Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hormones, Womanhood, and Living

It's about to get real up in here. (said in my very white-girl vernacular)

When I was 12 I started my period. (told you)

It was horrifying. I refused to leave the house for a week. I curled up in an arm chair and wondered how women lived like this. I was ready to black-out my schedule every month that this evil beast made its appearance.

But my mom, God bless her, did something very wise -- and very difficult, I'm sure.

She looked at me, her crying, writhing-in-pain-and-hormonal-hell-daughter, and she told me I had that one week. I had that week only to cancel my lessons and activities, to hibernate and avoid all earthly contact. She gave me one week to succumb to my misery and feel sorry for myself for being a female.

But when that week was over, I had to live. Even if I felt terrible, or "gross," I had to get up and do stuff. I had to follow through with commitments and be normal anyway.

I hated her at the time.

But I think back to that often. She did an amazing thing. She probably wished she could shelter me from it all, I know I would if it were my daughter. But instead she taught me that being a woman meant that sometimes you'll feel out of control, hormonal, sick, whatever. And when you do, you take a moment, let yourself feel bad about it, and then get over it.

Now that I'm a mother, and currently a pregnant one, I've been realizing how much that lesson really taught me. It's not all about periods anymore; now it's more often about feeling depressed, or incompetent, sick, or just tired.

"Just" tired?? Ha, what a joke.

(When I wasn't pregnant) I would take a moment in the evening and have a glass of wine. Or a pint of ice cream. Or ignore the dishes and curl up on the couch with a good movie.

I would, and do, acknowledge that life is hard, being a woman, or a mother, or just a person, often leaves you wanting. Feel it. Give yourself a moment. And then move on.

Because people need me. People need you. The world needs us to live in it.

Here's what I don't want you to take from this: I don't want you to think that when you feel like crap, you just have to get over it. That's very destructive, and we as women are really good at inflicting that kind of harsh judgment on ourselves.

What I'm saying is, love yourself and acknowledge how you feel. It's very real. But don't stay there. That's not good either.

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