There's this great line in Jennifer's Body (say what you will, but Diablo Cody writes a solid horror flick). When accused of PMSing, Jennifer tells Needy, "PMS isn't real. It was invented by the boy-run media to make us seem like we're crazy."
"Boy-run media" has become a consistent part of my vocabulary, particularly as a way of breaking the ice when I'm broaching the difficult subjects of, say, rape culture and vagina fear (there's really no other way to explain some things that happen, in particular, in Congress). But, unfortunately, PMS is very real in my experience. I'm not speaking for every woman, of course. I'm not even speaking of myself at every stage of my womanhood. Back in my teenage days, I never suffered from any kind of moodiness, crampiness, bloatiness, or any other unfortunate-ness associated with the shedding of the uterine wall. But, as I get older, my periods tend to get more and more stereotypical(ly awful). My husband, charmer that he is, likes to joke that my body is punishing me for not filling my womb with a fetus already. Possibly there's some truth in that, you know, scientifically (or, at least, according to the boy-run medical field). Whatever the reason, I woke up three days ago completely irate, and poor Woodrow, that persnickety one-eyed bastard ass of a cat, got the brunt of my wrath. I fought with him trying to get him to eat his breakfast inside the dog igloo (thinking he'd be happier, warmer, buffeted from the cold, wet autumn wind; but of course, cats don't like being forced into enclosed spaces, which, in retrospect, is totally understandable), and then shouted at him when he ran past me, up the stairs of the deck, and began screeching at me from his high perch for the food I'd already poured and put elsewhere. I came inside after that and sat down in my closet and cried, sobbed really, because I felt angry and guilty and, in general, out of control. (Why the closet? I like the warm feeling of being enveloped by my beautiful clothes.) It wasn't until I checked my planner and counted days that I realized shark week was fast approaching, and rather than feeling relieved, I felt utterly defeated.
Mornings, in particular, are tough. I manage to snap out of it after a cup of coffee (and possibly a pumpkin scone if we're talking about yesterday specifically), but I always have to weasel in apologies to my husband, my cat, myself, which feels a little like Dr. Jeckyll must feel apologizing for the outbursts of Mr. Hyde. "I'm sorry you were exposed to that insane, sobbing banshee from hell; it will totally happen again, if not tomorrow, then next month, but that doesn't make me any less sorry."
But that, actually, is what I am thankful for in this whole ordeal. I am thankful that my husband (and cat) are forgiving creatures who see the best in me, even when I'm at my worst. And I am even more thankful that I have the ability to snap myself out of it. This is what I am: one tough cookie. Yes, I do occasionally fall prey to whining and cry-babying and woe-is-me-ing. Everyone does. As my boss Gia said the other day in answer to a mother explaining that her usually chatty toddler just wasn't feeling conversation, "Well, everybody needs a day every once in a while." Sometimes, we need a series of mornings to be terrible. In a way, I'm lucky for boy-run media; I'm lucky for the excuse to be a wretch once a month (a legitimate excuse, yes, but an excuse). After my crying fits, I always feel better, calmer, clearer. It's a bit like being in the eye of the storm, in that I know another crying fit is bound to happen at some point. But more so, it is like releasing a pressure valve, and for that I am, actually, no shit, thankful.
Hurrah for periods!