February 18, 2021

Leaving Behind the Red Tent: When our Cycle comes Full Circle.

You’ve been with me since I was little.

And, just like the moon and the earth, you and I have cycled together.

I’ve called you “my period,” as did Margaret, the character from Judy Blume’s book Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I’d fall asleep reading—preparing myself for your arrival.

I believed I’d be ready for you, but that wasn’t the case—no fault to Margaret.

I was young, and I didn’t appreciate you then. Your presence put curves on my body I hadn’t wanted. I strapped my chest inside two sports bras to survive the tenderness. And with all that cramping and mood swinging, I assumed you were out to get me.

You had awful timing, too—showing up on my wedding day. I mean, you could have waited.

I’m not sure how, though, or when it happened, but you managed to make me love you. Maybe, I’d grown up and understood you better. Or, perhaps, I needed your monthly reminders to slow down, take it easy, and sip my tea.

Most likely, though, it was the female characters from The Red Tent by Anita Diamant who opened my heart. They unearthed the blessings of the female spirit—the divine feminine. Within a structure designed for cycles of birthing, menses, and illnesses, they celebrated mothers, daughters, and the mysteries of the life cycle.

Their secret sisterhood altered my perception of what it is to be a woman.

And when you returned to me after I had my children, I fell for you—deeply. You echoed the voices whispering in the wind, and your visits aligned with the fullness of the moon. You told me everything was as it should be, that we are a part of everything—a message I’d ached to hear from the universe.

I admit I haven’t always listened or been kind to my body, but I’ve tried to live in synchronicity with what you’ve revealed. I’ve been the shallow water drawn into a mounting wave and I’ve twirled with the wind on a cold, stormy day.

For the gifts you’ve given of oneness and nurturance, I thank you.

And, now, our cycle together has come full circle. I must say, you’ll be missed. This isn’t because I’ve become older and grayer, or that I can’t conceive children any longer. Although, those are both true and unsettling.

I’ll miss you because it’s been a beautiful rotation together. And endings, I’ve come to understand are losses.

In Necessary Losses, Judith Voirst shares: “The lives we lead are determined, for better and worse, by our loss experience.”

We learn that each developmental stage—from childhood to old age—brings challenges and a conclusion. For the sake of emotional and spiritual growth, we must leave behind pieces of ourselves, outgrowing what was once loved is necessary and natural.

Letting go, however, is the hard part. Yet, it is the essence of the human experience.

In this light, it’s time for me to release my grip upon you, even though, I know, parting ways with you is a parting with myself too.

I mustn’t wish for an earlier time or a more youthful version of myself. I must leave behind the little girl in the red tent, as to become one of its elders—this is what’s called upon me.

I will share the mystical wisdom you’ve bestowed, and I will pass along the dance we did with the moon, too.

And, in the evening, when it’s quiet, I will listen to the earth rumble and look up toward the moon in the night sky.

I’ll sip my tea slowly, and revel in the delight of being a woman.


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