Assorted Saturdays: Honouring the Blood

7 08 2010

We bleed.  Womyn, that is.  Every month, our beautiful genitals issue forth blood from a life that never became manifest.

(Photo credit: http://creative.ly/item/163223/2XtqM)

When expressed that way, I understand why there is so much fear around menstruating.

In our society where death is terrifying, definitely NOT acceptable, the monthly cycle of little death can conjure up some pretty intense reactions in people.

I remember when I got it my mother said something like “welcome to womanhood and the Curse.”  yup, the Curse.

Because womyn, in traditional Christian mythologies have done something horribly wrong and so they must bleed every month.

I believed that, for about 10 years of my bleeding life.  I had cysts on my ovaries, big balls of pain that rose and fell with my cycle, and so my first moon was in a hospital.  The following cycles were equally traumatic, though not with hospital visits, as I knew that the incredible pain was from inside my body and would not be going away.  The pain was monitored with slimy ultrasound sticks over bloated bladder and kept in check, at age 14, by the birth control pill.

Because I really didn’t receive much education about my body as a child, like most of my generation, and those previous, I figured that all of this was just good and normal and that I would be condemned to suffer, excruciatingly, every month, at the hands of my procreative system.  My mother and I coalesced into an ooze of sympathy for each other’s plight, as womyn, and that was it.

When I was 22, I was off the birth control pill for a couple years, based on discovering that it was actually a horrible thing to do to one’s body for prolonged periods of time.  I had been experiencing pain so intense, every month, that I was drugging myself with codeine just so I could function, even nominally.

That was around the time I met Elsa.  She was an empowered woman, studying Women’s Studies in University and was a wellspring of feminine empowerment.  She asked me if I would let her throw me a menarche party.

“A menarche party?” I asked.

And she went on to explain to me that in many cultures, a female bleeding was celebrated.  It meant fertility for the tribe, another person able to carry on the traditions and customs through childbirth.  It meant fertility for the land, as the blood would nourish the Earth and help the crops grow.  It meant, in some cultures, gained wisdom and insight.  A menarche party, then, was a celebration of all things bloody and menstrual, feminine and powerful.

My mind, as they say, was blown.

(not so much a mind being blown, but isn’t this a cute photo?  photo credit: http://livinglaboratory.blogspot.com/2007/03/period-period-period-you-are-ellipsis.html)

So, at age 22, I attended my menarche party.  We wore red, ate red food, talked about blood and bleeding while sitting inside a glorious womb that Elsa had create from deep red fabrics in her attic.

My perspective, thereafter, surrounding my body’s necessary expulsion of uterine lining every month shifted.  I remembered to celebrate my body, instead of curse it.  I remembered to focus on what this blood gave me, and my life, instead of what it took away.

Since then, I have come a long way. I still have cramps, but they aren’t nearly as bad; they haven’t been since that party.  I still get grumpy and tired and all the other things, but now I recognize it as part of a miraculous cycle. I still get anti-social and “bitchy”, but realize this is the urge to go inwards and learn from the little death that comes every month.

I love bleeding now. I am grateful every month that my moon blood greets me.  I gather it in my diva cup and feed it to my plants.  I sleep with a moon blanket to gather my blood off my bed.  I eat delicious chocolates and make love to myself to thank myself for the wonders of what my body does.

My friend Sarah says “Thank you.” every time she knows a womyn is bleeding.  Why? Because she knows that we all go, for those few days, to a place of darkness, where death is ever-present.  She knows that we walk, with our blood, through intense lessons, to bring them back an offer them to those willing to hear.  Because we offer our blood to the Earth.  Because we are moving through cycles so that human life can continue.

So, to all womyn, I say “thank you” for your blood.  May you all find ways that allow you to honour it, as the glorious gift it is.

Blessings.

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11 responses

7 08 2010
Rashel

great post of celebration.

7 08 2010
mamameme

thank you!

7 08 2010
elsa

I miss that womb room I’ve tried to recreate it since but it’s just not the same…and I loved having that party for you! I’m bleeding now too!

7 08 2010
mamameme

that womb room was epic. I loved it.
and I love that you had that party for me.
and, I love that we’re bleeding together.
AND, i Love you!

7 08 2010
elsa

awww…I love you too!

7 08 2010
Prexus Swyftwynd

I’m so happy to hear that you’ve turned a positive head towards menstruation. I know that women who suffer from discomforts and menstrual side-effects, menstruation is not a particularly enjoyable weeky for them, however, there are many women who are keen on their monthly period and enjoy the way they connect with nature and women around them.

Truly, the menstrual cycle is such a beautiful process of the female body. Men particularly who feel repulsed about periods, I always ask them, “If menstruation didn’t exist, would you be alive today?” and they always stare back at me with a blank look. From then, I knew that many men and perhaps quite a few women are quite ignorant about the processes of menstruation. I will not claim to be an expert, but I love taking the time to learn through medical and anecdotal stories of menstruation from girls who feel comfortable sharing the beauty and love of periods with me. I hope in time, my blog will spread the truth and beauty of menstruation to men and women alike and I’m glad to see your entry which also sheds a positive light on your perception of periods!

You are completely on the right track when it comes to your “new perspective” about your monthly cycle and shedding lining – it indeed draws you ever closer to your inner-self. A regular menstrual cycle often helps determine the general healthy state of most menstruating women. Unlike men, women are easily signaled by any hidden problems in their health when their cycle goes awry. Likewise, they go to the doctor quicker and have a faster diagnostic and recovery time. Men on the other hand don’t have any processes which help signal us of declining or afflicted health. Thus, I believe women are much more in-tune with themselves through their periods and can easily gauge their internal health regularly!

7 08 2010
mamameme

thanks for coming by again, prexus.

I am really hopeful that your blog will help people come to a better and more respectful understanding of menstruation. Thanks for making it!

I didn’t realize that off-cycles were a common reason that women went to the doctor. I tend to avoid the doctors, but I can see that helping.

Thanks again for coming by.

8 08 2010
Prexus Swyftwynd

I think some women are more sensitive than others, especially when it comes to their periods. There are those, including myself (although not for menstrual reasons obviously), who avoid the doctor unless we’re part way to dying, and then there are those who are one day off their period and already panicking. However, women who have delays or premature periods on a regular basis all of a sudden do indeed go to the doctors to get it checked out. Of course everyone skips, has an early or a later one once in a while, especially during great stress or something – but for a woman who is regular and suddenly destabilizes and continues to do so over a few months will start triggering some alarms for them to see their GP or their OBGYN!

9 08 2010
sarah

thank you ❤

22 11 2010
Life

I don’t eat any form of cane sugar, and I avoid hormone-laden dairy products like the plague.
Prior to menstruation, for any form of pain, I take wild yam root (a great non-menstruating support herb). During the week before I expect it, I try to stay as warm as possible– sleeping with a heated rice bag during the winter to keep my abdomen extra-warm, and dressing in more layers around my middle when I go out. I drink a LOT of strong ginger tea anytime I want it, and especially when menstruating. These things have helped to ease, and eventually eliminate severely debilitating cramping for me.
Hope something in this is helpful 🙂

22 11 2010
mamameme

thanks so much for the information! I’ll try keeping my middle section warmer and see how that works, prior to menstruation.

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