Stuff that makes life more difficult #997. 

Feminism, It's not fair, Life is hard, MS, Multiple Sclerosis, Periods, Women

This post is all about PERIODS.  

 *polite/awkward applause

Read on, my friends. 

Because PERIODS, men, are mother-cussing awful. Like totally bad. Standup comedian Tiff Stevenson was quoted in The Guardian as follows: 

Why are we being told we can’t talk about this thing that happens to us every month?

Er, yeah? At the moment there’s a (red) tide of conversation building up. Google ‘If men had periods’ and take a look at the hilarious spoof ads – and then have a think. Because for as long as forever women’s monthly shitperience hasn’t been seen as valid. 

Let’s test out an example:

Okay, I’m a teacher. I’ve got my annual performance management lesson observation. My PERIOD started this morning. My breasts ache so much that just having my arm incidentally brush my chest as I, I don’t know, point to something in a kid’s book, makes me actually wince. And I went to bed last night with a killer headache and woke up this morning with the same killer headache. I’m bleeding so much that I know, realistically, I’m needing to rush to the toilet to change my tampon between lessons or my pants’ll be stickily stained for the rest of the day. But at least, because I knew it’d started, I’m wearing my special, reserved for PERIOD days, old, saggy, don’t mind so much if they get bled on pants, which I’m betting all women have. Except for Kim Kardashian, obviously. Also I feel gross. As well as my special PERIOD pants, I’m also wearing one of my special PERIOD tops – you know, the ones that help to cover up your bloated PERIOD stomach? Exhausted too, extremely. But, I soldier on. Don’t mention it. Like all women, every month. 

What’s that? Oh, you’re reminding me that this is allegedly, or at least trades under the name of, an MS blog. You’re right. Well, luckily, there’s a link to be made! Phew

PERIODS make some women’s, including mine, MS symptoms worse. MS. The illness that just keeps on giving. So, for me, my walking gets a bit more unbalanced, more stumblily. My face feels a bit more spasmy – I have tablets (Gabapentin) so you, the innocent onlooker, can not tell – but it keeps me awake as night. It’s hard to sleep whilst your face is twitching all about the place. And I feel a bit (a lot) more shitty. 

There’s more. One time, dearest reader my PERIOD was about four weeks overdue. D and I had, reasonably, begun to think this might be it. And I was teaching my year 10 class when I felt it coming on. As soon as class was over I rushed to the toilet and, indeed, there was blood. So I found D (this was when we worked together), took us off to a quiet corner, had a mini-cry. That’s something else the can happen. In any given situation.  

Here’s some facts:

  • only 12% of girls, worldwide, have access to safe, good-quality sanitary products;
  • poor access to menstrual health is a huge part of discrimination against girls and women;
  • in Africa, one in 10 girls misses school when she has her period because of the lack of information and adequate facilities.

The knock-on effect of this stigma is huge. It’s not some small, private issue.*

*Much of this was taken from a piece in The Guardian: Bring on the menstruation revolution: ‘Donald Trump is going to bloody love it’

And. Shockingly. Sanitation products are taxed as luxury items! Really. Do a fact check. So my idea is, each month, along with a stamped addressed envelope for their return, we post all of our bloodied knickers to the treasury with a note explaining that, regretfully, as tampons are such a luxury, in this time of austerity we felt that we couldn’t afford to spend our hard earned money on such fripperies, so would appreciate our underwear being properly washed or replaced, thank you. And then, we’ll see. 

  

Advertisements

Little grey cloud. 

Fatigue, Life is hard, MS, Summertime drinking, Wasting the day, Women

Hey you. Yeah, I know. I’m sounding all whiny and dejected, aren’t I? And it’s a beautiful sunny day so what’s my problem, like? Well. It’s hard to be a little grey cloud when the day’s so temperate. 

Let’s go through the circumstances that have led me to feeling so stratusy.  

 
Still off work. Fatigue. I’m so bored of it that I could barely muster the infinitesimal amount of energy required to type those seven letters. Gah. Etcetera. It’s been one of those days where I’ve constantly been doubting myself, questioning myself. Should I be at home? Is being medically signed off justified? Am I faking it, you know, for the extra hours in bed?*

This morning, once I’d dragged my sorry ass outta bed (I’m never using that phrase again, just testing it out, hate it), very half-heartedly semi-yoga-esque stretched, blended up a spirulina/spinach smoothie, drank said smoothie, after ALL OF THAT, I made a list. Oh lists. Where all (some) of the things start. Aside: I went through a phase of giving lists *hilarious* titles, such as ‘the last list didn’t kill me, I’d like to see this one try’ and such. Good times. Anyhow. The whole writing a list business made me feel weepy and oppressed. Damn the patriarchy! (I’m not sure I can hold the patriarchy responsible in this case).  

 
Little wander round my house. Took the stairs two at a time (whilst gripping bannister, obvs). Made myself use my (cheap’n’cheerful) exercise bike. Managed fifteen minutes before I was almost dead from being bored. I find exercise tedious. Someone tell me about an exciting way of exercising? Or make it so it doesn’t matter? And just drinking wine is okay?

That reminds me. This might be why I’m all irritable. Hot weather demands that you sit outside, al fresco, sipping on an alcoholic beverage.  

Me and L, in happy drinking outside times.

Sunshine and supping on a lovely, icy, refreshing G+T/beer/cider is one of life’s most innocent of pleasures. And we can’t even have that, apparently. Because of, like, something to do with your liver or some such nonsense. Hokum. I’m on a self imposed ‘dry’ week/few days. Stupid idea. Disclosure: not an alcoholic. Medication/natural lightweightness means I can only manage a couple of glasses of wine or whatever. But, you know, soft-drinks just don’t cut it on summer days like this. Erk. Pull yourself together, Ema. 

Finishing Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everthing has not helped lighten today’s mindset either. Please do read it. Although I’ve just (always) been entirely inconsequential, the urgency and necessity of doing anything and everything in our power, as citizens, to force our governments to wake up and take action, to do anything and everything in their power, to avert the very worst future scenarios that lay in store for us if runaway climate change is not averted – that sentence has run away with me – basically, it should be all we’re talking about.  

 
My butterfly mind however, directed me to Iplayer where I watched (for the second time), Father John Misty’s Glastonbury performance. He full on nailed it. So in his words: 

But everything is fine / Don’t give in to despair / Cause I love you, honeybear.  

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=czninCkFfaA 
*Disclaimer. I’m not faking it. 

Stuff that worries me. 

Anxiety, Apocalypse, Cats, MS, Multiple Sclerosis, Uncategorized, Why aren't I Patti Smith?, Women, Worry

1. The inevitable consequences of runaway climate change because I’m frightened of a Children of Men/final section of The Bone Clocks/The Road future. How does one acquire a cyanide pill? Does one have to learn how to navigate The Dark Web? 

2. My MS getting really really really bad. Cyanide pill? Availability thereof? (I mean really bad). 

3. My MS getting really bad in a scenario such as outlined in 1.

4. Glasses breaking beyond repair if (when) an apocalyptic scenario does come to pass. I’m practically blind and I’m assuming that my supply of contact lenses won’t last indefinitely. They’re -11, thanks for asking. I know! [Note to self: get some glasses.]

5. Running out of my favourite brand of almond milk and Sainsbury’s (the only place that seems to stock it) running out too. Nightmare

6. A tarantula escaping from the home of someone I could never, ever be friends with and, in search of warmth, climbing into the engine of my car and, as I’m driving on a reasonably fast road, crawling into the car. I either die immediately (of fright) or die shortly after (of crashing into a tree or lorry). Just typing this increased my heart rate. 

7. The whereabouts of my cat at this moment. 

8. Unexpectedly coming across a picture of George Osborne and, before my brain’s had the chance to register what it’s looking at, feeling a glimmer of attraction. Horrible.  

Just no.

7. That I’m not widely read enough and that the books I’ve been reading are the wrong ones. 

8. Jon Snow can’t really be dead, can he? 

Definitely not dead.

9. That I’m simply a product of my time, entirely shaped by forces beyond my control. No original thoughts, feelings, responses, opinions, likes, dislikes…and does it matter anyway? Or that I’m the only sentient being in a world of robots…and does it matter anyway?

10. The whereabouts of the cat now. 

11. We’ve chosen the wrong colour for the living room. I wish it was white instead. 

12. Patti Smith. Björk. P. J. Harvey. Kate Bush. Viv Albertine. Neneh Cherry. Annie Clarke. Poly Styrene. M.I.A. Why aren’t I an amazing woman? 

 

13. Asteroids. Specifically hitting us.  

14. Is it normal to be 97% anxiety around 89% of the time?

15. Does this look like a small bruise or an early warning sign of cancer? Because I read that Bob Marley thought he’d just got a football injury but when it was too late…are you listening?

16. That I talk too much.