There are different routes to keeping calm and being pampered in the lesbian world. Some take up shopping, hard partying, keeping a harem, body modification, eating, drinking, serial hook-ups, becoming chefs, what have you. Others seek out the de-stress, de-clutter, slow-down-the-mind route through a practice of yoga, martial arts, expressive arts therapy, stuff that engages body+mind. Whatever the route, it’s about becoming grounded and anchored internally because that’s the only thing that helps to deal with the challenges of our internal self, our life and of course, loving women.
Getting grounded is a process, not a place and it takes work, whether on the yoga mat, in a kayak, writing, cooking, walking out onto that big catwalk, or standing under the improv spotlight — WHATEVER it is that we do to become grounded — we have to work at being grounded every day, all the time, like breathing and learn to be in the moment as we do it. Whatever THAT means. It’s been explained to me by a long, long, long line of guru-types who use different words to say the same thing: be here now, be present in this moment, find your zone, your point of now: the past is done and can’t be changed, the future is not here and will never be here; all there is an ever-unfolding now, so just be here now.
A slight detour: This be here now credo does NOT work in the business world, where most people cannot or do not take time to breathe which is kind of important since oxygen is necessary for brain work and thinking clearly is brain work. It’s possible that if everyone breathed properly then they’d be able to think clearly and if everyone started to think clearly, well, we’d be in trouble wouldn’t we? Not only in the business world, but in the lesbian world too.
But I digress.
I was thinking that it’s all good this be here now, be present in the moment and how Time and Space are not exactly real; past, present and future are human inventions to help organize our dating and closets. I was thinking about all that when oh joy, oh bliss my thinking got derailed bigtime: Apparently I did not receive the notice that I was on a collision course with my hormones. If you’ve ever tried to battle monkey mind when PMS hits, when all the women you know are on the same cycle, you KNOW what I’m talking about. Monkey mind swinging from branch to branch.
My mind went somewhere else entirely. I went from happy wondering to the Dark Princess of Grrrr in a heartbeat, thinking … get real: be here now is a really good way to keep people where they are — isn’t it — because we in the West don’t understand the whole notion of what it means and how interesting that there are so many similarities to some ancient Egyptian practices and is there ever anything new, ever?? and you’ve got to be kidding me about Atlantis as the place where some yoga practices started. How can anyone know that? Why are ancient grains and ancient practices considered superior exactly??
It was a VERY bad moment — Monkey Mind ricocheting off the trees.
Even deep yogic breathing didn’t work. Past, present and future crowded in demanding attention. It didn’t seem to matter that two seconds ago I could walk and talk at the same time, that I was a fully capable human being, a woman, a lesbian who is generally thoughtful and quiet and who can reason her way out of a pink paper bag easily without compartmentalizing a darn thing. NONE of that mattered. Those effing proteins in my brain turned that dark corner, dragging my entire self-reliant lesbian self down that dark laneway. I no longer felt capable, lovable or even adult: I needed to curl up under the covers until the feeling passed.
When one of those monster PMS times hit I don’t make decisions, I do not think out loud and I avoid engaging with the enemy: I do not go anywhere near a mall, see sad movies, look at pictures of puppies or kittens, or listen to the news. I also don’t talk very much. I do grrr at people who tell me to relax and point to the studies that say it’s actually not helpful to tell someone who’s tense to relax. If I extrapolate that out it could also mean that it doesn’t work to tell someone to stay calm when they aren’t, or get smart when they’re dumb. Just not gonna happen.
It is also not going to work when well-meaning souls say, “I hear you, but let’s be rational” which is (wait for it) a sly, seditious thing to say, is it not?
I don’t say a thing, but well-meaning souls have told me that on such occasions, they swear they only see my eyebrow arch a titch and while my lips never part in order for me to speak, they say they distinctly hear me deep in their brains saying: “are you telling me I’m being irrational? Moi? Are you telling me — Ice Queen beyond Ice Queens — to be rational? How am I not being rational? What exactly am I doing or saying that strikes you, the annointed arbiter of my behaviour, as irrational? Do, please, enlighten me about my irrationality?”
If hormones mess with my mind surely they can mess with other minds too, no?
Fact is, estrogen affects the brain: there are marked physiological changes in the few days leading up to having your period and research by women is showing that women are affected to varying degrees by these changes in ways that perhaps we really don’t want to hear about. I hate it.
So for a variety of reasons, including the ability to tame monkey mind, I work to be present, to be mindful. I work to be in the moment to remain grounded so that when my hormones incite my primitive brain I don’t get too caught up in it.
But sometimes, by virtue of my chromosomes, and goddess only know what else, that dark corner thing happens. And when it does, that be here now, of the moment thing? That just for today thing? That whole take-care-of-this-moment-and-it-will-take-care-of-the-next-moment and it-all-will-unfold-as-it-will as a way to stay grounded in the moment? Ya right. Here’s my PMS lesbian answer to that: