menstruation

It all made sense when I got my period this morning.

Side-note: Why do we use verbs like get, have, avoir (in French) for our periods (règles, in French, always plural & it literally means “rules”)? I don’t think you can really “have” “a period” because a “period” is something that is being shed, a lining that is discarded. It is a process in motion (blood coming out the vagina & running down legs) not a static object you possess.

13 Comments to “menstruation”

  1. AHHH okay in Spanish you can use “bajar,” as in “come down.” As in, “When does your period come down?” ISN’T THAT CRAZY?

  2. “Bajar” also being used in “turn down the volume” and “get off the bus.”

    Also: I loved college because I got to mostly read books and talk about books and write things about books and write poems, and I love all those things, so I’m excited about doing more school and getting to do more of that. But also, I’m so used to being told what to do and then doing it that left to my own devices I have no idea what to do with myself either, hence the semi-purposeful trip to Argentina and the scrabbling to line up more school. I mean, I sympathize with your redacted floundering. A liberal arts degree doesn’t exactly provide you with direction, or helpfully narrow down your options. So I’m trying to let floundering be okay, and move from one temporary thing to the next temporary thing without letting the in-between panics get to me too much. I’m already thinking, “Oh god but what am I going to do in two years, shit I’m going to be practically 25 that’s so old, when am I going to do something with my life and what can I do that won’t make me want to kill myself?” As a child, when I grew up I wanted a room and infinite privacy so I could read as much as I wanted and maybe sometimes invite a friend over to play Maniac Barbies. That was seriously it.

    • Ahhhhh, that is fascinating re: bajar. Also, I asked Miranda what verb they use in Swedish and I forget how to spell it but it also means “have” (although there’s another way you can say that you’re on your period that literally translates to “I menstruating”).

      Eeee, oh no, did you see the awful “blahhhhhh I am a mess sometimes” post I wrote last night in a fit of self-indulgent panic? I feel a weird need to apologize for that. Sorry, aahhhh!

      Anyway, I have very mixed feelings about academia at the moment but I hope that I don’t give the impression that I somehow regretted my experiences at college or that I didn’t enjoy it. I really, really loved the exposure to different types of art & literature that college classes gave me and being able to talk about books in a really in-depth serious way.

      I can’t quite explain why, but right now academia just seems a bit closed off from other aspects in my life that are really important to me and I think I’m afraid that if I go back there, I will shut myself out of everything else. I also think I resent academia a little bit because for a while I was convinced that it was the only way that someone as neurotic and pathetically ill-suited for “normal” social situations as myself could make a living. I still see value in it and if I am accepted to Paris 8 (which is sort of the RC of France), I will probably go but I am going to try to be very cautious.

      Oh god, I’m rambling and getting nervous again. I’m like you when you were a kid. I just want a room with some books and friends who will come over to play read around with Maniac Barbies.

      • I guess what I’m trying to get at is this: in the past year, I think I’ve engaged with art and writing in a really substantive, meaningful way. To me, this has been enormously encouraging and promising–it means that I don’t need to be in an academic structure in order to really engage with literature. It also means that I feel a bit lost, as in, “oh shit, well, if I decide to pursue writing and literature outside of the academia…how do I do that?” Practically speaking, it’s made me feel simultaneously as though I have lots and lots of options and also that all of these options are incredibly limited. Does that make sense?

        Really, though, I just want someone to pay me to write and read and have good sex. That would be sweet.

      • Haha. Don’t get me wrong, I still want the same things as always.

        I didn’t get the impression that you didn’t like college. But for me it was sort of vertigo-inducing for it to end, because I was damn good at it and I liked it and on top of that, I never doubted that it was exactly what I should be doing. Thinking about the millions of possibilities of life outside of academia, the lots and lots of options, was the vertigo-inducing part. That’s what I was trying to say.

      • maniac barbies. maniac barbies!! my to-do list is growing.

        (i love you people, you know.)

  3. I think it’s pretty common in other languages too. I can think of 3 languages that pretty much have the same idea of “getting” or “having” a period. Even in a complex language such as Chinese, we still use that in literal translation says, “I have menstruation” (or in proper English, “I am menstruating”). It’s interesting to note that since I’ve never actually thought about it before – it just seems so natural to hear that. Even all my girl-friends use the expression about getting, having, on their period or whatnot.

    I suppose getting your period is a good sign that your body is functioning normally :)

  4. I don’t think it’s fair to use “getting” your period as a sign that your body is functioning “normally.” True – for a lot of cisgender women out there a stable period might be a sign of overall health. But a fair number of cisgender women /don’t/ “get their periods” on a regular basis, never have, and this is not a sign that they are unhealthy or that their bodies are not functioning “normally.” You’re also failing to take into account the number of transwomen who do not “get” periods, and the number of transmen for whom having to deal with “getting” periods is a mental/emotional struggle – not a “normal” process.

    That said, now that I’m thinking about it I hate that we say “get/have a period.” I think I’m going to start exclusively using the verb “menstruate” to talk about the blood that comes out of my vagina.

    Also, BAJAR. THAT’S SO RIGHT.

  5. addendum: to menstruate in korean is 월경하다 (wuhl-gyuhng hah-dah) and it literally means “to do menstruation.” I’m not sure if there are any other ways to say it.

    • while “to do menstruation” is definitely not as good “menstruation coming down (bajando?)”, I still like it better than “to get/have a period.” At least “to do” implies an action (a movement!) instead of a passive state.

  6. OK, but also, what about “I’m ON my period” or “I’m ON the rag.” In the words of Audra’s aunt, WHAS UP WITH THAT?

    • WHAS UP WITH THAT?

      I feel like “I’m on my period” or “I’m on the rag” makes a little bit more sense because it’s sort of a state of being. You could divide your life into “times when I’m shedding my uterine lining” and “times when I’m building up my uterine lining.” I mean, if you wanted.

      “I’m menustrating” also makes sense, but it feels a little bit medical. I’m sort of fond of “I’m bleeding from my vagina.” It’s not accurate– I’m not actually /bleeding/– but I get to say the word “vagina.”

      Why don’t we say “I’m taking my period”– like “I’m taking a pee” or “I’m taking a shit”?

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