Periods (Period).

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This and more menstrual accessories here.
‘Nice girls’ aren’t supposed to talk about periods.

It’s uncouth I suppose to discuss something so nasty. We’re cool to talk about sex to our heart’s content though and I’m starting to get a little tired of menstruation discrimination.

I’ve noticed a rise on my social media timelines of people I follow (and admire) being more candid about their bodies and bodily functions, and I’m here for that. So, this is my ode to periods.

Note: I do respect anybody’s decision not to read on. I’m not going to be unnecessarily graphic (maybe a bit) though I do love hilarious nicknames for menstruation.

To periods! Or, as my mother referred to it throughout my adolescence, ‘The Curse’. My preferred term is ‘Shark Week’ though sometimes I go with ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ (for particularly bad ones) or ‘Surfing the Crimson Wave’ (which is delightfully VISUAL).

Other great euphemisms for Aunt Flow:

  • Riding the cotton pony
  • On the blob/rag
  • Getting your red wings
  • In the red tent
  • Crime scene in my pants

I haven’t really thought this post through by the way, I’m just planning to go with the (heavy) flow (lol) and see where we end up. I have a couple of amusing period anecdotes that deserve to see the light of day. First of all though, I thought I’d share my personal period history.

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Illustration by Layla May Ehsan
I grew up with Judy Blume, in particular Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? in which the central characters were obsessed with finally getting their periods, so much so that one of them fakes it so she doesn’t feel left out.

I identified with these feelings of inadequacy all too much, spending so much of my adolescence fretting about my period, then boobs, then kissing, then virginity or my inability to even give it away. Silly, innit but comparison is the thief of joy and all we did back then was hold ourselves up against our friends and what they were doing.

I wasn’t even that late in finally ‘becoming a woman’. I was about 12/13 and on the day I discovered that first red spot, I also cracked my head open against a door. That’s right, in typical clumsy girl fashion I ended the day bleeding from both ends. It was cool though, Mum got us fish & chips for supper and all was good with the world again.

Periods ever since then have been more of a blessing than a curse as they marked another month of avoided pregnancy. That makes me sound far more sexually active than I was but I’m talking after the age of 18, when I got a bit of action. Now I’m heavily implanted and have the most sporadic periods, like three months off, three months continual, like clockwork or every fortnight. There’s no way to tell how it’ll go and it’s (bloody) annoying.

But that’s the way the tampon swings, eh?

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Illustration by Layla May Ehsan
By the way, don’t you just love how disgusted men still are by period talk? How, if you buy a packet of female products at the Co-op they get all shifty, no matter their age? Or how, all too often you get told to shut up if you dare mention you’ve got the painters in?

Dudes – literally every female in your life does or has bled on a regular basis since they came of age and you still find it gross? Try starting your period unexpectedly in a floaty dress with minimal knicker coverage and then we’ll talk. We bleed, it’s never pleasant but there’s little we can do I’m afraid. And the more you insist we should keep this kind of talk to ourselves, the more I think we should chat openly about it. Squirm, motherfuckers!

This isn’t about men though, it’s about celebrating the monthly visitor that annoys the fuck out of us most of the time but has definite plus points, such as period days (blankets, food, Netflix), chocolate as medicine, hot baths and being at one with your sisters. When your cycle syncs with your work mates it is the best, the tea and sympathy flow – and the men stay the fuck away.

Back to those anecdotes. When my best friend L and I were at college, and more interested in bad boys and wine than studying, we hung out with a group of ne’er-do-wells who later ended up in prison (another story). One day we were at their flat and they’d gone out.

L and I were doing our thing, drinking, dancing and snooping – and somehow a used sanitary towel ended up left on the mantelpiece by accident (it happens). L realised several hours later when she was back home and decided to call her man and tell him to throw it away without looking at it (it was wrapped in tissue paper, we weren’t heathens).

He obviously unwrapped it and went ballistic. It’s still one of the funniest stories ever, mainly because he was a big burly thug who couldn’t deal with a tiny amount of female blood.

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Illustration by Layla May Ehsan
I also heard the best ever period story through a friend of a friend who happened to be Russian (so the story told in her accent made it even better). She was at a house party slow-dancing with a man to Chris De Burgh‘s Lady in Red (you can’t make this up).

As they shimmied romantically, she felt her sanitary pad slip out (this may have been before the invention of ‘wings’). As it headed down her leg towards her ankle she was somehow able to perform a precision high kick, which sent the pad flying underneath a nearby wardrobe. The guy didn’t notice, nor did anybody else and I challenge any one of you to tell me a better story involving the same song.

So there ends period talk 101 with me, your host, A Voluptuous Mind. For the record, I am currently on the blob hence some of my aggression and I have felt almost too weak to do a lots of stuff this weekend and week so far. But it’s nothing a jumbo pack of Peanut M&Ms and a good book won’t cure.

No clue how to sign this off so I will just say: How do you period, girls? ❤

 

Music to Cry To

tumblr_nfmwr7rCvT1tf75mqo1_500It became apparent during a conversation over the water cooler (kettle) a few weeks back that my colleague Tom has never been moved to tears by a song. I wonder if it’s because men don’t seem to listen to ‘the lyrics’ (or so I gather from the few I’ve actually spoken to about it)?

Whatever it is, I was surprised (and perhaps a little disbelieving, I mean COME ON), and while it would be far easier and quicker for me to compose a post about the song(s) that haven’t made me cry, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some that have, and do, make me weep like a wee bairn on the regs.

Somehow the below tunes have also managed to heal me.

It’s a little like the bit where Emma Thompson is questioned by Alan Rickman (Always) as to why she loves Joni Mitchel so much in Love Actually (2003): “Because she taught your cold English wife how to feel”.

That’s exactly it – crying at sad stuff makes you feel and feeling stuff is GREAT – I thoroughly recommend it.

Have a selection of my most emotional songs:

I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You – Colin Hay

UGH. Put me out of my misery right now. I dare you to listen to lyrics such as “Don’t want you thinking I’m unhappy, What is closer to the truth, If I lived till I was a hundred and two, I just don’t think I’ll ever get over you”. GULP.

The loneliness and sorrow comes through in every word and yet it’s ridiculously beautiful and hopeful, like somehow just loving this person was enough. Makes you want every love you feel to be as deep.

Apparently it appeared on the Garden State (2004) soundtrack but don’t let that put you off!*

Iris – Goo Goo Dolls

Jill actually reminded me of this song recently (Monday) when we reviewed the heart-shattering Iris (2001). It appeared on the motion picture soundtrack for City of Angels (1998), a film that has also destroyed me in the past (Look, I’m a huge Nicolas Cage fan and I don’t care what anyone says about it).

It was also a song I listened to a whole lot while backpacking around Australia, falling in lust with my Aussie boyfriend (now a racist) and getting my first Official Heartbreak™ because he couldn’t keep his lovely dick in his pants. I cried a lot that year and quite a bit through the end of the nineties but this song helped me along nicely.

Jolene – Dolly Parton 

This song is the worst! I mean it’s a begging letter from a woman who knows her lover is in love with someone else FFS. And she’s sweetly asking this total sex bomb not to phunk with her heart, or his. BLUBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB.

Also, Dolly P is the Queen of all things, right?

At Last – Etta James

At a wedding last Summer this song played and I cried, for no good reason. The sentiment, the unfairness of loss, my feet hurting in heels – all that. What a voice and what a fucking tune.

Hometown Glory – Adele

Obviously Adele was going to make this list, it’s the way of things. This is my favourite of all her songs because it makes me think about wandering the streets alone, thinking about life.

I love the lyrics, “Is there anything I can do for you dear? Is there anyone I could call?” “No and thank you, please Madam. I ain’t lost, just wandering.” and I love the piano intro too.

Day Too Soon – Sia

Honestly, I could have chosen any one of Sia’s songs and my statement would be true, especially Breathe Me and Elastic Heart but I chose Day Too Soon because it’s happy and hopeful – and I love Sia. Is she an angel sent to Earth just to make my heart beat faster? Well, that’s how she makes me feel.

Don’t get me started on the two songs she did with Eminem about Survival (Beautiful Pain & Guts Over Fear), and the recent Alive). Killers.

~

I could go on and on but I’ll leave it at these 6 heart breakers.

What are your favourite songs to cry uglily to? (Has to be ugly crying or it doesn’t count).

*Semi-kidding.

What’s In a Name?

Dolores is as Dolores does
Dolores is as Dolores does

I’ve found myself with an impromptu afternoon off thanks to the kindness of work, who released us back into the wild at 2pm today.

I can’t lie, I was moving stacks of unimportant paper from one side of my desk to the other in a bid to look busy and hadn’t the strength to complete a whole day of faux-productivity.

So, here I am in front of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, back in pajamas with some unexpected time on my hands. I did pick up Lena for a wee while but she wasn’t quite doing it for me.

So blogging it is. It’s a few days before the new year rings in and I’m feeling okay about that. Naturally, this late in proceedings it is typical to be reflective.

Usually to have a ponderous scratch of the head and review what you didn’t manage to achieve despite all good intention; more likely to set up the next in-depth list of goals for the fresh snowy carpet of the new year ahead.

I will probably do that before the witching hour comes on the 31st but not yet. I must have a good think about what I really want to put myself through first.

Instead, I will tell you about the Christmas present I bought myself. The calm before the storm seems a good time to mention it.

I bought myself a name. And with this new name, comes great responsibility.

When I was born, my mother didn’t name me for three weeks. She rolls this anecdote out on the reg and I can’t decide if I think it’s a bit upsetting, or that it’s the coolest thing ever. I am leaning toward the latter. She maintains that they were waiting for my personality to manifest itself before they labelled me forever with a moniker that didn’t fit.

I almost had a name that puts me in mind of a Russian spy, and again I can’t be sure how I feel about that. Perhaps by not having the name Natasha, my career with MI5 was snipped even before it began.

It took me a long time to come to terms with my name. It’s just unusual enough to be messed up all the time by anyone using it. I am constantly referred to as ‘Christine’, ‘Chrissy’, ‘Christina’ – even ‘Christopher’. It seems now that I have spent most of my life ‘coming to terms’ with my name, my hair, my body.

Continue reading “What’s In a Name?”

Second Hand Stories

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What’s the best story someone else has recently told you (in person, preferably)? Share it with us, and feel free to embellish — that’s how good stories become great, after all. Via The Daily Post Daily Prompt (2nd November 2014)

I stumbled across this prompt a couple of weeks ago and loved it. I have so far not been able to find the motivation to write it though. Perhaps today is the day.

My best friend, Panda and I laugh about my favourite story a lot and I don’t know why it tickles us so much. Yes, it’s about Tom Hanks, who we love more than we love our own families (not really, we love him like family) but it’s also quite dark and very sad.

NB: I should state here that I didn’t hear this in person recently, it was several years ago and found by accident online. I can’t for the life of me remember where or who or why I ended up with this information but the important thing is that I did.

Wanna hear it?

My story goes like this. Tom Hanks was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack back in 2001. He was, for some reason, in one of the towers when it came down.

Once discovered by the ‘Powers That Be’ who run Hollywood, but miraculously nobody else in the world, a meeting was held (I’m embellishing now) in a plush office at an undisclosed location somewhere in California. Earl Grey and pink donuts were served.

The PTB were so concerned that the movie industry would never recover from such a tragic and gargantuan loss that they decided that nobody else could ever know (bar the Hanks family, one presumes).

Instead, they would create a hologram of The King of Hollywood, who would continue to make movies, television appearances, produce in name as normal and even appear on the red carpet; as if nothing had happened.

Unfortunately, it was leaked and recorded on the web, thus taking its place as my very favourite conspiracy theory of all time. Even better than the one about Whitney Houston being sacrificed so Blue Ivy could exist (a soul for a soul, bitches). God, I have issues.

The thing is, I look now and I can’t find the original source. I mention it to people and they’ve never heard it. So did I imagine my own conspiracy theory? And if I did, what on earth does that say about me?

Or… am I the only other person in the world to have accidentally read this story in the few seconds it took for the ninjas to crash through the roof of the culprit’s condo and rip it out of existence forever?

Personally, I think the fact that this story has been removed from The Internet is suspicious in itself. Therefore, clearly true.

I love Tom more than anything, so of course I would prefer my Hanks alive and kicking, however did you ever hear such a fantastic tale? I never have since.

And, lest you think my internet digging was fruitless, I have to say here that if you type into Google ‘Tom Hanks Conspiracy Theory’, you will find some absolute gems.

The theory that Tom Hanks has never existed because ALIENS is sheer perfection.

Thoughts?