At some point, I remember someone telling me that periods become easier as you get older. I’d like to hunt that person down and make them eat their words—topped with Tabasco sauce and denied any water—because, for me and many other women, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
With each passing year, I find myself becoming increasingly agitated and hostile right before and during my menstrual cycle. We’re not talking “boy, she’s having a bad day” grumpiness. No, no, no, we’re talking Maleficent levels of venom, whoppers of animosity, huge buttloads of opposition against all things fluffy and covered in glitter. Unicorn? Take its horn! Cute, flying butterfly? That’s nothing but a paltry closet moth. Nothing is sacred. Nothing is safe. And with age, it seems to only get worse.
My periods used to be predictable. I always knew when I would start, give or take a few days. I could plan ahead whether I should go to a nudist beach or defer and visit a wax museum while on vacation. It was obvious when I could safely wear white and when I had to dig out my Ozzy Osbourne ensemble. I had the upper hand on Mother Freaking Nature. Now? It’s like the lottery, except you never win.
Not only have my periods become irregular, but the intensity and length of each one differs as much as the respective vocabularies of Eminem and the Pope. I don’t know how long I’ll be the victim of Shark Week, and I never know if I should opt for a panty liner or skip right to the Depends. It’s ridiculous. I no longer have menstrual cramps. They’re more like menstrual quakes, eruptions that cause every single inch of my body to ache. Even my toenails tingle in agony. I swear I can feel my ovaries shaking with laughter. Those bitches.
And there’s not just physical pain, either. There’s also the little matter of bloating. When I was young, I’d bloat a little, but nothing out of the ordinary. It just looked like a swallowed a baseball. Fast-forward 20 years, and I’m a walking puffed pastry, a water hoarder. All I can fit into is men’s sweatpants and a slip-on sports bra. My stomach rivals that of a pregnant woman, which is pretty ironic, given the situation at hand.
The accompanying mood swings also resemble pregnancy symptoms, except everyone wishes they were still swinging. Now my moods would rather hover and attack. I can go from happy to “I’ll eat your face off” in less than 20 seconds. I don’t see the glass half full even when you fill it up all the way. The mood quakes are so intense, you should never try to crack a joke about this time of the month around me. Saying things like “surfing the crimson wave” or “red sails in the sunset” will unleash an ocean of Carrie-at-the-Prom on your ass. The clichés are no longer funny. They might have been years ago, but not anymore, especially if you’re male and you are saying them. I’m practically bleeding to death here. How about a little sympathy?
Speaking of sympathy, chocolate and ice cream are survival mechanisms—not mine but yours. So bring me a big tub of Ben & Jerry’s and a bag of Hershey’s Kisses, and the next two, maybe three, maybe four or maybe six days will be over before you know it!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to break out the heating pad and turn on The Notebook. This girl just became Mount St. Helens.