by Hazel Jane - Scotland-based Independent Celebrant

Journal

Anything you can do, I can do bleeding

‘Anything you can do, I can do bleeding.’

I winced as I read the t-shirt slogan.

I didn’t know who those superhuman women were, but I was certainly not one of them. I wasn’t ignorant to the feminist premise of the t-shirt, but it made me think shamefully back to those days, curled up on blood-stained sheets, trying to ignore the sharp pains in my abdomen that were making the room spin.

Our society is not as progressive as it claims to be. We have understood equality to mean opening doors to the patriarchal way of things and calling it a day. Sure, it’s something. But have we won equality if we are not able to be ourselves? Women everywhere cover up symptoms. We dose up on painkillers in the morning before work so as to not show our pain publicly. We hurriedly sneak menstrual products into bathrooms, as if their very existence is an insult to society. We seek to appear, against our own biology, against Mother Nature, ‘fine’ at all times. All this because we have learned that to be valued as men have been, we have to match up in all of their strengths.

But our bodies are not the same.

Many years ago, women sat in red tents when the tides changed within them. This time was sacred. They were still, they reconnected with the Earth, they reflected on the emotional issues their families were facing and returned to a respectful community that knew this to be the way of things. During our periods, our temperatures rise, our centres of gravity lower, our minds spot mistakes. It is the winter of our bodies, the inward time, the yin. The yang - the masculine, the big movement and the power - it is not welcome here right now.

When I’m bleeding, I don’t want to compete with you. Allow me to move slower, please, because my body is asking me to. Let me focus on myself, because there are changes that need my attention and my calm. And I am worth no less because of that. I’m barely an adult and I wonder how I have become so displaced from my own cycles, my own feelings, my own needs. I suppose I never learned them in the first place. Where was the time and space for that?

Well, I’m creating it now.

Anything you can do, I am not obligated to do bleeding.

Recommended Reading:

Code Red - Lisa Lister

This incredible article by Jessica Eaton that talks more about feminism