I wrote this piece below a while back and it first made its debut on Instagram last year, but the themes in this writing are ones that still delight and intrigue me and so I thought I’d offer it up here too.
Recently I have felt like a time-traveller, simultaneously existing in and between two different temporal realms. One – menstrual time – is softening, yielding, spiralling, reflective and regenerative.
The other, let’s call it ‘clock time’ for now, can be hardening, brittle, linear and life-force sapping.
Menstrual time knows good timing; when to act and when to not. It has poise, pace and patience. A fractal aspect of all that spins and spirals, it is inseparable from the rhythms of this earth and cosmos and, as such, perhaps it is a direct line into the slow, ancient grind of tectonic plates and the quick, sweet eruption of cherry blossom. It is the green (and red) life of Change, knowing both steady, slow transitions and sudden, dramatic shifts.
Arriving full of urgency, when I land within menstrual time, the temporal landscape holds me oh-so-softly; shushing my fraught, rushed body into alignment with its gentle pulse. In contrast, clock time reminds me of the sensation of being on an escalator I can never exit or a train ride where I anxiously never quite manage to descend onto the platform any time that the train briefly stops at a station.
I have nothing against clocks. Before this pandemic, I wore one daily. I cannot deny their usefulness for ‘keeping time’ when facilitating a time-limited group or arriving at the ‘right time’ when meeting someone for a drink. The trouble with the clock is not the item itself, but the ways in which so many of us become leashed to it; our worth measured by what we can squeeze into an hour.
Priding ourselves on our efficient ‘use’ of this eternal tick-tocking, ‘clock time’ might be better called capitalist time, colonial time or industrial time. It’s too often the temporal landscape of time-is-money and bodies as machines.
Perhaps menstrual time is not one temporal landscape, but many? Holographic or perhaps web-like along multiple dimensions? I know that when I ride menstrual time, it feels as if my past, present and future are there all at once. My uterus like a nautilus shell, infinitely expanding both inwards and outwards or a lemniscate with one gyre in the past and the other in the future; the present at the knot.
I follow the curvature that stretches me back into the times of those that bled before me. Perhaps menstrual time is also ancestral time and mythic time?
I wonder, does an embodied shift into this realm allow our bodies to remember gnosis that might otherwise have been lost to colonisation, to witch hunts?
Though this idea enchants me, I am drawn back into the menstrual-future which is coiled inside of me. I channel the futurecrone of my menopause, who dreams of times where cyclic reciprocity enables greater collective care; where models for mutual aid and collective liberation work with and utilise this knowledge.
A future where menstrual dreaming and re/visions of the formally marginalised shape new landscapes beyond harm into ones where joy is centred. Where spiralic process is valued over forward-marching progress. Where the binary between those that menstruate and those who don’t is eroded in favour of a recognition that we’re all just cyclical beings trying to push back on a system that has forced us to be linear. Where we do not live on borrowed time, but belong to the great unfolding of Time and Change itself.
But for now I straddle the border. Unsteady. Bleeding on the edge of time. A time traveller funambulating, one foot in front of the other, longing to transmit these electric dreams to anyone who will listen. Calling and beckoning to any fellow time travellers, feral, cyclical ones: will you cross over to dream these futures with me?