These last few months in an effort to get to know myself better in these nutty times, I started to track my cycle using the app, Clue. You know how I am obsessed with the damage the patriarchy causes, well, we all know that women have a monthly cycle which patriarchy tells us is gross and shameful even though no one in the world would exist without women bleeding every month. But I recently found out that men have a cycle too, and guess how long theirs is? 24 hours! All of us on the gender spectrum are forced to live in the male cycle. How perfect and convenient… for men.
Anyway, the app is really cool and has a lot of different things that you can track aside from when you bleed including your mood, motivation, sleep, stool, mental health, as well as energy. The interesting, and disturbing thing, that has become apparent in the tracking of my cycle is that there is a pattern forming with my energy levels; that is, I never have any.
How can this be?
I started to think about my life and how it has changed since the world shutdown. I no longer rush off to school in the morning or rush up and down stairs looking for students or getting (life changing) worksheets photocopied. I no longer rush around the mall looking for last minute birthday gifts or costumes or irrelevant shit I don’t need for my daughter’s school and life beyond. I literally don’t go anywhere. If there was a camera following me around, it wouldn’t need to move. I wake up, go downstairs, go back upstairs, sit there for 9 hours typing on a computer, back downstairs for food, upstairs for baths, bed. If I bothered counting my daily steps it would be approximately 125 per day. So again, why the fuck am I exhausted?
I was listening to a podcast the other day from a Female Embodiment Coach, Jenna Ward, who said that we spend probably around 90% of the day in our heads, thinking. And I thought again about what I do every day. I wake up at about 5am and I start thinking about my lessons, I turn on a meditation to practice good mental health and end up spending half of the meditation wondering if the girls have woken up or if I remembered to email that receipt to school, or plan that lesson. I hear the girls and literally as I am getting the little one out of bed and saying “good morning” I am wondering if there will be a dead rat downstairs in the bathroom like that one time 5 years ago which I am still traumatised about. And it goes on and on and on. The thinking just never, ever stops.
Maybe I do 125 physical steps a day, but how many thoughts do I have a day, which just go around and around and around. Sometimes it just feels like insanity.
I can group my thoughts into certain categories; thinking/worrying about the past, thinking/worrying about the future, making plans and general distaste of self.
We can know that we have conscious thoughts that are impacted by the unconscious which was basically set in place when we were about 7 years old; the child who is running our mind and keeping us safe. Reminding us that because our parents divorced when we were little, we are unloved or should be afraid of opening up to a relationship. Reminding us that because our parents told us that money doesn’t grow on trees that we don’t deserve money and money is bad. Remembering that time when our teacher told us we are dumb that we always have to prove that we are smart by reciting facts to whoever will listen. All of those traumas that we carry around from what we decided before we were even old enough to understand what the hell was going on.
We considered in a previous post about the ways in which patriarchy has entered into our brains, told us that we are not good enough, and the prison guards keep us protected from having self belief, and even from opening up the joy of pleasure because we need to keep small and invisible. We are not skinny enough to join that dance party on the beach. We can’t jump on that trampoline without a sports bra. We can’t scream with glee when in public as people might hear us.
All of these things that we have told ourselves are true from the ways in which we have interpreted the world over the years and allowed those interpretations to cloud our visions, made more deep by the cultures and systems that we live in, inserted into our brains and keeping us going around and around and around on this treadmill of thinking.
I can see why I am exhausted. I can feel it in my head with the non- stop thinking from the moment my eyes open until at last I drift off to sleep at night. I can feel it all sitting in my neck and shoulders. That is the only part of my body that I ever feel. It is where I carry the stress and anxiety; I am not working hard enough, I will never get this done, I have so much to do, poor me, I can’t wear this, I shouldn’t eat that, I should do more exercise, I must do more. All of this of course within the 24 hour cycle of the masculine, inside the patriarchy, all working to push and squeeze women out of our bodies and into our brains where we can make endless lists of “shoulds” and “can’ts” and fears and anxieties, and all of this becomes our daily lives.
But fuck, where is the fun? Where is the pleasure? How can I find it? Where is it hiding?
The more I think about this (yes, the thinking continues), the more I start to understand the concept of the disembodied woman (or person). We live from the shoulders up, we have an unloving relationship with what is below. Patriarchy has told us our bodies are bad (ew bloody and ew cellulite and ew boobs that are being used for breastfeeding) and has told us that we have to achieve every day; write lists, tick things off, you have 24 hours, don’t fuck this up or you will prove that you are useless and should get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich.
Our eyes are glazed over with all of this disembodied thinking. And we are exhausted. We drink wine and watch Netflix to try and stop the thinking and we have become numb to pleasure.
So what are we going to do?
How can we stop all of this “hyper-masculine world” thinking?
For women, it is time for us to live from the neck down. We are fiery emotional beings. We are light and love and passion. We are the creators of all people. We bring things to life. And we have a dark side too. We are fury and disappointment and shame, and if we really feel those dark things, we can locate them in our bodies. When I feel anger, my heart beats fast and my stomach churns. If I allow myself to feel how it feels in my body without denying it, or bringing it to my brain to analyse it, then I can accept that I have light and dark in me and both are equally as worthy.
I am allowed to feel.
And so are you.
So maybe we don’t need to chop off our heads, but we need to start living in the rest of our bodies. Listening to the feelings.
The thoughts will always come and let them come and maybe disassociate from them by categorising them something like this:
Category A: thinking/worrying about the past
Category B: Making plans
Category C: general distaste of self
(oh yep, thought about that time I was awful in high school, category A, oops caught a glimpse of myself in that window and my hair is sticking out everywhere, great, category C, thanks for showing up, oh here comes another thought about planning another lesson. Thanks category B).
Just say thanks, and move on. Occasionally giving ourselves reminders that we are not our thoughts and our thoughts are not true; they are just conditioning.
And start tracking your cycle using an app or paper. Look for patterns in your cycle. Notice how different things make you feel and allow it.
Always remember, you are enough.
It is the world that is fucking crazy.