The Period Chronicles

I'm only writing this because I'm worried about Mike Pence. This is for his personal safety. I lived through many changes in our society but honestly, he's begging for a bruising. I need him to stop talking about my reproductive organs. It's none of his damn business.

Mike, do you not get that many, many women are pissed at you?

I recently joined a group called "Periods for Pols." Millions of women are angry and I can tell by what you say, you "don't know nothin' about periods." So, as my civic duty, I will take you on a tour of Ladytown. Why you don't know some of this already, especially at your age, tells me you have lived a sheltered life. Or had minimal contact with women. I'm sorry, your mother doesn't count.

Let's get started. By the way, for our tour, you might want to bring a change of undies. It can get scary.

My period started when I was thirteen. I was getting dressed for my tennis lesson and I was bleeding. I hated tennis and getting my period was such a good excuse to cancel. You can't wear white shorts with your period. I don't care what hygiene products tell you! I have seen those commercials with horse back riding (yeah, like that feels good) swimming--hahahahaha, and that sexy date in the slinky, where do you strap the heating pad?

Periods are painful, messy, stinky, often mind boggling, and a big part of women's lives. For a long time--on average about forty years. Long past the time you may want children or even sex. I, of course, am speaking only for myself on that point.

When I was young I was told that my period was like stepping through the looking glass. Try shattering said looking glass. It's a "gift" for a young woman, they said. What a gift! Because it only comes when you are going on vacation or have just bought expensive sheets. Or wear white pants! Periods are just a natural part of life, they said. Yes, I suppose they are. But it didn't "feel" natural to me. More like a zombie invasion.

Gentle readers...I hope you are all female. But, for the boyfriends or husbands, reading this, you know you need to laugh on the inside, don't you?

I once got my period in the middle of the night. I was with a man, I dearly loved and wanted him to remember the magic. We were in New York, fancy hotel, roses, champagne, but instead of sweet whispers in the morning, he was mumbling about "the only thing missing was the horse's head.'' Oh, he did love movies.

Or the afternoon that I meet with a new celebrity client about writing her cookbook and stained the lovely linen chair. Hey, here's a lifestylist's tip! Use club soda and scrub like the devil.

I so wish that story wasn't true.

I think the best story from all my years that I "naturally and luckily" had my period was when I was visiting my former agent's house. She was throwing an authors' retreat. I was sick from cramps, a long flight and a bad ham sandwich. Halfway through the day I went to "redress" and next thing I knew I was throwing up. This was food poisoning. A real double whammy. Her very sweet black labrador pushed open the bathroom door and retrieved my used lady products from the garbage can. I tried to get it back, I really did, but I didn't have the strength. I have no idea where she buried that evidence. I hope deep. Very, very deep.

So, Mike Pence: periods, birth control, babies, wanted or unwanted, I need you to back off. Or let me put it this way, "Please shut up." I think that's clear. I know I feel better. I will not allow you to destroy the progress women have made. Freedom financial or otherwise, comes from women having control over our own bodies.

My sisters and I will not allow you to banish us because we are unclean. Or perform tricks, when we are barefoot and pregnant. Or allow your influence to try and keep us down. We are not your camel, or chattel, or property - we are women.

Denise Vivaldo is the author of eight cookbooks, all available on Amazon.