F*ck You, Aunt Flo

It’s 7:30pm. I just ate a bowl of pasta, and am now seriously contemplating eating an entire block of mint Kit Kat chocolate. And I’m riding the crimson wave, bitches, so nothing you can do or say is gonna make me feel shame.

I gotta tell you, I know all women hate getting their monthly subscription to pain and irritability, but I really think I drew the short straw. See, menstruation (and for those of you screwing your nose up in disgust, it’s not a dirty word) is all about baby making. By some flawed design of evolution, the female body is made to create life. Which is fine for those of you who actually want to bring a mewling infant into a world already overcrowded, but what about those of us who don’t want devil spawn?

A friend of mine once said, in a self -admitted moment of mental blankness, that she thought I was so lucky because ‘lesbians don’t get their period’. It was one of those things said without much thought, that had the entire table of our friends in uproarious laughter. I responded with something like “I wish I didn’t! I mean, it’s not like I need my uterus to make a baby, so I don’t think it’s fair I should have to suffer!” And, folks, therein lies my point.

I don’t want children. Despite how often I get told that I’ll change my mind, or that I’m too young to know what I want (I mean come on, really?) or that I ‘just haven’t met the right person yet’, I have not even the slightest hint of maternal instinct. Babies are kind of gross. It’s not their fault, of course, they’re tiny and largely helpless, and they didn’t exactly ask to be thrust into the world. But nevertheless, the desire to have one of my own simply isn’t there. So, I can’t help but feel personally victimised by my uterus every time it decides to punish me for not doing what this fine body of mine was supposedly built for.

If women had a choice, I am certain that not a single one would elect to have a period if they didn’t have to. It’s unpleasant, uncomfortable and, at least in my case, bloody unnecessary. Aching boobs, abdominal cramps, hyper emotionality, mood swings, and let’s not forget the incessant bleeding. It’s just buckets of fun.* But, as fate and unfortunate evolution would have it, those of us born into womanhood have to suffer monthly. Until we don’t bleed anymore, and then we just have menopause to look forward to. I tell you, whoever, or whatever designed the female body has a cruel sense of humor, and a lot to answer for. So, I’m turning to chocolate and wine and my couch for comfort. They might make me chubby, but at least they don’t feel like a tiny man with a chainsaw for one hand, and a jackhammer for the other, hammering and slicing into my midsection for kicks.

Image property of Sarah Anderson

*that was sarcasm. Having your period is not at all fun. It’s a great big bag of dicks. Or…vaginas, if we’re being accurate about it.

Sexism From Strangers

I deal with a lot of misogynistic bullshit at my job. I work in a shop that deals with key cutting, watch repairs, shoe repairs and engraving. There is nothing expressed in that job description that specifies that it is a male job, and yet often I will be having a good day and some chauvinist male customer will make some sexist remark, and I find myself fighting the urge to show them just how hard a woman can punch them in the face.

For a start, the company I work for has the word ‘Mister’ in the name. Right off the bat, I’m at a disadvantage. The kind of men that make sexist comments are the kind of men that see the name of the company on my shirt (conveniently located over my left boob) and assume that I’m no good at my job, because I happen to be a woman. It doesn’t necessarily happen daily, and for every rude male customer I serve, I serve plenty of lovely ones, but sexist comments are at least a weekly occurrence. To give you an idea, here are some examples of things that men have actually said to me, and my female colleague at work;

– ‘Oh, can you actually do that?’
– ‘Thanks, but I think I’d rather have the man do it’
– ‘So, if you want to just give it to the other guy…oh, you mean you can fix it?’
– ‘Look, ah, no offense sweetheart but I’d prefer to give it to someone who actually knows what he is doing’
– ‘You must just press a very big button to do your work for you in here’
And one one particular occasion, a man walked up to my friend, saw that there were no men in the store, looked at her and just said ‘no’ and walked away.

Yup. As if the comments aren’t bad enough, on more than one occasion, I have greeted a male customer and had him completely ignore me, to speak to one of the three men that I work with instead, regardless of how busy they may be with something else. Admittedly, there are things that I’m not yet trained to do, and if someone needs something done that I can’t do, I have no problem with asking the guys. But when men come up and assume I can’t even change a watch battery, that’s when I get irritated. I am perfectly capable of doing my job, and being a woman shouldn’t and doesn’t affect the way I work. But evidently, there are some men in the world who assume that because I don’t have a penis, I can’t do anything for myself.

These men are the kinds of men who think a woman’s job is to cook and clean and have babies. The kind of men who believe that a woman can’t do anything as well as a man, and that we thus don’t deserve the same opportunities, or pay rates or freedoms. And it is that kind of man that makes my job more difficult, and less fun. A sexist remark can make a good day bad. I am an intelligent, capable young woman and I don’t deserve that kind of disrespect from complete strangers.

miso
Pretty much sums it up.

Pre-Period Problems

Ladies, this one is for you.

Having your period sucks ass. But you know what is just as bad? The lead up. In the days leading to my period, shit gets pretty crazy in the life of Amy. The men in my life would be forgiven for thinking I’ve lost the plot, and here’s why.

1. I get clumsy. I’m pretty clumsy at the best of times, but in the days before I get my period, I become downright dangerous. Take yesterday for example. Not only did I drop every second thing I picked up, and some things more than once (my purse, my keys, my lunch…), I slammed my knuckles on the engraving podium twice in the same spot, sliced my finger on a screwdriver, shut my car door on my knee and burnt my arm on incence. Seriously, I’m a mess.

2. I get crazy emotional. For a girl who has perpetually angry as her default emotional setting, I sure do get weepy around period time. The tiniest, most stupid things will set me off. A lame couple confess their love in a stupid romantic film, my eyes start prickling with tears. I catch three red lights in a row, I have to choke down a sob. I hear a pretty voice on the radio and I damn near burst into tears. I’m an emotional wreck, it’s understandably terrifying for others around me.

3. My boobs ache like a motherfucker. Honestly, sometimes I think I could deal with all the bleeding and the cramps and the emotional rollercoaster if it wasn’t for the aching boobs. It’s like someone has punched them until they’re bruised, and then keeps applying pressure to the bruises for the next week. I love boobs…right up until mine turn against me.

4. My brain refuses to work. I can’t seem to work out the easiest things, constantly ask questions I should already know the answers for, do stupid things constantly and forget everything. Ok, admittedly my brain doesn’t work well at the best of times but before my period, I get unintelligible, inarticulate, idiotic…actually, that’s not much different from every other day. Moving on.

5. I get all bloated and yuck. I feel like I’ve put on twenty kilos and all yet I want to do is stuff my face full of chocolate. I get so exhausted and blah that the internal battle between my desire to keep active and the need to just hop into bed and stay there forever is usually won by the latter. Except unfortunately I do actually have to get out of bed. It’s a vicious reality.

Getting your period is cruel. Having to suffer through the week before your period is even worse. Moral of this story? Be a boy.

Self Confidence and You

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Self confidence is a powerful thing. I know, because I have it in spades. I don’t worry about my flaws, I look in the mirror and think ‘damn I look good’, and then I go out into the world feeling strong and powerful and damn fine. Self confidence is like wearing the greatest armour in the world. With it, the opinions of others don’t matter to me, I don’t have to please anyone and I feel good about myself. It’s empowering.

Yesterday, my boss and I were discussing another conversation I’d had where my friend told me if I filled in my eyebrows they would be ‘fierce’. I was telling him how I didn’t get why girls go to such great lengths with their appearance, because it seems tiring. His response to that was ‘well that’s easy for you to say because you’re naturally kinda pretty’. Implying that life is easier for me because of the way I look. Something about that statement irritated me, in the same way it always does when someone uses my physical appearance against me.

First of all, I wasn’t saying that girls who fill in their eyebrows and wear makeup aren’t pretty. I was just saying I personally can’t be bothered with all of that. And second, it sort of felt like he was saying ‘oh sure, you’re nice looking but you’re being a jerk about it’. And therein lies the problem. Self confidence is great if you’ve got it, but other people can often see it as a threat, or as being full of yourself.

I’ll be honest with you, a lot of girls don’t like me. I’ve had strangers call me a slut or glare at me from across the room. Even some of my friends have been known to make digs at me because of my physical appearance. Women are their own worst enemy. They go on about female empowerment and loving yourself, but when they actually see a confident woman who is comfortable in her own skin, other women have a tendency to get spiteful and jealous. Being a self confident woman doesn’t make you a slut or a bitch or full of yourself. It means you like yourself. And when you like yourself, it shows.

People are attracted to confidence. And being ‘naturally kinda pretty’ has nothing to do with it. I have known some positively stunning women who are genuinely insecure. By the same token, I’ve met people who are perhaps more ‘plain’, who absolutely rock their confidence and live happier lives because of it. My life is not easy because of the way I look. I have troubles and worries the same as anyone does. I just happen to like myself, and that’s a really great thing. It’s not about looking good for someone else, or in the hopes of finding a partner. It’s about looking good for me. Being self confident is about knowing that I’m a young, attractive woman and not feeling ashamed of admitting the fact. I am a young attractive woman, and if you have a problem with my self confidence, then take it elsewhere.

You don’t have to fit into society’s ideals of beauty to be self confident. You just have to like yourself. If that means wearing makeup, or losing weight, or getting a new haircut then all power to you. But make sure you do those things for you, and not someone else. Self confidence is not being cocky. It is waking up in the morning and thinking ‘fuck yeah, I’m feeling good.’ And you know what? I’m feeling good.