period pieces: are periods a pain?
Period Pieces is upcoming Melbourne Fringe Festival comedian Loani Arman’s hilarious series on menstruation. Be sure to check Lip for new instalments every Wednesday.
Two days ago, I was carrying my daughter through a doorway when she distracted me with her fifth projectile vomit for the day, and I stubbed my toe against the door. It was my little toe, which doesn’t really even deserve to be called a toe. It’s so much smaller than the rest that it looks as though my foot got tired after growing four normal toes, and just made a half-toe that claws out from the side of my foot. It’s the perfect target for stubbing.
When I stub a toe, the pain I feel is desperate and it stalls my life. For at least ten minutes (or more if I’ve stubbed more than one toe) my entire body writhes and hops around in utter agony. I scream, moan and even invent new swear words.
On this occasion, I screamed ‘Shiiiiip Ta’, which is not particularly expletive, but with my daughter in my arms, ‘Shit’ became ‘Shiiiiip’ and ‘Ta’ just seemed logical as it’s the only word my daughter can say. I had hoped that she would offer some sympathy by way of a cuddle or a smile, but she just vomited again. On me. Not particularly sympathetic.
There is NOTHING worse than stubbing a toe.
But, of course there are worse things. Terminal illness is worse than stubbing a toe. Heartbreak is worse. Losing your job is worse. And getting your period is worse.
Every 24 days, my period shows up. It starts out as a spot of blood but within the day, that tiny spot of blood launches me into five days of hell. There are the womb tightening cramps to contend with, a back that feels like I’ve had several vertebrae removed, and underwear that looks like I’ve butchered my vagina. That’s gross, I know, but let’s be real: periods aren’t fun and the gross-out factor is MAXI.
(Did you enjoy that play on words? MAXI… as in Maxi pads? Anyone?)
Periods suck but every month I get through it without nearly as much fanfare as when I stub my toe. I don’t jump and scream to the world; I just try my best to keep calm and carry on.
If I’m at home, having my period means I still change my daughter’s nappies, mix her formula, sing lullabies like I’m Beyoncé and continue to be a good Mum. If I’m at work, I still respond to emails, take meetings, drink too much coffee and ignore the fact that I’ve chosen to wear white that day.
Having my period doesn’t change the routine of my life substantially, because it can’t.
Every month my period comes knocking and I have no choice but to manage. Every month, I look my period in the face and tell it to get ‘Sheeeepy Taaaaa’d’ because I have a life to live. Every month, I become a warrior woman and take my period in my stride because I know that if I truly gave in to its tortuous ways, I would never get anything done.
Granted, I’m one of the lucky ones. There are women out there whose periods are excruciating because their ovaries are covered in cysts. There are women who need to be medicated because their cramps are so debilitating. There are even some women who are allergic to their own period blood. On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the worst period possible, I’m only a four, so I know that I can take menstruation in my stride because it’s possible.
Now, if I had to make a choice between stubbing my toe and getting my period, I know what choice I would make. I would choose my period, because unlike stubbing my toe, I know I can cope.
Missed out on Loani’s last Period Piece? Check out Part One: Dear Tampon.
Disclaimer: If you are not coping with period pain, or are concerned about your experiences of menstruation, please consult your doctor.