why yes there is a small, lavender-filled sloth in my sweater, thank you for asking.


So…that’s where we landed with the sign.

The first ever National Period Day was last Saturday and as promised, I made my way over to city hall to add my voice to the crowd. For my first rally, it far exceeded my expectations. I think I had expected at least some small negative element to come along with attending a rally because of the nature of the event. Something along the lines of people making fun of our cause, bad weather, general confusion/disorder…a riot…I don’t know.

Nope. It was a beautiful fall day, everything was well organized, and I could tell by the faces in the crowd as I watched from behind the numerous featured speakers that people were listening and learning. I’d have to say that was my favorite part, watching women (and men!!) nod their heads with furrowed brows as they absorbed the stories and harsh facts being shared. Unfortunately, as I was on the top step, I couldn’t hear about 70% of what was being said…but the bits I could hear were powerful. I reached out to PERIOD’s NYC chapter to get a list of names which they kindly (and quickly) passed along, so I’m hoping I attribute the right moments to the right people.

Back to the sign. I was nervous about the sign I made, I must admit. It wasn’t exactly the “end the tampon tax!”-type signage I saw in many different, creative forms last week. I mean, let’s call it what it is. My personal experience, plus a meme. Also, the ONLY meme sign I saw. The majority of the protesters were college students – how is that possible that my elderly 25-year old self had the only meme poster?

I figured that I would be surrounded by people whose knowledge about period poverty, the tampon tax, and menstrual inequality far surpasses mine. What I hoped to do (and I think succeeded in doing) was branch off of the idea that we need to stop thinking about health and women’s/menstrual health as two separate things. I believe it was Megha Desai of the Desai Foundation who dropped the quote that 71% of girls in India don’t know what a period is when they first get it. That’s a huge health education issue, and the lack of conversation where we need it is the same issue that keeps people un-diagnosed and untreated. Especially when the issue involves body parts or functions that no one seems to want to talk about. There’s an overarching theme of needless suffering, confusion, and embarrassment, and that’s where I feel the direct connection between why I write, and why we were all there to fight.

Magically enough…the events of Saturday the 19th sort of set the tone for the following week.

To keep the complaining minimal, I have to say it was a challenging week. I was lucky enough to have the worst pain hit when I was at home, and was able to manage at work with a million bathroom breaks, tons of water, and my sloth hot-pack tucked inside my sweater. Wednesday night was some of the worst pain I’ve had in a good while, which I file under “interesting” rather than “the end is near” because I’m still very happy with the long streak of good fortune that I’d been riding since around April/May.

Wednesday night brought the familiar feeling that something is swollen and pressing up against things under my left ribs, as well as soreness to the touch. I’ve never broken a rib (that I know of) but I have a feeling that the pain of a few bruised or broken ribs can’t be a far cry from what was going on that night. My ribs do click about (“click about?” okay) sometimes, depending on the position I’m sitting or laying in, but I chalk that up to my floating ribs just doing their thing. Flashback to that massage therapist telling me that the left side of my back is raised in a way that my right side isn’t. The mysteries, they just keep coming and they don’t stop coming.

It was also strange that I couldn’t get any relief whatsoever from a positional change. My choices seemed to be fetal position: pain level 10/10 – anything else: pain level 12/10. I went so far as to take Tylenol *gasp* to get myself comfortable enough to go to sleep. I never take Tylenol. Not for any particular reason other than feeling like I’m not really addressing the issue. But if you don’t know what the issue is…what are ya gonna do? You’re going to be friends with Tylenol, I guess.

Today is Sunday and I’m feeling pretty decent. Which is odd, considering I was the worst yesterday and ate nothing but high fat and dairy-filled foods (an avo/egg/cheese breakfast sandwich, cream of mushroom soup, a quesadilla, a massive ice cream) AND drank. Beer, of all things. I did chug water throughout, though, and maybe the universe is being forgiving today because I made that tiny effort? I’m the perfect example of that person who eats like a saint all week and then throws it out the window come Saturday.

This week will bring its own challenges. I love Halloween, and I’m neither concussed nor couch-bound with an ankle injury this year, so I’m hoping to do something. I’ll have an office party this week, as well as my cousin’s concert on Halloween, and then hopefully a get-together on the weekend as well. I won’t be home to hand out Halloween candy, which is a shame, but I’m sure I’ll see all of the adorable dogs kids in their costumes throughout the week. I must embrace being the girl who eats and drinks in moderation despite the company I keep, which is worth doing if it prevents a repeat of last week.

I hope all of you Halloween fans get to do just the right amount of something festive, whatever that may be. I highly doubt that I’m alone in feeling a bit of anxiety that always comes right after Halloween. For me, it’s the turning point into a season that hasn’t been the best for my mental health. When the costumes are put away and the candy gone, and society speeds right into family-centered holiday season mode, I can’t help but feel the pressure to be better this year than every year past. Be happier, more excited, things like that.

In admitting this, I’m hoping that anyone reading who relates knows that they are so not alone. What’s probably not going to make you feel better is comparing your holiday season to everyone else’s on social media, so don’t be afraid to take a break from looking at other people’s lives. You don’t need to enter the competition of best picture at an ice rink/cutest “cozy post”/lengthiest post about gratitude coupled with a very flattering picture of yourself if it doesn’t bring you joy. Find the balance of doing for yourself and doing for others that gets you through, and don’t beat yourself up for negative thoughts. My way of letting them out is through writing (in my personal journal of evil thoughts, not here) so I’d definitely recommend that route. But find your own if writing isn’t for you! (No, I don’t have any suggestions, because writing is #1.)

Well wishes to everyone’s brains and bodies. We will be okay. ❤

there’s a joke to be made about standing up for standing…

I know that nobody knew this already, but time really flies when you have a steady job. Wild.

As a general update, I’m still very happy with my new position and have now been there long enough to dismiss my main (and pretty much my only) concern about rejoining the “nine-to-five” crowd.

My somewhat silly fear regarding getting back into the office grind was the correlation that seemed to exist between my increased pain and frequency of illness, and the last time I was working at a desk for 8-9 hours a day.

I don’t have any concrete, scientific reason to believe there’s a connection between the two, but the whole four months that I worked 7:00 – 4:00 in a moderately stressful environment and was spending quite a bit of time (see: 3.5 hours) commuting a day, I felt like I was barely keeping my health together. I mean, there was the stroke code day, at least one other ER visit, and a bunch of chaos in between just within those four months.

Maybe it wasn’t the “style” of work and the environment, but the stress of it all. It’s also really hard to get up before 5am, which I did regularly. On top of that, I was not the happiest in my personal life at the time, which surely added to the garbage pile of conditions that contributed to my feeling run down all the freaking time.

The odd part, and the part that made me feel like it was the desk work that was messing with me, is the fact that I’ve never experienced symptoms while waiting tables that were anywhere near as intense and frequent as they were during those four months. Working as a waitress is physically demanding and definitely stressful, but wasn’t really problematic for my health. What gives?

All of that aside, I have to give credit to the way my current company emphasizes wellness. I probably switch from working sitting down to standing about five times a day and I relocate from room to room, as well. At certain points in the day, I find I’m much more focused at a proper desk, but at other times I find the light music and atmosphere of our cafe-style kitchen area to be extremely relaxing while I work through my to-do list. Not being confined to one desk & chair for hours on end definitely contributes to my staying sane at work and, call me crazy, I think helps my blood circulate…? Naturally, I still don’t know what’s so odd about my circulation (other than the very comforting information I was given by my doctor that my heart “doesn’t take as much blood back as it should”) but I know it’s funky, and I know switching up the position I’m in helps prevent fatigue, lightheadedness, and that fun feeling of weakness in my limbs.

Anyway, that was a long road to get to this other super cool perk: pretty much anyone can work from home whenever they need to.

My first cynical thought was that people must abuse this privilege, but from what I’ve observed, I really don’t think anyone does. It’s a great option for those who aren’t feeling well but know they can still get work done from their laptop. It’s been one month and I haven’t even had so much as a cold, which I expected would happen immediately after getting back into an office environment. Shout-out to discouraging people from coming to work sick!

Knowing that I have this option is also a HUGE relief when it comes that one day a month that I’m barely comfortable leaving the house for fear of…well, disaster. I haven’t figured out how to bring this up to whoever I’ll have to speak to about working from home that day, but I figure I’ll just talk to one of the many females in the office about how to go about the whole thing. The thought of not having to spend that whole day paranoid, getting up from my seat once or twice an hour…oh my gosh. It’s like Christmas morning, y’know?

Annnd with that in mind, remember when I brought up Nadya Okamoto, the found of PERIOD: “a nonprofit that gives women access to the period products they need to feel confident and clean every menstruation cycle, no matter their income” (from the PERIOD website’s “About” page)? Well, I finally found a very cool way to get involved, which I want to share.

On October 19th, there will be rallies in all 50 states for National Period Day. The fact that I feel this immense relief and gratitude over being able to stay home when I have my difficult days makes me feel even more frustrated for those who don’t have that luxury, or even the ability to afford the most basic period products just to get themselves through the day.

This link will lead you to information about the rally. If you want to go to the one in NYC, let me know! If you’ve never rallied before – don’t even worry about it, neither have I. I don’t know what’s going to go on my sign, but I have a week to figure it out. It’ll almost definitely involve a meme.

If none of this is for you and you’re wondering “is this the whole post?” …yes, yes it is. But for all of my people who:

  • have had their pain dismissed by doctors for being “just period pain”
  • have gone out for the day just to rush right back home and stay there until it’s over
  • have experienced doctor’s office frustration tears
  • have lied to their employer for fear of grossing them out with the truth
  • have been made to feel “gross”
  • have ruined clothes
  • have had to buy emergency replacement clothes
  • just want to stop having to put so much thought and energy into both taking care of yourself and also feeling like you have to hide all of it

…the more people who show up to events like this, the more likely the issue is to be taken as seriously as it needs to be, someday. Someday soon, hopefully.