Recently, I was binge-watching the second season of Workin’ Moms, a Canadian television sitcom about a group of friends dealing with the challenges of being working mothers and being women generally. In one episode, Alice Carlson, played by Sadie Munroe got her period for the first time and was aghast by the reality that women got periods every month for a long time – well until menopause. This was pretty much the look on her face.
She was so shocked that she believed that being a girl sucks.
It can feel that way if you have to bleed every month and still deal with negative stereotypes, gender norms and sexual harassment. It’s crazy how, every period feels like a new one: the pain feels new, the cramps feel new, the emotions feel new. And every period, a woman is aghast that she has to go through it for several more months and years before it stops on it’s own, and tells herself that it sucks to be a woman.
This made me realise that while a lot of period experiences are unique, there are some things about periods women from all over can relate to in spite of age, class and race. I decided to put some of them together for you.
1. Does Everything or Every-freaking-thing hurt?
Periods often come with cramps — headaches, stomach aches, back aches, leg aches — all the aches, you name them. This can be particularly excruciating if you have to work, attend lectures or be at a place where you’re expected to be all smiles and civil — everywhere other than your bed.
Every time I remember that there are some women out there who don’t get any kind of pain, I ask myself who did I offend.
2. Not Knowing You’re On Your Period
One of the most annoying parts about getting your period is getting it when you absolutely did not expect it. There’s an embarrassing story about a woman getting her period while having sex here. Some women get PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome, which acts like a warning) when they’re about to get periods. Others don’t. Some women have regular periods that are easily trackable. Some don’t. So it can be really annoying — like the entire world hates you and has conspired against you — if you’ve made plans and it just shows up.
Imagine being in public transport or elsewhere and your Aunt Flo just pops up like, “Surprise, Surprise!” with little or no consideration for the fact that you don’t have a sanitary pad or tampon. That little bitch.
Or waking up to your bed — a crime scene. Better clean it up before your roommate calls the police.
3. The reaction when someone asks you how you feel:
4. Every woman knows it’s that time of the month when her skincare routine doesn’t work anymore.
Any time my expensive skincare routine stops working all of a sudden, or I wake up and discover a huge-ass talking-pimple on my forehead, I just know that Aunt Flo is around the corner. Worst part about these kinds of pimples is that they’re always so huge and painful.
5. Being told to be calm during your period.
Men are constantly telling women that they’re overreacting. There have been several conversations on social media where people try to whittle down the pain a woman feels during her period, or equate it with “blue balls.” I’ve got four words for you:
6. There’s nothing sacred about the words PERIOD or MENSTRUATION.
It’s always so hilarious when people feel ashamed to say “period” or “menstruation.” Periods are a natural process experienced by half the world’s population; they are a sign of life. So, why is the subject and the word(s) cloaked in secrecy and shame? Honey, it’s just a word…
7. When your period decides to play hide and seek
Because the first thing that comes to your mind is that you’re pregnant. Meanwhile, your boring-ass self hasn’t had sex in a long ass time. But when a hundred years later, your period comes just as you’re about to start getting comfortable with a period-less month, you’re torn between rejoicing and crying.
8. Not finding the right brand of tampons or sanitary pads you’ve used all your life.
This can be very frustrating, especially if it’s the same store where you always get them. It’s even worse when the store attendant tries to offer you a replacement.
9. Standing up and realising the map of Africa isn’t painted red at the back of your dress or jeans.
The rare occasion you celebrate during the excruciating five or a million days (because sometimes, it feels like it’ll never end) you get your period is likely when you’ve not gotten stained in a bit.
Surviving has to be the best and most important part, because all through the period cycle, you’ll most likely feel like you’re going to die. But now that it’s over, you get to celebrate, YAY!