It all started with Aunt Flo. I was baffled. How can that red spot be an aunt?
The message that was sent to me using this name instead of the real one – menstruation, was that something too shameful was happening to me. I vividly remember thinking that my body was doing something against my will, that it was something to be hidden, to be covered with another name because the truth is not to be said aloud. How sorry I am for that girl from today’s perspective! And for all the girls sinking into shame while sitting on the bench during the gym class instead of running freely. Because they are perfectly healthy and menses is as natural as drinking water.
Even sadder, that stigma regarding the menstrual cycle and the symptoms of PMS still exists nowadays. Something so natural becomes an unbearable burden for most of us. Childhood frustration continues in life, and the feeling that something is wrong with us remains and takes another form. In the whole picture, there is one tiny element, pretty much neglected and in some way invisible in the entire picture – invalidating women’s feelings during their period.
In a conversation with colleagues, we all agreed that we ‘electrify’ when somebody, usually from those who don’t have periods, even jokingly, would mention that we were emotionally overcharged. Those emotions were dismissed because of PMS, or we were considered “hormonal,” as if “hormonal” was a euphemism for “a little bit of crazy.”
One of us faced the situation one step further when the husband told her that it would be best not to see each other during that time of the month. “Maybe you should go to your mother’s,” or “It’s better if we stay out of each other’s path,” he advised her. We concluded that women are considered hard to manage, better left alone, and so on.
Another sad thing is that this treatment has a powerful impact on our self-worth and leads to constant self-evaluation.
That’s why it was not surprising at all when I was confronted with a statement from one of my colleagues that her gender fellows, due to PMS, were unable to perform certain tasks or were unsuitable for certain positions, for example, the leading ones. That is not true.
Being sensitive cannot be treated as a flaw, and it can be a valuable characteristic to every leader. Being sensitive does not mean that we wouldn’t have had those thoughts, opinions, or emotions; they are just emphasized and more expressed. Finally, the truth is that PMS actually makes us more sensitive to the things that usually do bother us, so invalidating those feelings just results in anger. Honestly, this realization shook me a little at first, but I started to attach profound importance to it after a while. That is, I analyzed my behavior during this period of the month and followed my ‘dramatic’ outbursts. And then I realized that these are the same things that during the month also upset me, irritate me, and cause me discomfort. I just manage to suppress them. In fact, during the famous period, I am a more authentic version of myself. I openly say things that I would otherwise be silent about.
By the way, I will never dare to underestimate women’s potential! Especially during TTOTM (that time of the month)!
Goodbye, Aunt Flo; I have got my period!