Though the spark of life is promised between my hips,
It is only it is only death and destruction
Which greet me without fail each Month:
Stars exploding and then dying-
Black holes being etched into my womb-
Earthly bones and moans quaking the tombs of the Dead-
Phoenixes bursting through aching beaten flesh-
Whoever said that transformation was gentle,
That metamorphosis was painless,
Was a liar.
I was three months short of my thirteenth birthday when my first moon blood arrived. It came like a flash flood–without warning—and I was shocked and terrified of the mudslide like after math. I was alone in the bathroom at the theater I volunteered at. There was no one around to ask what had happened. This first moon brought on the impending loneliness that would follow my moon cycle in later years.
My mother had been preparing me for this moment for four years. She was convinced I would start my period at a drastically young age due to my early physical development and the fact that her and her mother both started their periods at the nubile age of eleven. My mother prepared teachers at my school to support me and have menstrual supplies on hand if I were to start my period while I was at school. But age ten came around…no blood. Age eleven…no blood. Age twelve…still no blood. I was convinced something was wrong. I saw an episode of E.R. (or one of those hit hospital shows of the 90’s) where a young girl wearing a ballet outfit was in a severe car crashed and her seat belt had cut into her abdomen. She had to have a scan to see the damage and what they discovered was that this young girl had no ovaries, and was actually born intersexed. I was convinced this fictional tale was the story of my life.
Months before the blood first hit, I discovered blood in my urine while babysitting. I thought that this was the big moment…I was becoming a woman, and I joyfully welcomed the change. But as it turns out, the blood was from a severe bladder infection. False alarm.
But no amount of fear based preparation my mother tried to instill my pre-adolescent existence with could prepare me for the moment when my reproductive organs opened to the light of the moon and poured forth a brown substance that made me question if I had shit my pants. But I felt no joy this time. Only fear and shame.
My mother tried her hardest to give me a “Red Party” to celebrate my becoming a woman. I did not want to celebrate this bizarre physical occurrence anymore. All I felt was shame and I refused to allow my mother to mortify me that way. I didn’t want anyone to know, especially my father or any males, about something that felt so shameful and secretive. However, I have no recollection of my vehement refusal. It was not until a few years ago when working on a Motherline project for gradschool that I asked my mother why she didn’t have a rite of passage celebration for me…and she informed me that that was not the case. That I was too afraid and ashamed to have such a gathering. How I wish she would have forced me to welcome this change.
As years went by, my period was neither a hindrance nor a blessing. I was fairly neutral about the red stream that came forth every month or so from between my legs. I did seem to bleed on every holiday…which always struck me as quite bizarre and comical.
I spent my adolescent years secretly hating my body and every ounce of myself. A combination of chemical and hormonal imbalances, being surrounded by peers that were from another planet, carrying the weight of my ancestor’s self-hate and the internal combustion of denying the fact that I was gay all lead to miserable invisible text book adolescence. On the outside I was put together, talented, successful and blessed…but on the inside I was so alone, dying and so lost. I always felt like I was an onlooker of a life I despised…always looking at myself from the outside in. I tried to inflict the pain I was feeling on my physical flesh…starved myself…made my self bleed and left scars that I still have today. I have wondered if all the energy I put into hating my body is what has forced my body to become a torture chamber. Perhaps my body is coping with her trauma the best way she knows how.
I eventually grew out of my destructive patterns, got some help, and moved away on my own before my 18th birthday. My independence and new chapter allowed me to start a life free of most of my self-hatred and detrimental thought patterns. I came out of the closet and began a life of adventure, college and self-discovery.
My first year in college, while exciting, was not without severe stress. The stress of taking on 10 extra credits over full-time status put my body into severe shock. Under such severe stress I would skip periods and my cycle became quite irregular. I was at a choir practice when I was nearly brought to my knees by ovarian pain. I’m sure I had experienced cramps or discomfort before then, but this was an all new level of pain. I had to leave school and went home to spend the day in torturous pain, alone, and endured my first rupturing cyst. The pain radiated down my leg and felt like an elephant was sitting on top of a flaming hot corkscrew that was digging into my left ovary. My period started to get really wonky, and around that same time I heard a voice as clear as day that said “you will not be able to bear children.” I was a little shocked, but I had known since I was a little girl that while I know I am meant to be a mother, that my babies were not meant to come through my body.
Soon after, blood work, an ultrasound and my first gynecologist diagnosed me with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. No one really had any answers for me…and even with herbs and acupuncture, ovulation was incredibly painful and ovarian cysts would rupture one or two times a year. But the onset of my period would be quite a relief, for the pain would subside. At the time, I had high testosterone and high androgens…which I physically manifested by shaping my appearance to be quite androgynous. I denied anything which I considered to be “feminine.” While I began exploring my earth-based spirituality, and began facilitating women’s spirituality groups, I never resonated with Goddess paths or the Divine Feminine. It actually made my skin crawl.
I know that most of my other lifetimes have been spent as men…so this lifetime, having a voluptuous feminine body has always felt incredibly foreign to me. I have more easily connected to masculine energy and the image and actions that masculine energy is associated with. However…I know that this lifetime is meant to understand and embody what it means to be a woman, to honor, celebrate and explore this physical feminine form.
Throughout my early twenties, my period would come and go as it pleased…disappearing for 6+ months sometimes due to stress, sickness or random weight loss. My body definitely felt like something that was unknown and uncontrollable. When my period was present, I would have a very intense and severe menstrual cycle maybe once or twice a year, but I never thought more about it.
But the summer of my 23rd birthday, my hips began to spread. My body began to morph before my eyes..I suddenly had the body of a birthing woman. I morphed from a Maiden to a Matron in a matter of months. And at the same time, after enduring a brutal heartache inflicted by someone I consider to be my twin flame, I suddenly threw myself into Paganism and the Goddess. The Dark Goddess came to me and I was overcome by path of the Divine Feminine.
That fall in one of my Sisterhood groups I facilitated, I dedicated myself to the Moon. During that time my cycles were exactly 28 days I bleed on the new moon. I still experienced some discomfort, but for several months I was the most regular and lunar I had been my whole life. I felt I was diving into the Divine mystery of Menstruation and was deeply connected to my body and her cycles.
I was pursuing a Post Bacc degree in theater during that time. And sometime after the new year, I was busy building a set for my Tech Theater class when I started to experience nausea and a flooding of pain and toxins that I had never ever endured before. I had to sit down so as to not pass out. My pelvis began twitching and throbbing and I had no idea what was going on. I went to the bathroom, for I felt I was going to throw up and discovered that I had just started my period. I had to go right home and for three days I endured excruciating pain.
That period was the harbinger of the pain, suffering and struggle that was to come for many many moons to come………..
To be Continued…..