My menstrual cycle is fairly regular. Through most of my teens I was on birth control which although fed my depression, made it easy to know when I would be bleeding. Going off it was a bit of a rollercoaster for the following year, but I still more or less knew when it would start. Now, without fail, every 28 days I get my period.
Well, without fail except that last month it started on a Thursday instead of a Sunday. But that happens, and now it seems that Thursdays are the day. Which is fine. It’s still predictable.
I’ve learned to read the signs of my body – swollen breasts, hormonal mood swings, changes in appetite and cravings, differed ability to concentrate. There are 100 little things that, if listening, my body tells me what is up.
This doesn’t stop me from being anxious about being pregnant though. I’ve been in a relationship for a year now and if I’m being truthful we almost exclusively have unprotected sex. Except for those 2 months in the summer I went on birth control to save myself some of this stress (which didn’t work because I then relapsed into my familiar teenage depression and just as quickly went off the medication).
Let’s skip the part of you telling me how deeply irresponsible it is for me to be having unprotected sex and the dangers and responsibilities and all that jazz. I know. I have the same concerns. But I also have this god complex about living in Canada and knowing that if it came down to it, I could exercise my rights as a believer in pro-choice.
Many of you may be asking why I don’t go on a different form of birth control, or use condoms, or any of the other plethora of options that are graciously set at my feet. It’s simple – I don’t want to pump my body full of chemicals and hormones. Trading away the small anxiety and chance of pregnancy for the inevitable, inescapable depression and worry that putting that into my body causes isn’t worth it. There is virtually no option available to me that does not involve a massacre on my emotional well-being or ruin the pleasure of sex.
Let’s skip the lecture again. I know that this is a privileged way of thinking and acting. And your right, I am privileged.
So when going through my usual worries of pregnancy – even though my body was telling me in so many ways that I wasn’t – it was a relief this morning when I got my period. And that’s when the crying began.
If my math is correct, I have had about 84 periods so far in my life give or take. It doesn’t upset me anymore, it’s something that I and many other people live with. But it shook me just how lucky I was. Not to be bleeding, but to know that if it didn’t come – that if I was pregnant, I have options.
Because I live in Canada. Because I’m white. Because I identify as a woman. Because of so many different reasons that I can’t even begin to get into.
Millions of women across the globe marched for their rights as human beings. And in America, my neighbouring country, some cheeto-skinned lunatic in office wearing a bad hair-hat with such a small vocabulary he probably didn’t even understand what he was signing decided that he had the right to determine the outcome and safety of what I take for granted for every. Single. Fucking. Person.
In an entire country.
And that entire country hit me full force at 5:30 AM as I sat bleeding into my toilet. Something that happens to be another privilege I don’t often think about.
Even though this sentiment doesn’t mean much, and even though I empathized before for all that was happening, this was the first time it struck me in such a way.
My mother is American. She has Canadian residency but not a citizenship, so what does that mean for her rights and access to healthcare? The rest of my American family is isolated. I could have been. I know many, many people who are. And it scares me that I don’t know what to do about it. I preach often that action speaks louder than intention but how many actions does it take to be heard? I have signed petitions, said my pieces, and cried enough tears that with the accumulation of everyone else’s, Trump should have been drowned out by now.
But that is not what is happening in our world. So even though this does not amount to anything, this morning I cried and bled for America.
Written by Forest Greenwell
Image by Cassandrea Xavier and edited by Forest Greenwell
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