Thursday, May 11, 2006

warning: nothing to do with India, and a mention of menstruation

Sometimes, on a gray day at the right moment during one’s hormonal cycle, one can feel a bit sad, a bit, well, mopey, for no real reason. In “Consciously Female”, a book by the medical director of Duke’s Center of Integrative Medicine, the author suggests that there’s a real societal bias against such mopiness (my word, not hers.)

Bear with me a moment.

I get up early generally, but it’s got to be with the light. I don’t like getting up in the dark. At the moment, I’m on a schedule I really like. Up at 6, writing by 6:20-6:30, out of the house for work by 7:30. There’s light outside at 6.

Just this morning, I was patting myself on the back regarding my disciplined habits. Then I remembered the equinox, the turn of the season that comes so soon. June does not equal winter in most people’s minds, but it’s the turning point, and the days will get nothing but shorter.

I don’t know how I’ll adjust my morning schedule next November, and this makes me angry. Suck it up. Get up early in the dark, even if you feel like a near-sighted mole fumbling in a dark claustrophobic cave. Work will not start later just because the sun takes its time coming up.

But why not? Why are we so…inflexible? Why can’t I be dreamy and a bit introspective for a week out of the month without reinforcing all negative PMS stereotypes? Why aren’t work hours shorter during the winter, when the days are short and our energy levels low?

Before the advent of air-conditioning, Washington used to shut down in the summer. Everyone got a break and headed to the cool hills, or at least stayed home close to fans. Farmers repaired machinery during the winter, stayed home and close to the hearth, venturing outside only for those necessary daily chores. Some public schools now start in early August, even the southern ones.

We live very far away from natural rhythms these days.

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