It took me almost thirty years to admit that PMS is a thing. I’m two months and a day from the big 3-0, and I’ve only in the past two years or so become ever-so-slowly aware of what a crazy person I turn into the week before my period. I never wanted to fall into that self-perpetuating cycle of female victimhood, you know? I didn’t want to give the Man Powers That Be any excuse to roll their eyes at my righteous indignation and say that I’m just moody because of my menstrual cycle. And plus, my mom told me when I was young that she didn’t believe in PMS, so I had no excuse to be bitchy. So I went blithely about my business, assuming that PMS was a crutch for the weak.
But I’ve been paying attention to my moods and my body for the past few years, and in that time I’ve tried a few different kinds of birth control that changed my cycle, and let me tell you something: I get PMS. I get it BAD. I get tired and achey, I get cravings for chocolate of all kinds (I always like chocolate but I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so cravings are a rarity for me), I feel bloated and unattractive, and I get MOODY as SHIT. I can take literally anything personally, and I do. I try to calm down by reminding myself that within seven days of the onset of the dear old crimson tide, I am a lunatic, and I need to therefore take my impulses to cry, rage, and wreak havoc less seriously. But sometimes I forget and go about my business, heedless that everything I’m currently saying to those around me will seem like a bad dream a week from now. Today is one of those days. I just realized, after doing all but ONE of the things on the list below, that I’m acting this way because of my stupid, stupid woman parts.
So, for your pleasure and future happiness, here are some things you should never do during the week before your period:
1) Read an e-mail response from an old friend with whom you seem to have had a falling-out (but about which falling-out you were not informed and have spent the past four months wondering what the hell happened) and to whom you recently sent an “I miss you” e-mail. No matter what that friend says in her placating, wheedling, excuse-ridden reply, your emotional compass, already off-kilter from the surge of hormones your uterus is so kindly telling your body it needs, will start spinning out of control. Even if the friend’s best intentions are to let you down easy, you will see this message as a cowardly and mean-spirited attempt to toss away the years of devotion you gave to this person, and you will want to be very mean in response.
2) Respond to that e-mail. DO NOT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD RESPOND TO THAT E-MAIL. Anything that comes out will be a disaster, either because it is shrilly accusatory, weepingly melodramatic, or some combination thereof. It will not make your case eloquently nor convincingly.
3) Walk past a boutique chocolate-maker’s open door without any money in your hand.
4) Try to placate yourself with a chocolate-flavored granola bar. It will not sate your craving. It will only make it worse.
5) Get into ANY KIND OF CONVERSATION with your ex. At all. No matter how light and airy and topical, it will somehow take a turn down Sensitive Lane and end up in the cul de sac of Overreactive Nightmare. Especially if it is a text/FB/e-mail conversation in which intonation doesn’t exist.
6) Plan to drink in public. Dear god, this can only go poorly.
Wish me luck, you guys. It’s only Wednesday. PMS f-ing blows. I want to go home and watch Battlestar Galactica and eat popcorn. I should be paid to not interact with humans today. It would be doing everyone a favor.