Why oh why does that guy at the gym not wear pants that fit and spare himself the indignity of his pants falling down when he gets off the elliptical? I got a front-row view of butt crack this morning, and not the good kind of butt crack. It’s never the guys in the weight room who drop their drawers. Apparently I’m not in good with Karma this week.
Karma or God or Mother Nature, one of the three or maybe all three, are messing with my body in a big way. I’m in a chronic state of bloat and crabby. What I need is to hang out with menstruating women. I’m working on two months without a period (NO, I’m not pregnant) and while that might seem like a blessing, it’s really a pain in the ass because I have too much of the bitch hormone and not enough of the ovulating hormone flowing through my body. I’d really feel better if I just bled.
My doctor says it’s probably a combination of increased exercise and the 159-pound weight loss catching up with me. There might be a little perimenopause thrown in the mix, but not enough to make my cycle this crazy on its own.
Here’s what I think the problem is: one of my friends is in menopause, another had a hysterectomy, another is pregnant, as is one of my daughters, and I live with a man, three neutered dogs and two teenage boys. I need to surround myself with women who emit pheromones for menstrual synchronicity, just like the old days when my daughters and I lived under the same roof. My husband does NOT miss that harmonious discord, I’m sure, but at least it was all over in one fell swoop and not in three separate hellish weeks.
I wish there was a spa or retreat center for women like me, staffed only by women with normal cycles. It could be called Menarche Manor or The Red Tent, after the book about Jacob’s wives who gathered in a tent every month just to menstruate.
I remember when I first learned of the menses. It was in fifth grade. One day, out of the blue, my teacher, Miss Nissen, told the boys they had to go to Mr. Kennedy’s room because the girls were going to see a movie made just for them. No one warned us about this, but apparently I’d brought home a permission slip and my mother signed it. Hey, I just did what I was told. I never read the fine print.
That day I went from a little girl wondering if she’d play jump rope or four square at recess to a pre-pubescent vowing she’d never have children.
Talk about a delusional movie. The girl in the film looked nothing like me – she was at least 16, tall, long brown hair, perfect eyebrows – and she wore cotton dresses and smiled incessantly. I was 11 years old, wore Wranglers and still took baths with Mr. Bubble.
I was totally confused. Blood? Did they say blood? I was going to bleed from where exactly? And I was going to SMILE about it? Riiiiiight.
My friends and I gathered at the swings during recess, the boys hanging around asking what it was we saw and they didn’t. We didn’t understand it ourselves, let alone be able to explain it to boys who still thought punching us in the arm was a sign of affection. We were different now, almost women. We’d just learned the mystery of life. Well, at least part of the mystery of life. The school nurse refused to answer Wendy’s question – Where do babies come from? Lora suggested maybe our belly buttons had something to do with it. Someone else said she’d heard if a boy sticks his tongue in your mouth you’d get pregnant. The farm girls knew better, but they still hadn’t figured out the blood part. That’s what had us the most confused.
It still has me confused. From the first time I saw blood on my panties for the first time at age 14 and rolled my eyes and thought, “Oh great, here we go,” to now when I see no blood on my panties and think, “Oh great, here we go,” the “mystery of life” is still in many ways a great mystery.