Finding your Flo
Read Part 1 of 2 (here) to learn more about the different bizarre century-old stigmas around menstruation and how it has led a woman like myself at age 45 to ignore how her own damn lady parts function. But now I am woke. So read on to learn more about how to weaponize your menstrual cycle.
Do you want to feel powerful, abundant, and radiant?
Can I get a Hells yes?
For so long I've been deaf to the harmonies of my body.
I didn’t understand how to work in sync with my hormone cycle.
I resisted it.
I turned my back on it.
I tuned it out.
At times I loathed the obstacles of my gender and femininity.
Yeah, I could build a human within my body, but what about all the other bullshit that came with being a woman?
I knew how to make the outside look good, but for some reason, the inner workings of my body remained a mystery. It was as if I had neglected my inner goddess and she had transformed into an angry, abandoned, old witch who was determined to make me suffer.
It was as if she was saying, “Ignore me, my precious, and I will make your life f-ing miserable!”
(Note to self: Googling “old witch” brings upon my eyes images I can’t ever unsee)
My husband had helplessly watched me suffer, especially after the birth of our second kiddo. He had felt the wrath of my unbalanced hormonal demon and had seen the discomfort and confusion I was experiencing on a regular basis. So many attempts to unlock the puzzle to my health led to disappointment and very little improvement.
Inevitably the days would tick off toward PMS and the radical and unpredictable other “Me” who would emerge.
After a total and complete meltdown on Halloween 2018, my husband took the kids trick-or-treating and I stayed home…and cried. The memory was stuck on repeat of my kids looking at me with alarm and sadness at my recent ugly tone and behavior.
Was this going to be my life until menopause?
The thought was hopelessly devastating.
It was time to up my game.
Soon I was committed to reclaiming my hormonal health. I read books and medical articles. I tried various vitamin combinations. I went to a naturopath, my gynecologist, I talked to my mom and my girlfriends. I did seed cycling. I tried hormone supplements and CBD. I did yoga. I rubbed testosterone cream on my undercarriage. I took progesterone capsules. I was even put in a trance to heal my ancestor's hormones. Eventually, I saw a psychiatrist and was given SSRI’s for the week prior to my period, which I tried for 2 months, then teetered into the abyss of mental deterioration.
This is not me.
(Note to self Googling "Drowning Woman" also a bad idea)
Finally, in crazed desperation, I agreed at the age of 44 to go back on the pill, per my gynecologist’s recommendation, as the one and only last solution to finding hormonal sanity. Is it bad that I have been mindlessly consuming it nearly non-stop since my teens? "It's the only solution you've got right now," she affirmed.
And it worked.
I was even keel.
I had non-existent libido– but the angry witch within didn’t cackle and scare my family anymore– so it was worth it.
I thrived in 2019 and 2020 was smooth sailing. (relatively speaking)
I had considered all throughout 2020 going off the pill, but the “what if I get cray cray again” fear was deafening.
Why can't I just be satisfied with how it is– and not test fate?
But a strong nagging sensation told me I shouldn’t ingest daily an artificial hormone into my aging body temple.
(...and what about my sex drive?)
How long do I keep doing it… until I transition into old-ladyhood?
I kept convincing myself that 2020 was certainly NOT the year to test the waters with anything that might cause me to fall off my rocker.
my husband, who was reluctantly intertwined in this journey with me, suggested I listen to the Gabby Reece Podcast with Alisa Vitti the author of the Woman Code.
(see link at the end of this post)
The man who had powerlessly watched me unsuccessfully navigate my hormone health became the ONE who found the solution. How ironic that it was a man that opens the doorway to restoring my feminine equilibrium.
On a road trip, we listened to the podcast together and as the landscape out the window whipped by my mind was opened to a new way of thinking about my female health. I was inspired with a new confidence, a new hope, a new clear vision of what I could do to tune into my body through diet, eliminating toxins, and becoming deeply involved with the workings of my body and its natural rhythms and cycles.
Was I crazy? Was this pure insanity to stop taking the pill and simply read this lady’s book and hope for the best?
It was hella risky.
Through the podcast, I was introduced to Alisa Vitti, the hormone guru who had successfully helped thousands of women naturally regulate their periods, get off the pill, alleviate PMS, get pregnant naturally, restore energy, improve moods, and turbocharge their sex drive.
Yes please. (not the pregnancy part, but everything else YES YES to the YES)
I ordered the book mid-podcast and nervously awaited its arrival knowing I was going to be ALL IN.
After the first chapter, my eyes were opened to how I have been blindly mistreating my precious body sanctuary for my entire life. I quickly learned to reframe my understanding of my own body’s messages. Symptoms I used to dismiss as normal or annoying were actually hormonal and needed tending to.
I had some Lady-Specific-Clues to unlocking my code and I was blatantly ignoring them or simply classifying them as shitty period symptoms. Mental and physical symptoms, digestion, skin, moods, cravings, and stress symptoms were all messages to help me understand my body. They were indications that my endocrine system was out of balance and
there were clear steps for how to do something about it.
I just had to collect the data and access my personal healing code.
Most issues can be traced back to my core dietary and lifestyle causes. I needed to sync my diet with each phase of my cycle. I made some small but significant changes. Detoxification was going to be key.
I ordered her supplement program designed to detox, harmonize, and energize my body which is synchronized throughout the 4 phases of the cycle. I downloaded her My Flo app for a few bucks and started diligently tracking my symptoms. The more data I put in the more detailed the solutions offered. It suggested foods, types of exercise, or actions to take to help support me.
I still had a few weeks until my LAST pill pack was done, but I was ready.
The countdown was on and...
I was scared to death.
Please please please don’t awaken the witch!
I started seeing a women’s health naturopath at Heal Grow Thrive in Bend, Or.
And the name of her practice became my mantra.
She did energy shifting on me to help alleviate the intense fear I had of becoming the unpredictable scary Mama– again. I did acupuncture 2xs a week and Epson salt baths while listening to hormone balancing meditations.
I got rid of every single product I put on or in my body with traces of toxic elements. I learned to read labels and understand which ingredients disrupt the female endocrine system. I learned to understand the 4 stages of my cycle and which foods would be medicine to support and nurture each phase. This was all news to me and I felt ashamed that I was clueless about the stages apart from menstruation and ovulation.
Here's a little breakdown...
Image created by Renee Greenland
Month one was rocky.
The detox of the artificial hormones was intense. My body was crying, it was hurting, it was purging. My uterus felt like it got stomped on and put back in my body and my nipples were like electric doorbells for weeks on end.
But I held strong. I was afraid, but hopeful too.
I suffered so much one day that I reached out to my gyno and asked her to put in a prescription for another pill pack. I was hanging on by a thread.
Would I make it?
But the next day was better and I made it through the synthetic estrogen detox, but what about when my own body took over?
Every day I did meditations to calm my nerves. Any type of out-of-sorts emotions felt like the old way of being might be surfacing and it was nerve-racking.
Month two was a little better.
Month three was great, but I was still holding my breath.
I write this on month four and I can confidently report that I feel consistently empowered, energized, and attuned with my feminine rhythms...
and my libido…well….let's just say it's better than ever.
Can I get a hallelujah?
This journey reminds me of one of the last scenes of the Disney movie Moana and the once benevolent island goddess, Te Fiti, whose heart had been stolen. She had been ignored and not honored for her divine feminine ability to create life…and so the islands were slowly consumed by darkness as she changed into the destructive lava monster Ta Ka. Once Moana replaced the Heart of Ti Fiti, the key to her healing, then the goddess within was released.
I had not honored the precious gift I had been given as a woman. My feminine soul had been shrouded in darkness, but now I have learned to honor and respect her, and tend to her soil so she can live abundantly and thrive.
If you find yourself getting sucked into believing that your body is a wild, confusing, shameful place that needs to be managed by an outside source or be medicated, controlled, and sterilized, then it’s time for a radical change. If you already have an intimate relationship with your womanhood then I salute you, lady warrior! Share what you know and let's have more conversations about our hormonal well-being.
Woman Code is a must-read if you have ovaries or you know someone who does.
Check out the podcast below