Periods. PMS. Power.
This piece of writing is a celebration of the amazing things that make us women. The bloody amazing things (no pun intended). It respects and honours the feeling that many of us may have felt in the past that it wasn’t okay to talk openly talk and discuss these things.
I only recently discovered that bleeding isn’t ‘disgusting’ ‘gross’ ‘dirty’ or something we should be ashamed of and not talk about. Instead it is powerful, beautiful and something we should be proud of, unashamedly own and talk about.
The more we have #bloodyconversations the more we can slowly start to heal the shame we’ve been made to feel about the things that make us women. So here are two bloody amazing things about being a woman.
Wonderful, beautiful, red periods. Now if you are reading this and thinking what on earth am I on about saying that periods are wonderful and beautiful (insert rainbows, puppies and kittens) when all you seem to experience is horrible cramps and bleeding... then honestly, I feel you. I do. But let’s look at it this way.
Periods are a normal part of the menstrual cycle and they allow our bodies to bring new life into this world. In the form no less, of super cuddly and squishy babies. Who can argue with the fact that babies are squishy cute and come from women? And how many men can say that they have created, nurtured and birthed a baby? Not many. If any.
If we didn’t get periods we wouldn’t be able to have children. This would literally mean the end of the fucking human race faster than a zombie apocalypse or climate change… combined. I really want to have children and bring new life into this wonderful world with my loving partner. So, in turn I see no choice but to also love my womb and the shedding of the lining of my uterus.
I will also love the day that my womb brings a baby into this world and I’m told there is blood and pain involved with that too. So, next time you have cramps, bloody clots and feel like total shit… tell your body that you love it. Tell your period that you love it. Periods are the shedding of that which does not serve you, the possibility for new life, creativity from the womb of the powerful creatrix that you are.
To finish this honouring of the sacred period I share this truthful and unapologetic poem by Rupi Kaur.
i bleed each month to help make humankind a possibility. my womb is home to the divine. a source of life for our species. whether i choose to create or not. but very few times it is seen that way. in older civilizations this blood was considered holy. in some it still is. but a majority of people. societies. and communities shun this natural process. some are more comfortable with the pornification of women. the sexualization of women. the violence and degradation of women than this. they cannot be bothered to express their disgust about all that. but will be angered and bothered by this. we menstruate and they see it as dirty. attention seeking. sick. a burden. as if this process is less natural than breathing. as if it is not a bridge between this universe and the last. as if this process is not love. labour. life. selfless and strikingly beautiful (https://rupikaur.com/period/).
Love, labour, life, selflessness and beauty. Can’t argue with that.
The dreaded PMS. I tell my boyfriend I’ve got PMS and he shivers with fear. Honestly... and I love it. During this time, he is in total awe of my feminine power and respects me needing space to withdraw, recoup and shed that which is no longer serving me. Much like the lining of my uterus. PMS really is a huge neon sign from your body saying, ‘GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK.’ This is when you need to stop being superwomen for everyone else and put yourself first. Prioritise some quiet time. Read a good book in bed. Sleep in. Go to that BodyLove class. Show yourself some self-love and your body will thank you for it.
During this time, I also have a sharp no bullshit-a-meter. My intuition is on point. For example, if someone does something to me that I do not like, I will tell them. If you lie to me, I will know. If something unjust happens to me, I will get angry. I will cry multiple times a day and when I say cry, I mean like really fucking cry (face first into pillow with snot, dribbling and wet patches). For me, PMS is my time to clear out as many emotions as possible including all the ones I held onto during the rest of my cycle. This is okay, this is normal, this is part of my menstrual cycle.
In a recent Instagram post, author, creatrix and total real-life goddess Lisa Lister (@sassylisalister) talks about how for so long we've been told to be a good girl, to be quiet, to not be too loud, to fit the requirements of the male gaze.
The work of woman right now, the SHE work, is to remember that you are the fucking temple.
All the healing, learning, initiation, fortification, all of it happens IN you. See?
You're a cyclic, unpredictable, powerful fucking woman.
Please never apologise for THAT (https://www.instagram.com/p/BaD6hBHjQw1/?taken-by=sassylisalister)
This has been a #bloodyconversation about some of the things that we don’t often talk about. All of this is important because the more unapologetic we are regarding our menstrual cycle, the more we will be able to reclaim our power as women. Let us stand together to honour and celebrate our periods and PMS. Keep having these conversations with your mum, with your girlfriends and soul sisters because the more we do, the more we slowly start to heal the shame we’ve been made to feel about the things that make us women. Always remember you are a powerful goddess.
Aroha nui ki a koe
Awa Wahine Editor, Ataria Sharman is an avid reader and writer. Her manuscript for young adults fiction novel was selected to take part in Te Papa Tupu 2018 - a programme for selected Maori writers facilitated by Huia Publishers and the Maori Literature Trust.