“I just fight with my partner,” I texted my friend.
“What happened?” She lent an empathetic ear. It’s the middle of the night, and she listened to my problem patiently. After a while, she asked me, “Are you on your period?”
“Umm, no,” I lied. Well, I was one week away from my period. I hesitated to tell her because I don’t want to invalidate my concern. But that doesn’t mean what I feel is invalid, right? I have this fight with my partner, he also got mad, does that mean he is also in a period? I thought a woman’s menstrual cycle should not be seen as a “culprit”, should not be to blame for whatever going on in her life.
Gladly, I and my partner made up the next day. Time does heals, emotion does change, and hormones do fluctuate. But her question still lingers in my mind.
We live in a period of “shaming” women. A woman’s period is to blame, to be shamed, or to be resisted. She’s on period, one might say. How often do you hear this joke? This joke was often degrading or condescending because that emphasizes that the woman’s period state itself is “wrong”.
Whose women want to shame themselves? I know I won’t. Luckily, we can shift this view into the more empathetic one. Rather than humiliate a woman because she’s on period, we can be empathetic for her. Shifting our perspective like this will change how we approach our period. Later I realized that my friend intends to be empathetic. She doesn’t mean to invalidate my feelings. She just wants to make sure where this feeling came from. If it’s affected by my period, then, that explains why I feel more like a bulldog. No need to worry. Over time, this feeling will change. And it did change.
We don’t need to blame our menstrual cycle as a culprit of our grumpiness or laziness. Because it is part of our natural cycle. Resisting it will only break us. If any, we can use it to our advantage.
Lately, I have read about the Dosha Cycle in Sahara Rose Ketabi’s book (Discover Your Dharma and The Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda). Besides elements, Doshas can explain our life cycle. While everyone has their balance of Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha, time has its balance, too.
“The rising and falling of the sun is connected to Kapha. Kapha is a grounding earth energy, and as the earth prepares for the day and settles down for night, you are in Kapha time. The peak of the day and peak of the night are related to Pitta. Pitta is a strong, sharp energy, and the heat of the day and darkness of the night are related to this powerful Dosha. The transition between night and day and between dusk and dawn is related to Vata. Vata is an ethereal, dreamlike Dosha, and your most active daydreams and nightdreams are both in the Vata times of day.” (Sahara Rose Ketabi – Ayurveda)
Everything has a cycle. Seasons of life, days and night. A woman’s menstrual cycle is no different. This got me thinking, we can see a woman’s menstrual cycle through this lens, too! (However, note that this realization is purely my opinion 🙂 I’m not an Ayurvedic expert, too.)
During one week after our last period, we enter the state of Vatta. Our body prepares for the ovulation stage. This is a transition between our Kapha, which is the time when we healed from the menstrual cycle to the Pitta stage. She just fully rested after a bloody cycle. What happens when we already recovered? We are ready to do something. This time sparks hope, insight, or creativity within us. It is a good time to formulate a new idea, plan, or brainstorm.
The next week, during our ovulation period, is the state of Pita. We are fiery, energized, and ready to unleash our potential. This is the best time to try new ideas we have put before, socializing more, or being active in general. We are more emotionally stable now. The peak of woman’s productivity can be found in this stage. This can last to two weeks, although, you know your best on recognizing the ovulation period!
After that, we enter the menstrual period. It’s the state of Kapha. The energy that used in the Pitta stage is already consumed. It is the time to rest, to reflect, or to pat yourself on the back. We might be getting emotional easily, feeling a strong urge to do nothing. At this time, no need to resist it or blame ourselves if we become couch potatoes. It’s a natural part of being a woman. When the Kapha state coming, the best way to do this is to rest and let the period blood flows freely.
Looking through this lens, we can view the menstrual cycle in a new way. The period is not looked so scary, now! If you are able, you can match your schedule with your period. Although, I understand that not every woman is lucky enough to have some freedom in her time. If that’s the case, no need to force yourself to fit your schedule either. We can learn to accept our condition, be less judgemental about the period, and be more empathetic for ourselves. The slightest tweak on our perspective can impact our lives profoundly. After all, you will face your peak time again!
If you want a scientific explanation of the menstrual cycle, you can also look at this graph. The peak, as stated in the graph is during our evolution state.
Credit: Yoko Miyagawa/BBC
A woman’s period is not something we should be resistant to. It’s a beautiful part of the natural cycle. There is nothing wrong with it! It’s something to be grateful for, at least, it’s a sign that we are functioning normally! We can be mindful of it, and embrace its arrival with open arms. Stop, pause, and listen to your bodily needs. We always have a choice on what to do with our bodies. We can choose to be empathetic or be judgemental. You know what is best!