Elaine Lui on Breaking up with Marin (a.k.a. Her Period)

Elaine Lui’s period has a v. chic name—but lately she’s been a total monster

Elaine Lui Lainey Gossip

(Illustration: Bijou Karman)

I have known Marin for more than 30 years. I used to not be able to imagine my life without her. I never wanted to imagine my life without her. Now I think about a life without Marin all the time. I think about wanting her to never come back. I wonder if this is a betrayal, not only of Marin but of myself. Marin is my period.

Marin and I met late in the summer before I turned 10, but I never named her until a year and a half ago, when it became obvious to me that we were in a relationship. As is often the case, sometimes you don’t even know you’re in a relationship until it changes, the transformation illuminating not only the differences but its actual existence. If I were interested in having children, Marin is the name I would give my daughter. Marin for Marin County, Calif., the home of George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch; there’s a redwood grove nearby that was used as the location for Endor, the Ewok planet, in Return of the Jedi. I was obsessed with Ewoks as a kid. Marin means “of the sea” in Latin. My Marin is the flow (away) of all my potential babies.

The very first time I encountered her, Marin expanded through my lower body like a mysterious cloud—dense, heavy and humid through the week, and finally breaking on a Friday, which was fortunate for my father, who was single-parenting me at the time, as I was spending that weekend at his sister’s. She would explain to me how to manage Marin, although she never did explain what it would be like to be constantly worried about her. During those early years, I worried about Marin a lot—I worried about her arrival embarrassing me at school, especially with horrible Phil Dingley (not his real name but you can imagine what a Phil Dingley might be like) sitting behind me in class and then, later on, I worried about her not arriving after all the times I was too horny and too stupid to use protection. Like with my first serious boyfriend in his basement, after his mom had gone to bed. Or that time I was 17 in Aruba with that guy from the resort who took me to a private beach on his scooter. (This was when I realized that beach sex is not as sexy as they make it out to be in the movies.) Marin returned to bail me out both of those times. She’s bailed me out a lot. And every time she’s saved me, every time I looked down and saw her after days of desperately needing to see her, talking to her in my head, “Please, please will you just come, please?” I always imagined her reaction: “I’m back, you stupid asshole. When are you going to stop this shit?”

I figured it out, eventually. But still, through my 20s and even after I got married, when my husband and I decided we didn’t want kids, I’ve associated Marin with gratitude. Because Marin was just so dependable. Until she wasn’t.
Ever since I can remember, Marin came for three days, every 25 days. Until recently, Marin’s greatest qualities were that she honoured my obsession with punctuality and that she was always consistent, personality-wise. In April 2015, however, she started behaving differently. I mean, she’s never been easy; she brings the usual bloat and cramp, but this time, she was also making me dizzy. It was so bad, I could barely stand; I had to miss work and I never miss work. The next month, I was dizzy again. It wasn’t as severe as the first time, but it was undeniable: Marin had decided, without consulting me, to modify the terms of our relationship. I felt vulnerable and compromised by the most responsible presence in my life. Which is why I started calling her Marin. Because now that I wasn’t sure who she was anymore, I had to identify the entity that was causing the upheaval.

Marin resumed her old steadiness after those two incidents. But I no longer trusted her. My suspicions were confirmed this past May when she showed up like a storm, raging through me so hard I almost fainted again at work. The dizziness was serious enough that I couldn’t drive home and I couldn’t get out of bed the next day. She was, as Greta Gerwig says in No Strings Attached, “a crime scene in my pants.”

The following month, she came with double the power, so much so that she burst through my shorts during a friend’s dinner party, onto a white leather chair. And she wasn’t done. Marin returned just 18 days later, a full week ahead of schedule, and blew through an entire box of tampons in 48 hours. After that, she gave me a relatively calm July. It felt like she was mocking me, saying that I would need my strength for what was about to happen next.

What happened next was that she arrived on time, cruelly, during an August heatwave, with so much intensity that I ended up passing out on the sidewalk while walking home after dinner.

The medical explanation for all of this is that my hormones are changing; it’s called perimenopause. Marin, then, is changing. She has become the dictator of our relationship. Which is why I’m considering whether I might be done with her. Since I don’t want kids, knowing that it’ll soon be impossible for me to produce any is actually exciting. Sometimes I wonder if I can put in a request to skip the whole perimenopause thing. Like, I don’t need an appetizer. I’m good with getting to the entree right away.

I think Marin knows this. I think she knows that I’m over her. So she’s putting up a good fight. But my body is ready for a new phase and Marin isn’t invited. It turns out that I’m the one abandoning her. And it feels good to be in charge, for once.

Elaine Lui appears on The Social and eTalk, is the founder of Lainey Gossip and the author of Listen to the Squawking Chicken.

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