October 11, 2009

neurotics are us

Once in a while we women go a bit cuckoo. Everyone knows its part of being female (and fertile).

You may be mr. skeptical… it’s just a scam to get attention and confectionary, a fudged excuse to be moody. You may be a modern man… tell me tell me, I want to understand, I’ll read up on the biology and plot your cycle by the stars. Or you may be joe blogs… don’t really have a clue, but happy to let it remain part of the general mystery of women... You’re probably sympathetic, and you’re likely to read this article to the end.

Everyone's heard the complaints, woe is us, every month we walk the PMS gauntlet; a new hormonal ambush at every step, emotions leaping out from dark corners, aches clinging to your back, self-doubt squashing your mind.

BUT you may not have caught the proud undertones; I am a woman, I am different to you; I am sensitive, emotional and very very fertile; I’d like your attention and I need you… to rub my back.

So hear our wingeing for what it is. Don’t you think by now we’d have learned how to manage this? As clever as women are, of course we have. The first trick is to;

Identify the monthly neurosis as soon as possible.

Out of the blue I’ll start sending frequent texts, catching up with all those old buddies I have nothing to say to… waiting for my phone to ring, wondering why its not. Let’s see who’s on gtalk today, lets see who’s been reading my blog. Beware – this is the first warning.

Next I’ll be queuing in Shoprite and I’ll develop a fascination with the chocolate bars… since when did they stock Twix? Why is it more expensive than snickers? Its just a biscuit, snickers has nuts, hmm it’s been a while since I had a snickers...

By now any bimbo would realize something isn’t right. Sneaking suspicions... maybe... relief !! All those tense moments I’ve had recently are easily excused away, there’s a valid explanation for why I’ve been feeling so tired / hyper / hungry / (insert any word) for the last few days. I am not a freak, I’m a woman. Now I just have to stick to the fool-proof strategy;

Walk out of the room at the first sign of conflict. As a temporary emotional-wreck I’m liable to inflict lasting damage on those hard-earned professional relationships, by making mountains out of details (you think its ok not to show up at devotions?) and shouting at my boss (that is not my job!!). While I’m slamming doors behind me, I remember that;

Now may not be the best time to re-assess my life. Even though the big picture seems to be the only thing that matters (Is my life on track, body clock ticking, when am I going to buy a house, does he love me, what’s for dinner etc etc). Issues I haven’t given a second thought to all month, become pressing problems. Perspective goes on holiday, I might as well;

Wave au revoir to self-confidence. I know I’m a grumpy bitch, but do you think I’m a nice person? Do you? What did she mean when she said that, I should have said… no sorry, what I meant was… until I’m a quivering stress bag. Amidst the apologies and disclaimers some people give me the benefit of the doubt, but others get a look in their eye; has she always been this weird? At which point I resolve to;

Overdose on ibuprofen. Hold on do I feel heaviness, is it a dull ache, yes I think that’s an ache. Quick double dose, and again in two hours, and again. Raid the pharmacy (easier for some), stock up for the weekend. On this drug-induced high;

Listen to songs that include the word beautiful. Its amazing how many there are (starting with U2). It distracts me from looking at ugly Betty in the mirror. NOTHING looks good; not my new top (it was fab last weekend ??), not even my fall-back white t-shirt. I rationalize myself out the door and walk around denying that I feel like shit. Its safe to conclude;

The less out-doors the better. My personal favourite management strategy; go low profile, disappear for a few days. Turn off my phone, who'd phone someone as horrible as me (but in case they do, TNM have just started a voicemail service). Introspective diary entries are permissible but not beneficial, ideally plug-in to a never-ending DVD series (nothing too happy and American). When it gets really bad I;

Cry as often as possible. And;

Indulge in short bursts of eccentricity. The chemicals in my brain aren't functioning normally, I’m no longer rational. My comments range from odd to random to completely off-the-wall - resist from quoting me later. My emails will be pitched too intense, too casual. What’s the name for that disease where you can see what you’re doing but you can’t stop it? Well whatever happens;

Don’t apologise. As a physiological victim, I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Help me weather this storm with displays of sympathy and expressions of devotion. I’ll accept anything in the spirit of pampering because this is the time to;

Treat myself. Absolutely anything my little heart desires; I’ve earned it just by surviving this ordeal. Self-control can wait for the other three weeks in the month, I deserve this. While I wolf down pots of cottage cheese I;

Enjoy the sensitive days. The flood of emotions from my vulnerable heart includes extreme appreciation of all the people I love, the amazing blessing of friends. There’s also an extraordinary awareness of the terrible things, the bereavements of people around me and their hard lives. I notice Lilongwe's stunning jacarandas. Watch out - it might get soppy.

And that, dear reader, is why I’d rather be a girl than a boy. Because life throws up some awful things, but despite all our coping strategies, our hardening of hearts, our career-suit armour and bullet-proof self-reliance… despite it all, every month my hormones remind me how to feel.


  1. Joan Shanita Wanyenze11 October, 2009 21:51

    hey, i'm a girl at an age of 17 (turning 18 on the 23rd :D), from Uganda but living in Norway. i just wanted to say that i admire the way you write down your feeling and thought on your blog. you inspire me and i've even started to do the same. i was just wondering where you get the pictures/paintings you use on your blog? i love them! it would be nice nice if i could get the website
    Thank You.

  2. jess i loved this piece - i think all women (and men) can relate. I remember we spoke some time back about the - all women are psychos, but this links this with hormones. I am going to print it out and stick it on my wall!! mwah x x x

  3. Laughed out loud multplies times - I just wish it weren't quite so true!

  4. I don't have a time of the month... it can hit at any time cos I have a coil which makes it beautifully unpredictable. But I still do all those things... and more!! I wouldn't give up feeling and expressing emotions for anything in the world. Its part of who I am and I'm not gonna apologise for it! Love it! Love you. xxx

  5. Darn the red flag that changes my She into a she-devil! Darn the reg ribbon that shuts the palace gates even to the king I sometimes think.

  6. the romans had little colored glass bottles for their tears that they put on graves. i should start a monthly collection for the mantlepiece. it will be so pretty!


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