The Bloody Basics: Day 3 - The pill
Do you suffer from crazy pain at bleed time or get PMS so bad you want to gouge your partner's eyes out when they so much as breathe?Right now, do you know what day of your menstrual cycle you're on? In fact, do you even care?
I really began to get intimate with my cycle in 2004 when after three years of totally debilitating pain and mis-diagnosis, I got told I had endometriosis. If I’m honest, I was relieved. I finally had a name for the thing that had made me pretty much unbearable to live with or be around. Except, when we name things we give them power, and the power of endometriosis amongst the medical professionals at the time was that it gave an insta-green light to take out my ovaries and womb in order to ‘cure’ the pain. I was shocked. I was 25 at the time and my boyfriend and I had not even had the ‘children’ chat yet. Their response? ‘Endometriosis means that babies are no longer an option, so why would you need your womb and ovaries? Surely being pain free is the goal?’ Sure, the pain was debilitating, I had to take to my bed for entire days, and I was forever cancelling meetings, appointments and social engagements. In fact, I got myself a reputation as a total flake just because I was too embarrassed to say ‘I can’t come out/to work/to the meeting because I’m bleeding through industrial super-size pads and my bed looks like a scene from the movie Carrie.’ But, and I didn’t know the incredible power that we hold in our womb space at the time, I simply wasn’t willing to give it up. If you hadn’t figured it out before now, I’m a total geek, so I did a ton of research. I read books, read about other women who have endometriosis – each case was different – and most importantly, discovered that having endometriosis didn’t necessarily mean I could no longer have children. I got mad at modern medicine’s quick fix ‘whip it out' mentality, I also got pretty mad at the boy, masquerading as a man, who I was engaged to. For him, the endometriosis was just one big ‘bloody’ inconvenience. Not only could I not have sex as often as he’d like, when I did it was so painful that I just wanted it over with. It wasn’t fun, there were very few orgasms, and there was a sense of ridiculous obligation on my part and increasing disappointment on his. As you can imagine, this did not a long-term relationship maketh. He was most definitely not the forever love, and after reading Eat Pray Love in one sitting, we were over – it’s official, books change lives.
Our relationship wasn't the only thing that was over, I also dumped The Pill. For fifteen of my menstruating years, I’d been medicating my bleed. Medicating it with The Pill that makes levels of globulin, the stuff that binds testosterone and affects our libido, four times lower, forever. The Pill that makes the risk of ovarian and breast cancer double if taken under the age of 20. If that wasn’t scary enough, I had no connection AT ALL with my cycle because anything that pumps synthetic hormones into your body – the coil, implant, The Pill – will affect your natural rhythms. As well as stopping babies from being made, it creates a synthetic balance that numbs the ebb and flow of your cycle. Basically, if you’re currently on the pill, that thing that you’ve been calling your period? It isn’t one at all.
Taking The Pill watered down my entire experience of being a woman. The cyclic ebb and flow of emotions, access to my super powers, the energies that are you-nique to each of us that become heightened at specific times of the month, and I became totally senseless to the wisdom my body was trying to share with me – just so that I didn’t feel pain or emotions, so that I could mask the fact that I bled from both myself and others and could function more ‘normally’ in the world. For normal, read masculine.
And what I know now, that I didn’t know then, is this: When you’re not able to connect with your cycle, you’re not connecting with your true feminine nature.
I was trying to do it like a dude. To fit the masculine, linear structure of business and life, because if I didn't, it made me appear weak and not good enough. But as a cyclic woman, I'm NOT consistent. I show up differently in each phase of my cycle and knowing that, and working with my flow and not against it, is our super power.
Seriously, it’s no wonder we’re faced with so many lady-part dis-eases - endometriosis, fertility issues, low libido, PMS, fibroids, and mood swings – we’ve silenced our direct hook up to our SHE power - all that is cyclic, fierce and untamed. We know nothing about our cycle. And by not knowing about it, we’re not talking about it. And by not talking about it, we’re perpetuating the myth that our bleed is ‘wrong’ or ‘shameful’ and that a huge-ass part of being a woman is unclean. We’re denying ourselves the opportunity to truly know, protect, claim and embody, and most importantly love, being a woman. That PMS pain? It’s for a reason. Your reaction to the coil? It’s a message from your body. Those mean reds? They're a signifier that something big is not being addressed.
The more cycle savvy we get, the easier it will be to live in total alignment with your bleed cycle. How?
1. Read these books. If you're on the pill or taking any form of contraception I urge you - in the nicest possible way, obv. - to read The Pill: Are you sure it’s for you? By Jane Bennett & Alexandra Pope and a recent release Sweetening The Pill: Or how we got hooked on Birth Control by Holly Grigg-Spall - they are both life-changers.
2. Get to know YOUR cyclic nature. Not just the days you bleed, but your entire cycle, what days do you want to curl up in a ball and hide under the duvet? what days are you full of energy and feel like you can take on the world? Start making a note in your diary for the next few months of days when you're rocking out, days when you're teary, days when you want to gouge people's eyes out with a spoon and start to see where the patterns are each month. Forewarned is forarmed and all that, right?
3. Dare to experience it. ALL of it. The ecstatic, orgasmic, anger, pleasure and pain that occurs when you allow your true feminine nature to express herself through your cycle. Feel what it feels like to be in YOUR body experiencing the true expression of what it is to be a cyclic woman. I don't promise many things, but this much I know is true, when you embody your cyclic nature, you have a direct line to your SHE power - and you’re able to fully understand and use your super-powers for good - in relationships, in the bedroom, it will also make you pretty damn awesome in business, your abundance button will be triggered, and your health will benefit too. can I get a high five?
I would love to hear what you think - either leave a message in the comments below or head over to the facebook page and share the love there!
PROMO BIT: You have FOUR days left to sign up for Explore Your Lady Landscape – a deep-dive (yes, so many puns and so little time) that will give you access to a completely new experience of menstruation and being a woman. For all the deets, click HERE.)