Female hormones - and all their glorious effects in adulthood - rarely get discussed in workplaces. Men dare not, preferring instead to keep comments limited to jokes in down time. Women dare not, lest a crack should show in our armory and we should be thought of as 'less' somehow.
When we are at work, most of us want to remain professional and are likely to keep our masks in tact. In the throws of some hormonal fluctuation, if we do manage to keep the mask in place, often the inner dialogue is slightly less than professional. Our patience and tolerance are diminished - outwardly we might smile and nod, if you are lucky, but inwardly we are rolling our eyes, seething and thinking "how dare they..." or " I just don't have time for this crap".
At home though we tend to let the mask slip. Those around us know first hand the effects these potent chemicals have with such regularity.
Last week I found myself verbally unleashing momentary rage upon my kids for, well, being kids – making a mess, bickering, screeching at the first sign of anything blocking their flow; how dare they? Like Bruce Banner becoming the Hulk, I just flipped.
Joking aside, one day I am at peace with everything around me, not easily flustered by much at all, the next I have all the tolerance of a pea. Out of the blue there are scripts playing in my head that have been silent for a few weeks, basically blaming everyone around me for their selfishness and insensitivity. I hear myself chuntering all the same things I used to hear my mother say, getting sucked into a vortex of thoughts, stories that reaffirm my righteousness.
Then I observe with wonder and incredulity. Why did I speak to my children in such a way? “They’ll not trust me if I’m not consistent” I thought, then, “don’t blow it, you are meant to be their safe haven". The grip subsided, started to dissipate. “Goodness girls” I said, “I’m so sorry, that wasn’t nice at all huh? “ They reaffirmed and I apologised, again.
In the next moment, one of them spilt something on the floor and the mad lady was back. “How dare you?” I cried. To myself I thought “stop, just stop, that is enough”. Exhausted I decided we had to switch it up, get some fresh air and burn off some energy.
Good move. The energy I’d tuned into was so dense, it was pulling me down. Out in the sun enjoying the kids playing at the park, a modicum of tranquility returned as my energy found a different wavelength to tune to, my inner stillness. Thank goodness I practice regularly tuning into that inner stillness when I’m not so emotional; it helps me to find it when I am.
I have heard it said that – at various points in the hormonal cycles – females are susceptible to the energy of female persecution through the ages, something I thought sounded totally farfetched when I first heard it. However, given we are always creating energy, and that all energy created hangs around, in a hormonal state I obviously give off some bad vibes and attract more. Rage certainly seems to spring from nowhere.
I’m not sure that we can even blame biology for the hormonal state, because anthropological studies show that cultures vary in the way a woman’s hormones affect them. In societies where the females have been cherished, the emotional and physical state we recognize as ‘premenstrual’ or ‘menopausal’ does not exist.
This leads me to the cultural expectations that we get locked into from a young age. Women going periodically schizo (I don’t mean this distastefully, there is no better phrase to describe the constant and extreme switches in emotional state), arguments ensuing and men rolling their eyes and sanctimoniously saying “ah, it’s that time again is it?” all reinforce the energy hanging around.
Even in the workplace you can be sure everyone is thinking that when a female seems to ‘lose the plot’.
With two girls growing into this world I am sensitive to the things that they can take on that remove them yet another step from their innocence – or ‘inner sense’. For really, that natural state that children come into this world with is the natural state within all of us. It’s the one I tune into when I practice mindfulness or meditation.
If we can simply be the space in which these strong emotions arise, allowing them to be without attaching thought to them, they start to dissipate.
While I’d rather not be schizo mum, at least I am at a point where I recognize it and try to catch it now. I apologise for it if I don’t catch it in time, and I hope that I’ll get better and better at simply being the space for that energy to pass through me like a wave and dissipate, it’s as important for my own wellbeing as it is for that of my kids.
Still today I know female persecution exists, but for most of us, if we can start to let go of the hurts of the past, the bad vibes will have no place to exist anymore, they will dissipate and we can free ourselves of this taboo and move forward.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn.
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