Working With My Cycle

Kind of like hitting for the cycle in baseball, but with my body. 

Okay, so it is nothing like that, but I wanted to mention baseball, so here we are. 

But also, why am I talking about gross body things two days in a row?

Well, because I have a body and the things it does are not gross. They are human!

And I have to keep reminding myself of that. If I want other people to stop thinking bodies aren’t gross, I have to start with myself. 

While I was joking above when I said “gross” – you had no way of knowing this. 

Past Jacki would take passing jokes like that very seriously sometimes and it would make her brain do very mean things to her. 

So maybe before making that self-deprecating joke about that thing on your body you don’t like, give it a pause and try to think of something positive to say. Or just keep it to yourself.

Because here’s a thing to think about – what are you trying to accomplish by knocking yourself down a peg? 

Are you trying to “make the joke” before someone else does?

Well, then maybe it’s time to take a think about the people you’re surrounding yourself with. 

Like when I smelled my own stink the other day, I kept reminding myself, “Yay, I most likely do not have Covid!” when I wanted to think, “yuck I smell so gross.”

And then later that night, Mickey took me to a Mexican Restaurant because when I am having bad period times all my body wants is melty cheese. 

When we arrived at the selected resto, we sat at the bar, because that is the fun place to sit whether we’re drinking or not. 

And the AC wasn’t working. And my body remembered what that was like in Florida and immediately when into panic mode. I had on a skirt that left some of my thigh exposed and the seats were that fake leathery stuff that makes massive sweat puddles. 

And my body was pre-embarassed for the aftermath. And any potential stinkiness that might ensue.

I told Mickey that my brain was making me panic a bit. At first, I couldn’t even say that part, I instead asked, “Do you think we should take this to go?”

And then we talked through my brain/body panic and the potential aftermath and, together, decided to stay. I felt much better once I had my first few sips of ice-cold glass bottle Coke, and almost back to normal by the first bite of “Flaming Cheese”. 

(we have had a similar dish at two different Mexican restaurants here and it is the tastiest thing ever. it is deserving of a post all its own.)

In the past I would have sat there miserable, making dumb jokes about sliding on the seat and smelling bad – even if I didn’t!

Brains are strange.

So, part of the benefit of my particular brand of neurodivergency is excellent pattern recognition. My brain LOVES patterns

From noticing small preferences like drink choice or which actor you like to noticing patterns in social media, and in a bigger sense, life itself. 

I don’t need to go into a big explanation on pattern recognition, cause we all get it, right?

Well, recently I started taking a look at my monthly cycle in relation to my work productivity. And it’s something I’m gonna be keeping a much closer eye on, cause I 100% think I could be working with my body when I’m “working” too. 

Let me explain:

Over the last year or so, I’ve noticed I am at my most productive and creative at the middle to tail end, and the week or so following, my period. I’ve noticed this even moreso since starting this blog. 

My favorite blogs that I write -the ones I feel most passionate about- seem to spill out of me when I’m on my period. 

At this time in my cycle, I have so much faith in skills and confidence in what I am doing. This is, honestly, what I wish my brain could be like all the time. I enjoy what I’m doing, and I think I do my best work during this part of my cycle. 

Then, there are a few days or so leading up to ovulation, where the creativity drops away completely. 

But give me a mechanical, repetitive task? My brain eats that up. 

Right up until the day I ovulate when I am not good at doing anything. I’m barely good at existing that day. It’s the day of my cycle I’m most likely to retreat into a little ball and not want to interact with anyone. So any work that I force myself to do on that day? Not my best. 

But the next week, I’m good at being productive. It’s not my best, most creative work, but I can do menial tasks and follow ups in communication and maybe even ordering or organizing things. 

This goes right up until a couple days before my period where, while I can work, my brain tries to convince me that every single thing I work on is terrible. And tells me to redo it and redo it and redo it. 

So I do. 

But now that I’ve recognized my work strengths in regards to my cycle, I think I might not… and just see what happens.

Even more than that, I’m gonna start working with this pattern more over the next few months. Stack all the creative stuff when I know I’m best at it (when deadlines allow). Do the menial stuff when my brain wants to do that. 

And see how it goes? 

I know these ups and downs are exacerbated by my wildly fluctuating perimenopausal hormones. 

And my brain also tells me that laying it all out like this feels like an excuse for the days I’m not doing great in my brain. 

Like all those jokes, “Oh, she’s just being a bitch because she’s on the rag.”

But it’s not an excuse, it’s an explanation. To quote my girl Rebecca Bunch, “It’s a lot more nuanced than that.”

And that is kind of what pisses me off in the media in the 80s and 90s (those are the ones blazed into my memory, I’m sure these jokes have happened before and after those times.)

Like, it was such a broad generalization. Why did these male writers latch onto it so hard? I understand that acting like it was an excuse gave them an out (in their own brains) for not being more helpful or, you know, giving their partner’s a little grace. 

“Oh, she’s just PMSing. Happens every month. She can deal with it.”

The way PMS and our periods are portrayed in mainstream TV and in Movies feels like they were things we were doing to make other people miserable. Not like it was something not fun that was happening to us.

And don’t even get me started on the menopause jokes.

Ugh. 

 

And that word “just” pops up again. I question it every time I write it or say it or think it. I am trying to eliminate any use where it feels dismissive. It’s still very hard, because it has been ingrained in me for so long to discount my own needs, “Oh, it’s just me, I’ll be fine.” repeat ad naseum. 

ONE MORE THING!

In fact, in the Mexican Restaurant story I told you about, there was a moment in my very high stress section before the meal where Mickey asked me (in a gentler way than I am wording it now, I just can’t remember his exact wording), “Is this something you’re worried about personally or something someone else gave you a hard time about before?”

Normally, I would have just answered the first one, because the second answer immediately seems embarrassing and something I should feel ashamed of. 

But I didn’t. I stopped and took inventory over what was happening in my body and really thought about it. 

And the truth is even more embarrassing – I honestly didn’t know. 

I mean, that really hit home how long and how hard I’d not given my own needs a damn consideration. And the worst part is, that’s what I showed/taught to D, too. Because I thought that’s how I had to be to survive in the world. 

She was one of the ones that helped me realize otherwise. 

So, I ask again, is anything really “just” that easy? 

Comments

No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *