Hi. Hello. My name is Serita and I am a cis woman. I say that simply to state that I can only speak from my specific perspective. I cannot speak for all of woman kind and her beautiful permutations. However, I can speak to my experience. My experience is one of the only things that is uniquely my own. And even still, it’s not actually that unique.
I’ve been bleeding, mostly regularly, since I was 13. I got my first period the summer before my freshman year of high school. As much as my mom, TV, awkward sex ed days in school, had prepared me for this, I was completely unprepared. I sobbed and told my mom I thought I was dying. She held back laughter and informed me that I had officially become a woman, and took me to the store to buy tampons.
From that point on, I have been a woman. I’ve had the physical appearance, the bodily functions and the longing gazes that came with that. From that point on, there were things I could not control. Couldn’t change my monthly flow. Couldn’t stop getting older. Couldn’t shield myself from the gazes of the world. From that point on, I was uniquely not unique.
I’ll spare you the boring science, but, I can’t take regular birth control. For years I took the “mini pill”, which is progesterone only and caused me to not have a period. During that time I also decided to “take control” of my body. I rationed. I went to the gym. I didn’t eat. I ran miles. I stopped taking up space. I was unique.
I also fainted. I also didn’t bleed. I also hurt in a way that I will never fully be able to articulate. I was still not in control. I was still at the mercy of some force that wasn’t actually me. I was unique in a way that I could never share out of fear and shame.
LONG, and miserable, story short, I got help. I reconnected with my body and learned to spend time with it. I also decided to go off hormones. While pregnancy prevention was important to me, I still wanted to reconnect with a core part of myself. I got a non-hormonal IUD, and focused on rediscovering what it was like to accept the things out of my control and role with the punches, uterine and all.
Longer story short, my body revolted. My period was, is, hurting my body. As of writing this, I have to get my IUD removed and go back on the pill or get a hormonal IUD. The same pill that stopped my period. The same pill that gave me an excuse for not bleeding. The same pill that took control over an intuitive part of my body. In order to support this mostly healthy body that I have fought so hard to get back, I have to give up control again. And that’s really fucking scary.
So what do I do? My knee jerk response is to starve take back control. But, if I give myself a minute to breathe, I’m flooded with the memories of the hell that was. So fine, scratch that. If I give myself another minute to breathe, I’m overwhelmed with my options. Don’t be healthy and connect. Be healthy and disconnect. Feel in control. Feel out of control. So fine, feel paralyzed, then scratch that.
Now what? The whole point of recovery is to learn how to support my body and soul in a healthy way. I’m trying, I really am, but at times supporting my physical well being feels as if it is in direct conflict with supporting my spiritual well being. But, if I give myself another minute to breathe, I can suspend myself for just a moment and feel. And if I keep breathing, and keep hitting pause, and keep feeling, eventually, hopefully, I’ll feel what is right and special and unique to me, and find a way to reconnect the two.