It has saddened me, as a “heterosexually-identifying” woman, although I have been partnered with some of the most evolved and successful, self-proclaiming “feminist-minded” men— it has largely been my experience that my ever-growing reverence, advocacy, recognition and awe of the female cycle, specifically the power of my own menstruation as a creative force, has ultimately felt to be a divide between us. I don't believe this is solely because men do not physically experience menstruation, but due, at least partly, to our educational system's failure to teach in a relational framework. When we look at the relativity between all things, it is not difficult to see the correlation between how we regard the female cycle (out of which each of us emerged) and how we equally consider nature, imagination, love, innovation and creativity. What if menstruation could be better presented as a facet of All of Our Lives, not just essential to girls and women?
Specifically, (this might be a mind-stretch)what if menstruation energetically, in some ways, could be understood as a shared experience for those in intimate partnership? Imagine if, just as a couple announces “we’re having a baby" when their "baby oven" is deep in placental process, they could also together conjointly experience the uterine shed, when that same oracular womb is releasing temporal bygones. While this idea may first seem off, because, let's be strait-- one of the first 101 basics of feminist thinking is "my body belongs to me", it's almost impossible to deny that when you love a man, as a woman, and you spend a lot of time with him inside of you, not just physically-- but in all ways, in spirit, heart and soul-- that he is physiologically connected to your vagina. It's of course NOT his, but by the same token, if people felt wholly in sole, single occupancy of their own bodies, likely typing in the phrase " release cords old relationships" wouldn't yield 39 billion hits on a Google search.
The truth is, everyone from the lab physicists to the Toltec and Vedic mystics have verified evidence basically revealing this: If you are a human (or even a domesticated animal, plant or bacteriophage) you are respondent to women's cycles all of the time. And if you are a fortunate partner of one such woman, you are informed and affected by her mood, probably. If you're not, then you likely need therapy, because being sensitive to one's beloved is the name of the game of love. So, say my ovulation directly or indirectly brings me and my partner closer, through general felicities and even sometimes really nice lingerie. How might my menstrual cycle also be experienced as a collective rite of passage? Something that makes our relationship stronger (not only because it didn't kill you). It seems feasible, it's just that the kicker is that, while menstruation and the mote around its fortress are filled with real gems of mystical wisdom, the experience for a women, herself, can often be truly challenging, as in: on the floor, writhing, heavily questioning why you ever wanted your job/moved to the city where you live/married your husband/had your kids. It can feel hyper-color, like suddenly you have the retinas of a Mantis Shrimp. It can feel like trying to explain psychedelia, while tripping. The challenging piece is that, for a woman who really feels bonded with her partner, it kind of sucks that this time can feel like such a divide.
Of course, this is not always the case. There are evidently a ton of women (all my ex-boyfriends' previous partners, evidently) who had seamless cycles, were always smiling, demure, relaxed. They never talked about their periods, and they never seemed to feel any discomfort in relationship to the natural events happening in their teeny-tiny vaginas. I think perhaps that these elusive ex-girlfriends of my ex-boyfriends may have been a bit made-up because I do not know any woman who, without blinking, says "my period-- I literally never notice it, feel it, think about it, or experience anything other than easy living as a woman". I know women who can't get pregnant, or have their periods irregularly, or took a birth control for so long they no longer have a period, or who breakout like a freaking Gloria Estafon song, or whose legs and breasts and waist grow twice as wide/large/heavy at various points in the month. I also know of women like Alisa Vita, an hormonally-balanced lifestyle advocate and women's health coach who can definitely support a woman to find her health and vitality within her cycle phases. That being said, a flower doesn't only bloom forever. Regardless of how eternally gorgeous our female bodies are, while we are in our fertile decades, each month we'll go through a full year of seasons, we're born, we die, we hope, we fulfill or shed in our unique anatomy. We are not the symbol of change, durn it, we are change itself. And there is nothing we can do about it except become better listeners and responders.
Still, what if your period pain isn't just Yours. What if, in ways, it is the echo of all collective female evolution, the swallowed cry of having been so long unseen. What if each month you are oracularly given opportunity to glean more of your own full dimensional power, the vision to perceive a real state of things. It seems, this is what indigenous cultures knew, and when women left their moon lodge the elders would ask "So, what are we doing wrong? How can we improve" and the regenerated women would whisper "We shouldn't plant our crops on the southern field anymore, we need to rotate the harvest to the west." The deal would be done. The elders knew that the womb would offer plentitude, obviously. It's not too difficult to put 2+2 together in this sense: if your woman can grow your baby, she can probably discern and figure out some other basic shit with her ovaries, etc.
I'm jumping all over the place because, guess what, that is actually very feminine. Linearity is a penile nature. Women are curved, just like Einstein's space. In these curves we connect the places, the pieces, the points, we make circles and other shapes, like a torus. In society, thought, where all signs are flush, lines are parallel and intersections often happen just once to make sure T's get crossed, the feminine natural language is often lost. Many of the main issues we are trying to face as humans, I believe, are directly connected to the lack of education and awareness around the menstrual cycle, and the type of shunning its undergone. Even today, a man may say "I have nothing against menstruating, it's natural, most women do it, it's fine." This is a very different statement, however, then something like "I recognize menstruation as central to everything a woman is. It is not something she does or has, it is something that has made her who she is. Her menstruation affects me, I want to connect more to its source and energy, I want to listen without defense, I want to brave being close to that same fire that she strongly is able to contain."
Instead we feel, as women-loving-men, disappointed if we get our period on the day of a romantic vacation's start. Or when we are actually making love, mid-sex. We feel uncomfortable saying, in a gentle whisper, attempting not to disturb the vibe, "actually, I am on day 5, so you might see a small amount of blood on you..." when we are being entered. And what about reality shows, like The Bachelorette. The Bacherlorette is like Barbie, she doesn't get a period. Just for six weeks or whatever amount of time she has to pick her husband, she is constantly making out, ovulating, open, excited, ready to get up and go. I bet, if all of the Bachelorette's were interviewed, they'd share: "Jesus, I thought I was SO into Ryan, but on week 5 I had my period, and I just knew, right then, Ryan would never give me what I want in a partner." I want those Bacherlorettes to give up the good details, I want to hear them explaining to their Ryans and Mikes that they have their period, and see what those guys say. Maybe they'll say "I'm really glad you shared, because, like, my mom had her period, and like, it was intense, and like, I really appreciate you." and they they'll kiss and their microphones will pick up the slurpy noises and it will be kind of gross and then a Burger King commercial will shift the publics' focus.
I'm not sure about the bachelorettes, but for myself, exploring the "how-to's" of self-confidence as a female-bodied person, I've learned that advocating upon my own behalf truly starts by standing in my literal female anatomy. Commodifying culture has glorified ovulation, the ever-18 media sex-kitten, dismissing women post-menopausal, allowing them to publicly “disappear” around the very same age male presidents are often inaugurated. Now, I didn’t sign up to be a menstrual-thumping preaching priestess, I signed up more to (at best) compose with fury like a Mozart, or paint madly like a Van Gogh, but (as must many women) to liberate the power of our full expression, we devote part of our artistry to evolving the understanding of what liberating the feminine perspective means, and what mountains, effectually, we must move in order to fully express— like a Mozart, like a Van Gogh. This is because all of us, artists or not, create out of our life experiences, our relationship, our heart truths. I have been so shocked to literally feel the narrowing constriction of my hips when entering new relationships with men who feel (to me) emotionally cutoff, defensive or cold in some capacity, or unable to access a warm, soothing place in their vocal tone when conversing. I have experienced the glory of my wide, at-large raging joyful enthusiasm immediately truncated by this type of male energy in just one single guillotine-like flash. I've walked away, or hung up a phone, left a cafe, the bedroom, etc. entirely altered from my previously confident state, completely insecure. It's amazed me that, seemingly, the same reason men, for years, have been lured by my creatively finessed effusion, healthy lifestyle and profession, is the very same reason they (after gleaning free schooling) feel called to seek something more submissive, after they've crowned themselves as their own expressive king, post-my influence, left with my impressed healthy habits, artistic eye, and (very female) ability to creatively conjure. I understand this pattern is mine to dismantle, as I believe that all causality is an agreed upon relationship. Einstein said something like the speed of light as constant is best interpreted as the constant of causality, of life effecting life. So I am ready to causally shift this; I believe that my own body rhythm truly holds the key to my relational evolution, in this case, specifically with men. I want to be my fiery advocating, wildly contradictory, all-over-the-place self to Some Degree in a way that can be welcomed, blood and all! I'd love most if, my emotional power, helped to heal the emotional-neutering that has been as widespread for men as repressed power has been for women. It took my last boyfriend 5 years to cry in front of me; and it took him cheating, lying, abandoning me and basically leaving me to be reborn in order to break a bawl. Finally, I was able to walk away when he effused. Thank fucking god, I confirmed, he isn't a soulless total asshole. Once I could make this assessment (which came through his tears, people, not his brawn, his achievements or wallet width) I was able to go. At least he is not really a vacuous zombie, I can rest my case.
In the past, I very frequently would not have my period for 150 days or more. It was before I began to create a daily art-log of exactly what day I am on (day 2, right now), and before I found female mentors who advocated not only for female cycle education, but also helped me to honor each cycle phase. I recognized that for years I’d energetically expected myself to feel “ovulatory” all month, social, revved up and ready to go, on-the-ball… Once I realized that I can make allowance for all phases of my cycle, I also began to unpack “perfectionistic” expectations I’d put on myself. The real “truth bomb” came after I spoke to a specific wise menstrual teacher, hoping to better understand the energetic underpinnings of why my cycle would not come. Hoping for an outside answer, as the western medical world has often set us up to seek. She told me, squarely, that I was a wise woman, and was already deeply “in the know”, connected clearly to the root cause of my own Amenorrhea, or lack of period, and that, certainly, when I was ready to listen to the power of my own menstruation, I would invoke the bleeding part of my cycle again. She forewarned: Menstruation WILL destroy what does not work in your life, and the message of your menstruation will not come gently to let you know what does not work. But, she told me, that suppressing my cycle because I needed to be “always on”, “creative” and “available” to the world and resisting the more internal/sometimes-dark time of my period, would never lead ultimately to my real life potential. She told me, that yes— sometimes our cycles can feel less-than “easy”— but it is essential, if I really want to fulfill my highest aim, that I learn to listen, nourish and let my cycle be, that I steward my own body wisdom; that I must let my womanhood lead. This leading looks different than what I had learned “leading” might look like. It does not look like Gorbachov or some other type of political leader, necessarily. It doesn't even look (always) as revved up and sexy as Beyoncé. Sometimes it is it’s own unique “sexy-ugly” (I’m working on branding this look!) In fact, Leading with my Female looks (today) like clearing my calendar and being in my pajamas until 11:30 a.m., making art and meditating in quietude, despite living in NYC and feeling the external pressures typical to thriving here. It looks (for me) like a new trust, not making myself wrong to speak what feels true, and to return to the well of myself as best as I can to renew my confidence, to verify all parts as worthy. Letting my female lead might also be about sometimes saying— upon receiving casted judgement “Actually, I’m not that”. Or it also might be about under/over-firing my passions and evaluating my own interpersonal skills. It might be about staying humble enough to clearly hear where I can better take care of my expressive operations. In fact, traditional tribes often would consult their women post menstruation to ask “what can we do better”? Menstrual teacher Alisa Viti has presented the idea that modern companies might also profit from this type of recognition of the benefits of going with the female cycle.
Just to be clear, I am still a total student of listening to my own female cycle, and will likely remain one until my menopausal years and beyond! In fact, by listening to my cycle, just as being a composer, I get to be an eternal student. What I find is that the woman’s rhythm is an amazing time keeper, and perhaps the one time that Einstein failed to recognize when acknowledging man’s sense of time in his public debate on in Paris with a leading philosopher in the 1920’s . Interestingly, it is this rhythm of our own women’s cycles that have advanced us as a species, connected us directly to the rhythms of the cosmos, gravity and beyond. And— as we continue to move through the echelons of cosmic decades, I feel certain, our female cycle is the biological song that will conduct our hormonal chemical communicators into thriving, finding better ways, deeper peace agreements, smart technologies and a wider definition and experience of love.
When I have fallen in love, when I have felt connected— fully and comfortably female— in the presence of intimate love with a man, all of my feminine flavors are there: the power, irreverence, destructive capability, fire, silliness, wit, deviousness, ugly weirdness, sprite, charm, hot sexy power, absolute surrender, tenderness, soft receptivity, weepiness, wildness, honor, messiness, fieriness, precision. Yet, menstruating reminds me that it is my job as a woman to be responsible for all of my spectral energy, and it is specifically by listening to my my cycle that I become more able to take care of my own energies; make choices for myself, honor others and my own life. This is how I can be “every woman” (as sung Whitney) for a man, and fuel loving desires, while not stifling my expansive self. I am learning to listen to my cycle so that I no longer give myself to the man-as-my-student, attach myself to a man with potential who I then give my own power to, growing his life instead of growing my own destiny on this planet. I am working on feeling absolutely confident that I will certainly choose my own empowered solitude over stifling myself in order to settle for self-limiting connection in a relationship. Ideally, I hope I can be a “Staunch Feminist” and still felt as a tender woman in my beloved’s arms. I hope he can not be overwhelmed by my blood, stung by my premenstrual discernments, floored by my ovulatory wakefulness. I hope he can understand that being a “staunch” feminist, to me, is not a stiff position, it involves dancing hips, singing hearts, joyful kindness and generous nourishment as much as it involves heavily dropping truth bombs , being a lifelong student and exploring the unknown. So I call forth men who welcome not only reaping from the wise female crop, but also reverently bowing to her seeds ever-sown. I welcome a man who is successfully in wonder of his own professional field and soulful offering, be it oceanography, medicine or the arts, but who is equally as reverent of the expansive mastery of the female cycle out of which he was born. Who knows that by my making note of the importance of my menstrual cycle, I am not asking for him to feel less-than, but to rise up and claim this cycle awareness as his to enthuse over, too! I am perhaps "asking too much", but I dream of a man who celebrates the arrival of my cycle as he would celebrate any other significant stroke of good fortune upon us! I'd rather get flowers commemorating my bleeding than as a Valentine's day gift (but, honestly, both are cool with me!) I admit, I think I taught my ex-boyfriends these tricks-of-the-trades, so their next ladies glean such benefits, sigh.
Lastly, some of my closer friends, family members, etc. have helped me, in the past to “censor” what I express— somethings seem “too open”, "too verbose" for the public, “too personal” or perhaps infringing on my “professional appearance”. But I don’t want to waste my life living in tentativeness (heck no!!!) or even concerning that maybe later, in a day, week, year or more, I will feel my sharing was too much. TOO opinionated, too verbose, etc.
Women have been “too much” for too long. It’s time the rest of the world’s operations are lifted to meet the status of our imagination, capability, and emotional thresh-hold.
And this is what I have to share, on day 2 and day 3 of my own menstrual week, for which I am so freaking thankful. I share this to feed my own heart, and to feed yours: this is the gift of the feminine wisdom, it is the same that the "father of science" expressed--- as within, so without. Change not only comes from within, it, operates, entirely and in a technological genius, within. I feel so fortunate to learn from body wisdom!