Monday, October 29, 2007

every twenty eight days...or so


When we were waiting in line for the Dalai Lama my mom was telling me how she'd done such a good job explaining the birds and the bees to my niece and nephew. I'll admit to turning purple and squeaking "Because you did such a good job with us kids?" Of course, it was incredibly rude of me and my friends shot me evil looks.

I'd been on edge and bitchy for days. Yep, PMS.

But, back to Mom and the facts of life. When I was in fifth grade and a little cheerleader (who couldn't do a cartwheel and was so nervous that I almost threw up before every game) I asked Mom if I could shave my legs, like some of the other girls. Mom told me that I needed to wait until I started my period. Ummm, okay. I looked in the library and sort of figured out what that meant.

A couple of years went by and my younger sister started her period and started shaving her legs. A few more years passed and I was sixteen and working at a nursing home. I took my first paycheck and bought my first-ever pair of jeans and a razor. Another year went by. Still nothing, and mom never talked to me about it. I talked to a nurse at the nursing home and she directed me to Planned Parenthood where I had an exam and they determined that I was okay, just a slow "developer" -- nothing else had developed in the chest area either, if you know what I mean.

I was running in a track meet the last week of my senior year when I started menstruating. I grabbed a dime, bought a tampon from the machine and raced out the door as they were calling for my race. I ran a mile and totally forgot about it. Everything was fine and that set the tone for my periods for years.

I never had any cramps, bloating, backache or PMS. My periods were always light and only lasted a day or two. I can't think of one thing that I ever missed because of my periods (except have the glamorous life depicted in the Tampex ads). I was the woman that other women hated, because the whole thing seems too easy for me.

Until a few years ago, that is. I would get so emotional; hate my life, hate my job and hate AVS. He'd gently suggest that maybe I was feeling out of sorts because of PMS. Which would usually cause me to burst in to tears and cling to him for dear life. Not fun for anyone, really. I think he started putting Xanax in my applesauce, not that I would have blamed him.

All of these years I was fairly regular, until recently. When I was Nashville earlier this month I had a bad cold and some sort of rash. I laid down for a nap, feeling sorry for myself thinking that I couldn't be much more miserable. Ahhh, but I could. Luckily I had a stash in my travel kit.

And, here we go again. I'm paying for all of those years of smooth sailing.

I also fear that it is the beginning of the end of this menstruation thing. The older girls are when they start the greater chance they will go though menopause earlier.

Intellectually I know that I'm okay with never having children. But some times it tugs at my heart. Or maybe that's just the PMS talking.


bad influence girl said...

I'm going to say it because I doubt the guys will. Helluva post, Nora. Period.

I went the other way--there were occasional days in middle and high school where I literally got sick to my stomach and could barely move. For a cursed few months in high school it was every 14-20 days (or so).

Now instead of PMS I instruct young women on the trampoline.

Jamie Dawn said...

Well, my dear, we are on opposite ends of the menstrual spectrum. I started mine at age 9. Yes, I am serious. I can remember it vividly. Age 9 is too early for that!!!
Plus, also, in addition, I did not have easy, light periods. I flowed like the mighty Nile. TMI???
Well, you started it!
Now, things are a-okay. I have a fairly easy time, and periods never stop me from doing anything or going anywhere.
You said late starters mean early menopause.
Good Lord! I'll be menstruating 'til I'm 70!