Once in a Blue Moon

Moon Rise

I rarely discuss what I am experiencing personally when things are tough; when I’m scared; when I almost pass out from dehydration; when I receive mean comments about Peace. In the 11 months this blog has been up I certainly haven’t discussed what I’m getting ready to discuss. Ladies, it’s for you, but truly, it is men who need to read it–proceed with open mind.

I hear this comment a lot, “Well, I was thinking, if she can do it, so can I.” One hundred percent of said comments come from men. And so I think, yes, yes, YOU CAN. You always could. But could you do it in a woman’s body?  I don’t offer some of my personal impressions (which from this moment on, is going to change) because I don’t want anyone to minimize my personal experiences because of my sex. Some of them I don’t offer because I don’t want to dwell on the negative.

Perhaps this custom comes from one specific thing we don’t talk about. And once in a blue moon, it affects most of my day.

Fellas, could you do a ride like this in my body?
Last year my cycle changed as soon as I started riding. And I’m not talking about my four-stroke cycle here; I’m talking about my “moon cycle”.  At one point, I bled for 19 days in a row. After that I would start and stop again without warning for most of the whole trip.

That means I lost iron, had cramps, and spent how ever much money I didn’t have on tampons. Imagine what it feels like to sit for 10 hours, on a vibrating machine, with 10 inch wheel offering little buffer from all the bumps in the road;  meanwhile your stomach feels like it’s been punched repeatedly by an angry monkey.

Now, I view this world as equal opportunity, no reason it shouldn’t be. Any differences in our body are just that, differences. Not better or worse. But if you gave a man and a woman each $10 to survive for a month, automatically, the playing field is uneven. Unless the woman has gone through menopause, because we have to purchase our supplies. And men do not.

Another comment I hear often, from men and women, is, “Wow, she has balls.”
I have ovaries, thank you. They are the female equivalent of balls, I suppose. Ovaries do help develop a lot of the strength that women have.
We bear children; an average of eight hours of pain racking our bodies after nine months of hosting a tenant in our stomach. Let’s do some math. Average cycle is five days, 12 months in the year;  which equals 60 days we experience something men don’t. I might add, a very unpleasant sensation.

Two months of our year is spent wondering if we just ruined another pair of pants, going to the bathroom when we don’t have to pee, putting our intimacy on hold (and yours).

Let’s say on average, we have two miserable day and the others not so bad. On average each lady has this cycle for 30 years. So, two times a month, for a year, multiplied by 30 years equals 720 days of heavy pain and discomfort. Days where you want nothing more than to be massaged by God himself.  Instead we learn to cope and go through everyday activities as though all is GREAT. We go out there and do the same stuff men are doing, and try to smile. Talk about going with the flow.

So why am I talking about this anyway? I figure it’s high time to share this perspective. Just to shed light on what is often a tight lipped subject. One, because when I was going through the ride last year, I couldn’t find any information about how a woman’s cycle might react to a long distance ride. Second of all, well, it just shouldn’t seem so shocking every time a woman accomplishes a great feat. Of course we are strong enough.

So to every person who hears a man comment, “If SHE can do it, so can I” and “Not bad, FOR A WOMAN,”  I say find your voice and challenge that statement.

The other day I speculated about such statements, and thought, if I’m considered the lowest common denominator, wouldn’t that make my accomplishments twice as noteworthy ? If it would be so effortless for a man to make this ride in comparison, does that mean my miles driven are worth twice as much? Perhaps I should say it’s a 40,000 mile Peace sign?

Moving right along…how about those gas prices? Talk about a pain we all share!

11 Replies to “Once in a Blue Moon”

  1. Yikes! I never thought of that… that must be awful! I know what my wife used to go through and I wouldn’t wish it upon an enemy!

    Well anyway, I never said that! I said, I wish I could do it, but I also qualified it with a statement saying I could never do it the way you are! Hmm… let’s see, New Orleans the first day, Baton Rouge the next with a night at the Hilton! 🙂

    No Alix, as much as anyone might believe or tell you, not everyone can do what you’re doing, I know I can’t!

    Ride safe…

    “Big Guy”

  2. I think any one riding across the country is brave and if you are a woman- more power to you!! You said it great Alix- men just don’t have to deal w/ issues like this. And girl when you are in your 40s it gets really wacky!

    That being said, I admire you greatly, not just b/c you are chick doing this (with nasty, too-long periods), but for anyone this dedicated to peace- that is fabulously amazing. You are spreading good news, waking the world up to what kind of impact we can all have if we just try.

    I have been dedicated to the idea of a Department of Peace ever since I heard Dennis Kucinich talk about it. All of us can make a difference, bring the world peace by our daily actions.

    Keep up the good work! Hope you have smooth roads ahead!


  3. HOOT. HOOT!

    Good for you, girl. We have a ghastly burden to bear what with intolerance, being undervalued and undergoing nature’s course.

    Some empowered feminists might argue… women don’t need to buy anything for those monthly ‘visitors’. You can boldly waltz around naked in a towel on hard wood floors and simply clean up drips as anyone would for a dog in heat. Love the idea, but haven’t found the privacy in any of my alternative living arrangements to try it yet… and I definitely haven’t found it an option when traveling and staying with hosts.

    Though… how liberating would that be?!

    Yes, periods suck. And one better… plenty of dudes feel it is THEIR privilege to bitch about it. Like our being in a bad mood due to iron deficiency, lack of sympathy, and general physical discomfort are things that we are first, responsible for and second, should apologize for! A can of worms… it’s worthy of putting it out there.

    Truly… what would men do? From a personal travel experience… try living off the grid in the high desert with one gallon of water/day for 2 months and make sense of a period in THAT environment. Turns out… spit is a natural cleanser. I figured that one out real quick!

    I hear you on compromising situations that are only further complicated by being simply put… an ovulating woman.

    You’ve got ovaries, girl!
    Hang in there…

  4. I’m glad you now feel committed to writing more about your personal experience. I’m a little surprised to read this:

    I rarely discuss what I am experiencing personally when things are tough; when I’m scared; when I almost pass out from dehydraton; when I receive mean comments about Peace.

    I’m curious about what has so far held you back from discussing these things? Do you feel social or personal pressure to keep the tone of the blog positive?

    (PS, I linked to this post from my other site.)

  5. Daphne, I am posting your post here. The post below was a response to this article on another site.

    “It isn’t so much about being offended by a comment such as “she has balls” as it is to understand the power of acknowledging that the strength of a womyn comes from her OWN biology.
    (If men are so easily scared off by those implications, perhaps that makes the point even more valid.) It’s important see the risk of accepting “common colloquialisms” without at some point questioning their validity. This kind of passiveness perpetuates the thinking that womyn are in their rightful place as the weaker sex.

    Clearly, this article recognizes that there are innate biological differences (inequalities as well) but while isn’t true that ALL men are stronger in their upper bodies than ALL womyn, it certainly isn’t appropriate to say that when a womyn exhibits strength, she is man-like. The idea here is that it is every bit as womn-like to be strong.”

  6. Thanks for everyones feedback and your private letters of concern. YES. I take vitamins now and all is well. I did some research after last years ungodly circumstances.

    I’m truly not offended per say when I hear those comments in the article. I just think a lot and like to keep my speech construction positive and balanced. Often we say things without realizing the implication.

  7. Hear hear!

    I just cannot believe the self-entitled, open-mouthed ignorance with which most men walk the earth. I had what I imagine is a very rare epiphany in college: it’s very very different to live life as a woman. Most men never have this realization. We think womanhood means being shaped differently and sitting down to urinate. When the reality of just day-to-day life in both its positives and negatives is vastly different on so many levels. Like you say Alix, not better or worse, but different in so many significant ways. It’s a difference so rarely appreciated. Meanwhile you’re expected to apologize for having a period, have hair just on your head, and somehow vagina is a dirty word and pussy is always a pejorative noun. It’s just not right. I really like Dan Savage’s take on the subject in his sex advice podcast.

    “I don’t want you to stop being a pussy. I want you to stop being a scrotum. Pussies are fearsome and powerful and spit out human beings. …It’s scrotums that are weak and nervous, and you can’t even tap them without people screaming and falling to the floor.”

    So good for you and your ovaries! You’ve got big brass ones for sure. You’re a warrior goddess on a steel flying horse and anybody, man or woman, who thinks they could casually do what you’re doing has not stopped to think about the scope of your quest or the strength of your spirit. Roar woman, roar!

  8. Nathaniel,
    It is an amazing honor to walk shoulder to shoulder with such an amazing humanist as yourself. Whatever it was that brought on your epiphany, it certainly was a gift to your fellow feminists who gained an eloquent, Y- chromosomal speaker on our behalf;) YGG(uy)

  9. There’s definitely a lot of power in the subtext of language. So much of this terminology is ingrained in our culture that people often aren’t aware of how their phrasing may contextualizes what they say. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it in some ways (haven’t we all?). At the same time, listeners may not be aware of the “hidden” meanings they absorb and assimilate, especially through repetition.

    In fact, I recently heard Obama himself crediting Hillary with inspiring “his girls” and girls like them across the country. It was ridiculously condescending and trivializing, as if Hillary’s campaign and tenacity was all for the sake of “girls” and being an inspiration rather than, say, president. (I’m pretty sure the language was carefully chosen and intentional in this instance, which just goes to show how an experienced wordsmith can wield the power.)

    I get the inherent dangers of associating bravery with testicles. Sure, “you have balls,” even when applied to men, is totally figurative and not intended to “masculize.” (Why is “feminize” a verb, but “masculize” isn’t? Huh.) Anyway, I prefer other terms (guts, moxy, bravado, etc.) simply because they’re more colorful, fun to say and free of other connotations.

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