As a butch and drag king my femininity often gets buried beneath my dominant masculinity. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist it just is rare moments that I find myself expressing any kind of femininity, but I usually at least honor within myself once a month. (well I try to) There are many aspects of my femininity that cannot ever be erased such as motherhood and then there are some I choose to allow to remain as part of my cycles such as menstruation. I also honor the woman inside me that I call the “medicine woman” – I been practicing with medicinal homemade homegrown herbs for approximately 20 years on me, my child, and anyone seeking my guidance. I have some traditional medical training but to be honest a lot of it is self taught or I took a little class here and there along the way. I have been watching, assisting, and guiding my partner through her process of menopause through mood swings, hot flashes, and struggles with sex drives. As she transitions fully into a Crone I look to myself and where I am in that process. For the past 5 years my period has continually been delayed each month making the PMS last longer than needed and some months so bad I found myself considering the loony bin. There are times I wondered if I just didn’t have what other women had to pull through each month without extreme emotional upheaval. I am grateful for my partner for her wisdom with these struggles. In my readings for my partner I found that among some of the changes women begin to experience in peri-menopause is a delayed menstruation that creates a lul – leading to prolonged mood swings, bloating, and general exhaustion. I also, coincidentally, grow mugwort in my yard for many reasons but one reason is for medicinal purposes. I sometimes take it when cramps are debilitating, which means I usually take it once my period has started. But this time as I spotted a little bit and noticed that lul in my cycle I drank the mugwort tea.
Mugwort has been used among native tribes as a feminine herb to ease cramps and start delayed menstruation. Women in tribes would take this at moon lodges in heavy doses to produce “visions” to go along with their cycles. So as I finished the last of the sowing of seeds before the full moon I drank of this ancient feminine herb. When the moon was full and my system had a dose of this powerful herb I began to fully menstruate and my cycle was not delayed. What a relief and I was connected once again as a medicine woman through my feminine ways.
As I gratefully sat back in my practical masculine gardening clothes with a licorice stick hanging out of my mouth and a hot tamale at my side. I glared at the full moon and recognized that regardless of how society sees me in my gender expression or how I feel at most times of the month – right now I was fully feminine. I am fully a woman and I am hoping that mugwort will improve my monthly cycle experience and enhance my experience with the divine feminine. But even though I struggle with parts of my femininity at different times I must honor it every month and although its extremely hard at times – I am grateful for the experience. What doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger!