I never thought I could be passionate about periods, but after seeing a hilarious and heartfelt show at this year’s Fringe festival called ‘My Greatest Period Ever’, I’m considering it. Lucy Peach along with her sweetly attentive husband balance witty self-disclosures, songs, stories diagrams and cartoons to tell the epic monthly tale of a period - in a way that has every woman hooting with recognition and relief.
Honestly this is the stuff I wish I’d learned as a teenager. It might have set me up for decades of appreciation and respect for the wisdom of my body, rather than sheepishly suffering whilst trying to ‘get on with life’.
Lucy reflects that as teenagers our first period is the mark of meeting our power as women.
Through the next decades of menstruating we get to practice our power as women.
And when we reach menopause we finally own our power as women.
Many of us have learnt by social convention to see menstruation as an inconvenient necessity or something to endure. Lucy invites us to understand the unique power and possibility of each phase of our monthly cycle, so we can feel entitled to rest rejuvenate and dream during our low energy phases and maximise our output and creativity in the high energy phases.
As feminine entities we fall in synch with nature through our cycles and just like the weather we have intense changes of state, mood and energy. While at times it can be wild and unpredictable (hello PMS!) once we understand the rhythm, we can begin to harness the forces of the ebb and flow and use that knowledge to make significant choices/actions (or hold off on making them!)
Here is a short synopsis of how to understand and work with each phase (not to be replaced by seeing the show next year!):
So, our monthly cycle starts at day 1 when we first bleed (assuming we are not using hormonal contraceptives that may change or pause the cycle):
The average length of each woman’s cycle is 28 days (though it can be a few days more or less)
Day 1 – 7 is the ‘Dream’ phase. This is a chance to get cosy and inward as our energy and estrogen levels are low. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the previous month and what we’d like to let go of or begin anew in the next month. Ideally, we allow ourselves to dream about the possibilities whilst being snuggled with a cuppa and some delicious treats. Lucy says having a period is like a biological verge collection for everything that is unnecessary in our life. Along with the lining of the womb, we can clear out the cobwebs and anything else that isn’t serving us in life.
Days 8 – 14 is the ‘Do’ phase. This is when our estrogen levels slowly start rising to peak by day 14 for ovulation. This gives us energy and a sense of purpose to become box ticking queens - taking action, attending to details, organising, cleaning.. Lucy reckons she can get a little manic during this phase and slightly scare her husband and kids with a superhuman efficiency in colour-coding, multitasking and reuniting mis-matched socks. If you’ve got important stuff to do, save it for this phase!
Days 15 - 21 is the ‘Give’ phase. We’re still riding relatively high on estrogen for the early part of the week before it passes the baton to progesterone, and this can be a productive time from a softer more heartfelt space. It’s the time where you tend to have a lot to give to others, the inspiration to contact and connect with friends and want to be available and generous with your time. Lucy warns against making too many scheduled commitments during this week, which your future self may resent. Don’t let this phase take complete control of your calendar!
Days 22 – 28 is the ‘Take’ phase. This is where those niggling irritations start rising to the surface and amplifying to epic proportions. Estrogen and progesterone levels are falling (if you are not pregnant), and the shine of life is dulled. ‘You’ve got zero F*cks to give’. Lucy recommends using this phase to log recurring themes. If something is really bothering you - now is not necessarily the time to act but certainly to take notice. Wait another cycle or two and if it’s still bothering you, harness the power of the next ‘Do’ phase to make productive changes.
There are so many more gems to discover in each phase, hopefully this glimpse encourages you to see the next season of ‘My greatest Period Ever’
You can follow this link to a blurb of Lucy’s fringe show in 2019.