html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Moon wisdom.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Moon wisdom.

I am, you know*, chill. I like people, and don’t let things bug me. I look for good things in people. I overlook slights. I never ever assume malice where thoughtlessness is a possible explanation. This attitude doesn’t take effort on my part. It is my cheerful default. If, for example, a friend were consistently late, I would attribute that to my friend living deeply in the moment, make arrangements for it not to inconvenience me, (I can’t invite that friend to movies, we’ll miss the start. But that friend can be included in a group at the bar, where it doesn’t matter if people trickle in late.) and just get along. Most of the time, things truly do not bother me.

Except. Except when my period is due. When my period is due, my emotional reactions are stronger, including ones I don’t generally feel, like annoyance and sadness and anger. You likely wouldn’t notice, unless you caught that I was quieter than usual, because I am holding back stuff like, ‘are you being that annoying on purpose?’. ‘Fucking show up when you say you will.’ ‘Why would you say something so mean?’ My first thought is to let it go, let it go, let it go. My period will come and my mood will lift and I will be glad I didn’t snap at anyone, causing drama.

Except that for a few years now, I’ve been wondering if I should be so quick to dismiss my pre-menstrual feelings as an aberration from my “real” mood, imposed by my body, and soon to pass. I’ve been wondering instead whether they’re like an alarm system, telling me that I am more bothered than I realize by inconsiderate friends, or more hurt by the end of promising flirtations than I admit to myself. Maybe the demands that I struggle against vocalizing when I’m premenstrual are things I really want. If you are in touch with your negative emotions and know when things bug you and can live with intensely wanting things you don’t have, this might seem ridiculous to you. But for me, who walks a determined walk on the sunny side of the street, being pre-menstrual may be a rare access point to a darker side of myself.

I don’t know what it would mean, if the feelings that are so often caricatured as bitchy and moody are something I should hold onto. What would I do about that? Write down pre-menstrual tirades, so that I can keep and evaluate them when I am back to my usual self? Let myself express more when I am pre-menstrual, and if people are chastened, well, they can stop doing annoying shit? Keep ignoring it, ‘cause that stuff doesn’t bug me most of the time? For the while, until I have a stronger read on that, I’ll probably just sit with the idea my pre-menstrual perceptions and emotions have some validity. Not dismissing them instantly would be a big step.










*You guys might well not know. I am told that in the blog I come across as intense and rigid. In person, I’m mostly smiley and animated and excited for things. I am, like, amiable.

23 Comments:

Blogger Megan said...

If you were thinking of making some comment like 'oh ho ho, can't let the wimmins be all bitchy, ha ha', you should skip it.

In the first place, I would lose respect for you, for choosing an obvious and tired joke based on stupid stereotypes. In the second place, it would be strongly counter to the theme of a post it took some work to write.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

If you were thinking something like 'maybe you could use your pre-menstrual feelings as a guide, but then deal with people respectfully and calmly when you don't feel as emotional', well, I don't know what you're trying to accomplish with such crazytalk.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Well, if you *honestly* don't get bothered by it the other 3, 3 1/2 weeks of the month, then I'd maybe think about Evening Primrose Oil, or something else similar that is supposed to help with PMS.

If you think you're suppressing some feelings the rest of the time, then - I dunno, practise getting pissed off instead of amiable? Except that sounds like a fairly insane solution to the situation.

I don't suffer every month, but sometimes I'll have a really angry couple of days and then my period comes and I realise why I was so bitchy. And the things that piss me off during that time - generally my children acting like their normal selves - are things that I'm completely fine, even happy and pleased with the rest of the time.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I think you should listen to 2:18 Megan, as crazy as she might sound.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Alison:
But see, I'm working with the idea that pre-menstrual changes in mood aren't something I treat, but something I act on, or at least respect. I'm wondering if that idea is strongly aversive to people who want to be nice all the time.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I consider my Lunar Rage to be legitimate, if disproportionately intense, because it's generally directed at whoever or whatever I already know I'm unhappy with. For people who don't generally allow themselves to be negative, the premenstrual period might be an opportunity to feel the negative emotions that, while not pleasant, do exist. People react to feelings differently, but I think everyone sometimes has to feel them all the way through.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

See? Capella is talking crazytalk, too. "Feel them all way through". Like that helps.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Mitch said...

It sounds like you're considering exploring your dark side. If you've never done this, I think it's a worthwhile exercise. Anger is an extremely effective tool in some situations, which is why we have it.

If you do, don't be angry just to be angry--don't just let go and see what happens. Have a clear idea of what you're trying to accomplish and why it's worth it. This is how you avoid turning into one of those people you don't like.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

If I get mad, I'll become an ex-pat?

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smart post! And I always thought you seemed amiable as all get out :)

7:58 PM  
Blogger srchngformystry said...

intense and rigid?

they have the wrong megan.

clearly.

8:31 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Thanks hon. They probably mean the Megan who broke Randy's heart.

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's not ridiculous to say that PMS Megan is, in a very real way, a different person than non-PMS Megan. Likewise Morning Megan vs. Evening Megan, Megan-with-Ali vs. Megan-with-Anand, etc. Your brain is literally working differently, and that'll affect your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. So, deciding that PMS Megan is "Megan unmasked" or "Megan deep down inside" or "the dark side of Megan" would, I think, be inaccurate. (I know those aren't exactly what you're thinking, but I don't think they're entirely off base either.)

That said, it's never a bad idea to pay attention to your feelings, especially if you suspect you might be ignoring important parts of you, and that this might be interfering with your ability to function in a way that helps you live a relatively satisfying life.

Some variation on a journal (that is, the kind that other people don't get to see) might not be a bad idea, whether you're PMS-ing or not. You don't even have to keep what you write, or write regularly. I've found that the process of writing as honestly as possible (and if other people will see it, you'll fall short of that level of honesty) about events, feelings, etc. has a magical way of revealing important insights that I never would've discovered by thinking alone.

12:48 AM  
Anonymous Mitch said...

If I get mad, I'll become an ex-pat?
Does snark also follow a lunar cycle?

1:16 AM  
Anonymous bryn said...

While you might be causing yourself subconscious stress by keeping all that bottled up, I have no expertise in that area to comment. However, I have been reading a book lately called learned optimism, that stipulates that studies show that optimists (they have a specific definition for optimists - but it generally includes people who are positive or see things in a positive light) are happier, live longer and so on. So there may be life shortening rage hidden in side, or you might be better off chalking that up to something like how I act when I haven't had any sleep, and just go with your normal self

7:07 AM  
Blogger LizardBreath said...

I'd sit down and try and work out whether you think that not expressing the negative emotions you feel when you're premenstrual is doing you any harm. Do people treat you like a doormat because you don't get angry when they're mean and inconsiderate? If so, then maybe you should work on finding that hostility the rest of the time.

But I doubt it. You come off (at least online) as relaxed, but not at all doormatty. Which means that the premenstrual hostility probably isn't something that would be useful to get in better touch with. I'd leave your equanimity where it is.

7:19 AM  
Anonymous wlotus said...

I read a poem that says our premenstrual feelings are our real feelings, while what we feel the rest of the time is a PC version of what is really going on in our heads.

My motto is PMS doesn't make me crazy: it makes me more honest.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

Blimey, that doesn't make sense to me at all. I'm intolerant and snappy and arsey enough without any PMS thrown in, lol. I don't think that the person who e.g. shouts at people because they laugh loudly is the real me - or if it is, then I prefer and aspire to be the fake me who joins in the laughing the other 25 days.

I wasn't trying to say that you should just try to make those feelings go away though (unless you would prefer to feel more consistent). If you feel there is some validity to them, some basis and reason for feeling that way, then indulge them - it's certainly ok to get grumpy with people. (IMO at least.) But from my point of view (which is a pretty long way from where you are!), the irrational PMS feelings *aren't* something to be acted on or really respected, and that's not because I want to be nice all the time! It's because they are irrational.

But if you've been wondering this for "a few years", then maybe it is time to do something about it! Say something when someone/thing annoys you perhaps? But then an obvious pattern might emerge, and then all your friends will just dismiss your rantings, saying, "don't worry, Megan's PMSing again" ;-)

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has happened for others that they always thought that their real side was intensely bitchy and easily-sparked, and then they learned that they were in chronic pain or something, and when treated they became amicable. It is up to you which one is the "real" one I think. Which way would you rather be? Are you getting stepped on, or are you just laid back? If its the latter, I'd use the bitchy-you only as a helpful guide to avoid getting totally walked on, but keep the friendly one as the default.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And here I thought this post was going to be about smart ways of showing your bare ass.

Possibly with pictures.

So disappointed.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never would have characterized you as just "amiable". From moment one, I've always experienced you as quite layered and emotionally complex. Not in a bad or unfriendly way at all, just in ways that could not be characterized by a simple descriptor like "amiable".

Some possible explanations for this are that I don't know you very well, that I got to know you through your blog, and/or that I am annoying.

Marcus

P.S. Sometimes people struggle with an internalized feeling of duty to be "nice" when this does not necessarily fit their personality.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

The "like" is doing a fair amount of work.

4:27 PM  
Blogger James Love said...

Check out Banshee PMS Alert where you can get a warning that a PMS bout is approaching. It helps keep the peace.

3:13 PM  

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