The Woman, the Blood, and the Phoenix

I so hate being a woman sometimes.

I am a feminist by all means. I advocate the rights of women every day, on every level, and everywhere I can.

But, there is a but(t). Our butt, or at least something close to our butt. Every woman in her life experiences the cyclical nature of her body. Naturally, regardless of sex, everyone has the experience of biology as running in cycles. However, what we, women have is something different.

I personally have never been that feminine in the traditional sense. I so hate being a woman sometimes: when it is that time of the month.

When it is not enough that you are being eaten alive by pain, you look like shit and you feel like shit, but you need to go ahead and act like everything is normal.

If you have a job, go to work those days and get the job done as normal. If you have a family, you are expected to care for them as usual. If you have a partner, you ought to be nice, caring and loveable.

Menstruation for some is painless or slightly painful. Some may get away with spots on their faces or just eat more chocolate than they usually do. Nevertheless, there are others, like me, who, to exaggerate a bit, almost die monthly. We need to deal with the cravings, pains in the stomach, pains in the back, nausea and all the fluids that would like to emerge from our bodies, any way they can.

Still, we are the "weak ones." We are the “weaker sex."

I've heard a saying: “I don’t trust someone who is bleeding for at least 5 days and doesn't die of it." Thanks very much, jackass.

We have to endure this every month, at least for 35 years, which for some is half their lives. You spend half your life bleeding monthly like an open wound. Open to pains, infections, jokes. We do this because we have to.

We can be grateful for our menses. It signals mostly that we are not pregnant. It also helps protect us from severe health problems, like different types of cancer, stroke, osteoporosis and so on. It also has a metaphysical significance to me after all.

This is what makes us stronger and the kind of humans we are. We have a better understanding of pain because we get monthly doses of it through which we kind of get used to it. This enables us to do great things, to be ambitious, to go through everything we have to in order to accomplish our goals, whatever they may be. We are not paralysed by the sight of blood (that much) because we see it cyclically, from time to time. As that joke goes, we bleed for a week but we do not die of it. Of course we do NOT. We can NOT.

As Victorian writer, Mary Elizabeth Braddon (who by the way had a tremendously scandalous life) noted,

“[t]o call them the weaker sex is to utter a hideous mockery. They are the stronger sex, the noisier, the more persevering, the most self-assertive sex. They want freedom of opinion, variety of occupation, do they? Let them have it. Let them be lawyers, doctors, preachers, teachers, soldiers, legislators — anything they like” (Lady Audley’s Secret).

In light of all this, I love being a woman. In some respects, it is a lot more difficult for us to live than it is for men but it is a great thought to view a bodily necessity as a force that does not bring us down but lifts us up. At least, in psychic terms, if not in corporeality.

A woman is a Phoenix who rises from her blood every month, again and again to fly.

#opinion #menstruation #EvaSzabo