We’re constantly being told how to be more self-loving, confident and how to "fix" our body image issues.
But what about those of us that have a distorted image of ourselves and don’t even know it? What if there is one thing that has been so ingrained into us that it’s effecting how we feel about ourselves month to month?
What I’m getting at here is something I discovered by accident about myself. I always believed I was a happy person, that I “loved” myself, but like a bad relationship sometimes you can’t see clearly until you are on the other side of it all.
I’m talking about your relationship with your period and menstrual cycle.
I know, I know, but bare with me. It’s a very odd concept, but will make better sense [hopefully] here in a few minutes.
I know we’ve come a long way, but it wasn’t that long ago that I was hefting a binder half my size through the sixth grade, and being taught about the reproductive systems.
All I remember from those lesson[s] was there was some complicated scientific happenings inside of me every month, which resulted in a week of blood, before it all started over again.
Who knew I had these mad scientists inside of me just waiting to wreak havoc on me every month!
Slowly, but surely, all of my friends, and every. other. girl. in my grade got their period. Ah, but not me.
They were this elite girl club, who go to hide their pads up their sleeves or in their back pockets, and complain of the woes of cramps and period blood.
They were like superheroes with their nifty gadgets and tales of the battlefield, that a commoner like myself couldn’t understand.
And I didn’t understand it, I didn’t even know how it really happened or what it meant, but I wanted it — oh I wanted it bad.
My freshman year of high school was when I was unceremoniously brought into that girl gang of womanhood that I wanted so bad.
And so began eight years of cramps, bleeding, tampons birth control pills, complaining and hating my period. Why did I have to suffer? It wasn’t fair. Guys didn’t have to deal with any of this. They were so lucky.
The only conversations I had about periods with other girls were about how much we hated it, what a nuisance it was, and to share our period horror stories.
A perfect environment to foster hate and disdain for something.
Something that was so perfectly part of who we were.
Now, let’s step back and think of a few other things, things we often only focusing negative thoughts and emotions about. For many girls that’s their body shape, for others it’s their acne.
Never in my life have I fixed anything with hate. Not once.
Now, I’m not telling you that you can fix something with just thinking positive thoughts alone. But I wholeheartedly believe that positive thoughts bring about positive actions.
If you hate your body are you going to focus on nurturing it with healthy foods and getting out and being active? Mmmm, maybe, but you’re going to be annoyed that your body is the reason you can’t enjoy the bad food.
When you hate your acne isn’t it just so much easier to pick it apart then to love it? Yes, I’ve seen it with myself and with many girls throughout my life.
So, when you hate your period, and find it unnecessary are you going to search for the positives of having a menstrual cycle or how you can heal your menstrual woes? Probably not. You’re going to continue complaining, “Ugh, I’m having the worst freakin’ cramps and I’m going through super tampons like no one’s business!”
It takes some time to reverse this thinking. It takes time, love and information.
Building a better relationship with your menstrual cycle seems like such an abstract luxury, but I promise the positive effects spread throughout all other aspects of your life.
Instead of grabbing at a saddlebag, invisible to everyone else’s naked eye but mine, I now look at my body in awe of what it is able to do.
Instead of whining about cramps and a heavy cycle I have healed both to a manageable level with nutrition.
Instead of picking apart my face I have learned to leave the pimple alone, Victoria.
I understand why my body does certain things and I am positively fascinated by it.
And I hope to help whoever wants to get to this same level of body literacy and love too.
So stay tuned, love. There will be many more posts on this to come.