By Rita Lazar
Most American women have grown up with the belief that our menstrual cycle is our curse. Our culture tells us that our period is something to be dreaded at worst and to be annoyed by at the very least. We see it in television and print ads too, where Mother Nature is portrayed as a sort of stuffy and rigid pest who won’t leave you alone and relentlessly tracks you down month after month. The way our culture handles menstruation is annoying, but the most annoying part to most women is experiencing the actual PMS, when we go through what feels like utter emotional chaos – sadness, anger, sensitivity – all mixed into one excruciating experience.
What I’m about to say may be upsetting to some of you, especially those of you who get really bad PMS, but I believe this chaos that we go through is a gift from nature – not a curse.
Shocking I know, but I whole-heartedly believe that PMS is meant to help us. Humor me for a second: women are conditioned to be nurturers, to be sweet, and to be affectionate. These expectations persist no matter how much has been accomplished with women’s rights, and the message to be this way is still rampant in our culture. Now, the reason I think that PMS is a gift is because I believe that all the unpleasant things we feel and the unpleasant ways we act is Mother Nature bringing us back to balance; to give us a break from being that thinly-stretched caregiver during the rest of the month.
For those of you who get very moody during PMS, you have to look deeper into what it is that makes you react this way during this time. The things that make you lash out during PMS are more often than not, things that also bother you when you’re not pmsing. Maybe you’re too nurturing during non-PMS times – and not nurturing enough of yourself, or maybe you’re too indifferent or too excusing of bothersome things around you, because maybe you gave in to society’s pressure to be nice and pleasant all the time instead of setting boundaries with the people in your life about what is the right or wrong way to treat you.
I noticed this with myself, when I look back at my lash-outs during PMS it’s always in reaction to something excruciatingly annoying that I’d have to put up with from others all the time, things that I would silently excuse, but when I have PMS I become vocal about these things. I EXPRESS my discontent, and this is what I believe is the point of it all.
Think about all the different things us women are expected to be: affectionate, tender, and authoritative with our children, on top of our game and excelling at work, a caring shoulder to cry on for our girlfriends, and sex sirens for our men. I say thank God for PMS. Thank God it makes us get mad, cry, and let it all out. Without that outlet I’m pretty sure we’d be completely miserable with all these different roles we have to juggle all the time.
I understand that for some women certain diet changes, like removing sugar or animal products, can improve the mood swings of PMS, but this up and down cycle will and SHOULD always be there.
This is all of course just my theory and another part of this theory is that women who don’t suffer severe mood swings and emotional disturbances during PMS are that way because they already have the balance that I am proposing Mother Nature is gifting the rest of us with.
I want you to be more understanding and easy on yourself for being a woman. Our ups and downs are a part of who we are; what makes us the tender creators we came here to be. I’d also like for you to examine yourself when that time of the month comes, and pay attention to what it is that upsets you. I’m pretty sure that if the same things arise for you every time you experience mood swings that you very likely need to be more vocal about your wants, pet peeves, and any and every thing that makes you growl on the inside all month long. No one will be destroyed by this. In fact, you could very well enhance your relationships by being more communicative.
This is yet another reason why I love dance so very much: it helps me when I’m feeling more emotional during that time of the month, or whatever time for that matter. Dance is self-expression. It lets us express our sadness and rage, aside from the lighter and lovelier feelings. You sweat out a lot more than fluid when you dance yourself into a frenzy. Try this today and see what I’m talking about. Dance to the point that you’ve forgotten yourself, and do this regularly.
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