Menstrual Cycling

“Isn’t it weird how your period transforms you into Wonder Woman?”  my friend texted as my uterine lining erupted out of me like hot magma out of Krakatoa.

Wonder Woman?  Is everyone else’s menses making them super-strong and giving them invisible jets?

That’s right, I’m talking about my period again!  I talk about my period a lot because I do it a lot.  Several times a year, in fact.  I’ve been tracking my menstrual symptoms on the highly-scientific Clue app, and learned a lot about how my body changes and how it doesn’t change. For example, I am always tired, according to my data. But I’m sneaking up on 32, so that sounds pretty reasonable.

The really bizarre changes are the ones Clue doesn’t have any way of tracking:

– a week before ovulation, I can’t stop peeing.  Up every five minutes to pee.  Sometimes I’ll get up to pee, and then as I’m leaving the bathroom, I’ll think, “crap, I have to pee again!” But if I’m in a public place or running errands, I’ll feel weird about excusing myself to the bathroom twice in five minutes so I’ll hold it, and the whole time I’ll just be mentally plotting my next trip to pee. Where is all this pee coming from? I wonder if I’m going to get sick and dehydrated because I’m not drinking, I’m just peeing. Just a constant fountain of pee.

– for the week or so before my period, my sense of smell is heightened. “Why does it smell like freshly-sharpened pencils and steamed brussels sprouts in here?” If I were enterprising, I would find a way to use this ability to supplement my income, perhaps by picking up shifts as a bomb-sniffing dog at the airport.  I would never be a drug dog.  This bitch ain’t no narc.

– a few days before my period, I’m starving. Stomach growling, hunger pains, nonstop. As I write this, I’m counting the minutes to dinner, even though I ate lunch two hours ago, and and made a salad in the meantime. I actually got dressed to walk to the grocery store to buy ice cream bars, because I saw a picture of one on Twitter.

– the night before my period, I don’t sleep. Or, more accurately, I drift off to peaceful sleep as always, then wake gently at 4am, get up to pee, and HOLY SHIT!  Maelstrom of blood and cramps!  The rest of the night is spent in the bathroom, or twisting up in the sheets to find a comfortable position (spoiler: there isn’t one) in the hopes of getting ANY MORE sleep that night. I might finally drift off around 6:00 AM, lying on my back and folded in half, with my ankles over my head and hooked through the rails of the headboard….and then the alarm goes off. So much for sleeping!

– during my period, I can’t stand the taste of coffee — not even the smell of it! I know they say that caffeine is bad for you on your period, which sucks, because I’m also SO TIRED (like, more tired than normal tired) and I feel like I need just a little caffeine. Sometimes during crave tea, until I remember that I REALLY hate the taste of tea.

– for about three days before my period and during the first few days of the actual event, about 80% of my vocabulary goes into temporary storage.  Proper nouns are gone (“what do you call that thing?”), verbs are a fond memory (“what is it called when you don’t like something?”), and all my beautiful adjectives take a vacation. The last cut is the deepest. Around the third day of my period, all my words come back with a rush and it’s like … like …

*checks Clue*

Crap. Here we go again, period.

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