Menstruation, Sexual Violence & Recovery: There’s A Connection?

TW: This post deals with talks of sexual violence as well as difficulty with menstruation and feelings of depression. Please practice self care. I see you. I love you. I speak my truth.

 

I spoke with someone today about the sensitive topics in my writings, and they said something that struck me. “Your writing is triggering even to you”. I felt ashamed at first, then sad, then angry, and finally, accepting. Some of the greatest writers I’ve ever known have all written triggering works in some way or another. In choosing to tell my truth and to document it live for you all, I think I’m speaking to a particular experience and I shall continue to do so. It is triggering, but it is also healing. You all are the first to know, but I’m currently working on a book from these moments and weekly documentations (dare I call them essays and poetry?!) I promise to keep everyone posted on the happenings of said book, just know that it’s coming.

 

My menstrual cycle, my period, my moon, and all the many other names that we’ve cultivated for the time that people with uterus’ shed blood from their uterine linings. Mine has been irregular ever since I was 12 years old. I’m not quite sure if that has anything to do with sexual violence, but I do know that its caused me much stress. I’ve tried many things in attempts to regulate it, from all types of birth control to pastes on my womb, in my womb, around my womb, diets of all sorts, varying herbs and while some things worked for a while, nothing ever really completely and concretely worked. With the help of the Fertility Awareness Method, which includes taking my temperature every morning before getting out of bed and checking cervical mucus, I have been able to diagnose when I’m going through an anovulatory cycle, which is helpful in knowing and learning my body and feeling powerful instead of powerless. Now I know that some of you are like, “that’s a bad thing that you don’t get your period?”. My answer is “yes”. Getting my body in a state of regularity means that I feel my best, it means that stress isn’t killing me and it means that one day, should I choose to, I can bring life into the world.

 

In the many times that I’ve had sexual engagements with people with penis’, I’ve never thought, “Oh, I could be pregnant”. I’m always safe, but sometimes I wish the thought could or would cross my mind. Whenever my cycle makes its blood stained entrance, I smudge, dancing around my house to the music of my working body and drink Raspberry Leaf tea in deep appreciation for the cramps my uterus produces, allowing me to know that I am indeed alive. I have never seen my time of bloodletting as an unwelcome visitor. In fact, I yearn for it and each month that it skips, I am flooded with shame, blame and feelings of worthlessness. I don’t think that my time of bloodletting characterizes me as a “woman” able to become a recepticle for new life. I simply see it as a blessing, and that my body, this body works as it should.

 

I don’t know that I want children. I certainly like the idea of them, but reality and ideology are proven to have varying differences. Maybe I would like to one day be a mother, but all of that should be up to me and my primary partner. I want to have the option to say yes and/or no. Some days, when my cycle doesn’t facilitate as it should, I sit and wonder if I’m damaged and my body merely facilitates that fact. Does my history with sexual assault mean that I took on too much stress too young for this particular body to ingest? Is my body in a certain kind of shock that keeps me from regulation of cycle and self?

 

Lately, I’ve been feeling fat and upset with my body. I’ve been beating it up and caring for it simultaneously, sticking to a healthy diet, regular exercise and herbal teas but also incorporating much more alcohol than is probably ideal. Some nights when I’m ludicrously and hilariously drunk, I dance. I move to the movement of my soul with smudge smoke emenating from my pores and circling around my dreadlocked scalp. I sweat unclear hopes and dreams and let it all go. I move with jerked and smooth movements, sensual and sexual all by myself. Alone. I think that this is my life and I’m okay with it. Some nights I go out and venture to be in society, whatever that means. Whatever I need in moments of healing and triggering is what I need. My story is mine to live in, breathe in, be in.

I talked with a friend through a triggering moment a little while ago and I said something that shocked me even as I said it. I said, “What you need in moving through the  triggering is what you need.” I don’t mean that because we are triggered, we then deserve to do and say anything without impunity. I simply mean that we who have been so touched by sexual violence are worthy of healing. We are worthy of hugs and love and regular and irregular menstrual cycles. Our bodies are temples and galleries and may be used however we see fit. Your healing is your own.

My story is mine…your story is ours and somehow it’s all alive.

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