I didn’t get my first period until I was 14. I was so excited that I whipped my freshly stained white knickers off and waved them in my mother’s face like a triumphant flag. I was so happy, the fact that every other girl in my year at school had already started menstruating meant I coveted this bloody rite of passage. Stupid stupid stupid 14 year old me did not realise this meant a lifetime ahead of raging and craving and bleeding and cramping and crying every month and of having to deal with ovulating and pms-ing as well as the 7 days out of every month I spend bleeding like a freshly slaughtered lamb.
*this is not an illustration of me, I don’t have a cool Tina Turner t-shirt or a thigh gap.
I have made a list of various ways to deal with the trauma of menstruating, something I wish I had been handed when I started on my own tampon strewn journey to womanhood.
- Know that before that crimson tsunami hits you there are the five stages of grief to get through.. Denial – my period’s not coming. I haven’t had sex in six months and I’m pregnant. What if it’s the immaculate conception? I can’t abort the second coming, or can I? Oh good grief, it’s going to be hard to raise a messiah. Anger – fuck this bullshit. Fuck this raw deal I got given. Why must I bleed? I understand spree killers. I believe in spontaneous combustion. I can make thunderbolts appear at my fingertips. Sorrow – crying at Noah Cicero’s poetry, crying at an advert for holidays to Iona, crying at the news, crying because a pigeon is dying, crying because the elk meat tastes so good, crying because life is finite and I listened to someone dying over the phone. Bargaining – let it be one day long instead of seven. I will eat all my greens. let the flow be light. I will help old people across the road. let the cramps be non existent. I will stop committing arson. Acceptance – Fuck it.
- Wrap yourself in bubble wrap seven days before your period. Resist the urge to pop the bubbles, you’re going to need this protection to stop yourself from bruising when you bump into every wall and door you pass and fall down the stairs multiple times.
- Don’t worry about carrying your pepper spray/machine gun/nunchucks when you have a bloody tampon at your disposal. Some men are more scared of periods than they are of crocodiles. If a foe approaches wield your new weapon in the same way one might hold a wooden stake at a vampire, watch them flee.
- Cry into a saucepan, this is exactly the liquid you should be cooking your spaghetti in. As I’m sure you’ve heard Nigella Lawson say before, the water you cook your pasta in should be as salty as the tears of a premenstrual woman. When your sorrowful spaghetti is finished cooking you should make enough carbonara for four people. Eat it all from the pan whilst lying on the sofa in front of Northern Exposure.
- Join a fight club. Tell whoever the fuck you want to about this.
- Find an inanimate object you dislike and let it know how you really feel.
- Stand naked in the garden on the night of a full moon*, dig a small hole and put your bare feet inside it. Cover your feet in dirt. Tell the moon every sorrow you’ve ever encountered. This and co-codomal are the only way to relieve stomach cramps. *only works on a full moon.
- Put on a pair of white knickers/panties, draw your enemy on them and then free bleed. Later you can take your knickers off and laugh at the picture and say “ha! It looks like you’ve been in a real bad fight there buddy”.
- When a man upon seeing the distress in your face as your cervical lining is being ripped out by God says “cheer up love, it might never happen” you can make him spontaneously combust. Just shout “BANG” very loudly with your eyes closed and his inadequacies will become kindling and his impotent rage at his useless life will be the spark that ignites it. Watch him burn. Sweep up the ash that he leaves behind, put it in a small empty matchbox and post it to the mother that he secretly wishes had paid him more attention.
- Monetise your period mishaps by selling blood stained knickers to weirdos on the internet. Use this money to buy a selection of fancy cheeses, charcoal crackers and ridiculous chutneys.
- Sometimes you might really want to cry but not be able to get the tears out, it’s not as bad as that feeling when you really need to vomit but it won’t happen, but it’s close. There are a bunch of films I can recommend to draw those tears out of you; Streetwise, Dreams of a Life, Into the wild, Dancer in the Dark are all good choices.
- Transform into your favourite monster truck and crush your co-workers cars.
Here are two playlists to help you through the rage and the sorrow.