I was scrolling through headlines when the story caught my attention: yet another school shooting had resulted in yet another fatality. A young girl was dead at the hands of a classmate, her parents shattered by grief, her community forever changed. I felt undone. It was only 8:00 but I put myself to bed immediately, where I commenced with sobbing.
The next morning I got my period.
Ever since I was 12 years old, when I suddenly and inexplicably started despising my best friends for an imperceptible insult, the primary symptom of my monthly menstrual cycle has been extraordinary emotionalism. Other women get cramps; I get hysterical. I’ve learned to be almost thankful for my solitary physical symptom. If not for the tell-tale bloat that makes it nearly impossible to button my jeans, I wouldn’t be able to convince myself that I’m not deeply depressed or off my rocker. I’ve spend many a menstrual period making amends, having realized that I didn’t really despise my best friends nor, in more recent years, intend to divorce my husband. It was the hormones talking.
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