(not my photo)
This post might be a little too personal for some people. Some might even say “Wtf, why did you feel the need to talk about that with everyone?!” Alas, if you feel this is too much information, please stop reading now.
For years now, I’ve been able to predict when my period is coming just by the slight cramping pains I begin to have in the days leading up to Period Day. These cramps are in no way painful, nor are they unbearable. They are just little warnings letting me know that “Hey, you’re about to start bleeding profusely in like two/three days. Get ready!” I carry around a water bottle, my extra strength pain killers, and stick a bunch of pads in my purse. (Yes, pads, because the idea of sticking something up my vagina that isn’t a penis freaks me out!).
When I first got my period when I was 11- yes, that early- I never received any pains. Those were the days where I would constantly be worried about staining my pants or skirts when the surprise visits came. There would be a random, gushing feeling down in the nether regions and Oops! I was terrible at keeping track of my periods. Then one night when I was around fourteen, after I was starting to get a real grip on mastering my period, I awoke from an incredibly deep sleep with terrible, aching pains in uterus. It felt as if there was burning iron inside of me, branding the inside of my walls with it’s everlasting territorial mark. That night, my period owned me. My aunt, who used to live with us at the time, knew that these were period cramps and not something I needed to be rushed to the emergency room for like my mom kept suggesting. No one in my family gets period cramps except for my aunt, and now me.
From then on, those burning cramps continued. Every month, on the very first day of my period, they would hit me like a boulder. Sometimes they’d be gentle, other times they’d come crashing right through me. I would huddle over, curl into a ball, lift my legs in the air and rest them against the wall. Those ads where the girl is constantly touching bending over and groaning, that was me. I swore that I was dying every month. My cramps only last that one day. But they are so painful that I used to miss school because I just couldn’t stand up. I missed work because I would constantly be hindered to having a hot water bottle rolling over my exposed skin. I stopped crying after a couple of years of dealing with it. I refuse to take birth control because I can’t even remember to take my multi-vitamins in the mornings. But I’ve found that extra-strength Tylenol works well enough.
I’m writing this today because, as you may have already guessed, it is the first day of my period. I’ve grown into a routine where the moment I begin to feel the pre-cramp warning signs, I grab everything that is necessary. Then, at the first sign of a real period rush, I wait about an hour, allow my body to fully release, and take a pain killer. By the time it kicks in is when my body begins to realize that it’s Period Day and all I feel is slight discomfort. Except today was a bit of a surprise. I didn’t time my cramps and my pain killers correctly and just as it was beginning to ware off, the cramps hit.
I’ve always enjoyed reading other women’s experiences with their period cramps and how they describe it. One that I’ve seen that a lot of women relate to is the one where the uterus is preparing for a baby. The uterus decorates the room like a nursery. She sets up the crib, puts up wall paper, puts in the rocking chair, the toys, the blankets, the pictures, etc. After all this preparation, the uterus finally realizes that there isn’t going to be a baby. She gets furious and begins to tear the room apart, throwing furniture, ripping wall paper, and basically causing an angry tornado inside.
After feeling my cramps again after a long time of ignoring them, I’ve realized that my cramps consist of an actual little, monster camping out inside my uterus until it’s time for Period Day. In those days leading up to it, the monster opens up a ladder and slowly climbs to the very top, tapping on the walls of my uterus to test the thickness and stability of my insides. When he reaches the very last step, he find the perfect spot that he deems tender enough. He stretches our his arms, one hand touching either side of my walls, and digs his long, sharp nails inside. At first, he’ll stay still, tugging every now and then, testing me. When he’s finally had enough, the monster jumps off the top of the ladder, and allows gravity to pull him down, nails still in place. The further down he goes, the harder the walls get, so he has to put extra weight on himself to get his nails to slice through the tough parts. Then once at the bottom, he goes back up the ladder and does it again at rapid speed so it feels like he’s all over the place at once. NAILS. NEVER. RETRACTING.
I’m convinced my body doesn’t care if I can grant it a baby or not and that the pains are just for pure pleasure. I had to take a second pain killer and my grandmother mixed a coupe of different teas that help ease the pains, which helped tremendously. In no way do I think that I have the “worst” period cramps out there. I’m sure there are women who have it worse. After keeping them at bay for a couple of years, I found it kind of bittersweet to feel that pain again.