except my best girlfriend who did her best to help me but in the end, what can you do but just endure it?  Later, I mercifully made it home, I thought to myself – WHY did I feel too embarrassed to just tell my friends the truth, explain what was going on with me?  Maybe if I’d had that outlet and just come clean with them at the beginning of the day, things would have went a lot different yesterday.  Or maybe it would have been exactly the same, who knows?  Hindsight, I would have spared everyone the complication, including myself and just stayed home.  Nothing I did yesterday was worth all that frustration, worry and being uncomfortable all day.

It’s a part of us – something woman can’t get rid or of or walk away from.   Some have a very easy time of it, while others struggle with unseen pain or complications but one think I learned, I am WAY too old to ever shy away from having a conversation about it, sharing with my friends how I feel or about any issues I’m having just because it’s a period.  It’s messy, but it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.  I wish we all could just be more honest and open with each other about SO many things in our lives, rather than being so fearful about how people may judge us or view us differently if we share with them.  Unfortunately, we humans sure aren’t perfect and yesterday, I sure proved that point about myself.  To my friends, I am very sorry for things I said and did and am glad that at least you all, were able to enjoy your day.