Haha do I have PMS, you ask? Oh, I have more than PMS. Hormonal imbalances and an IUD that can make cramps feel like someone is squeezing my insides into a fist, and the erratic condition of an unreliable period that kind of comes and goes as it pleases, making its appearance a surprise almost every time. It’s a party!!!!!
One thing I know, though, is that by the time of its arrival, I always have an audible “Ohhhhhh, that’s why I cried three times on Monday” moment. In a way, it’s comforting. It’s an answer! The intense moods are not my personal volatility—they’re biology. A fact of life. A signal that the operating system is working smoothly. Relief.
I mention all this to tee up the below diary of a week in the life of my PMS, accompanied by the stylings of the wick-ed-ly-tal-en-ted one-and-only Monica Morales. Originally, this shoot was intended to accompany a narrative more directly correlated to Man Repeller’s theme of the month (I’ll remind you it is “chaos,” which now seems sinisterly befitting) but given the events of the past two weeks, and the new meaning to chaos we’re all pretty much learning, all the programming we had, erm, programmed, was put on hold.
I mention all this to tee up the below diary of a week in the life of my PMS, rendered for your bemusement. Consider it an act of solidarity for those who empathize, accompanied by the stylings of the wick-ed-ly-tal-en-ted one-and-only Monica Morales. (And as an FYI, I’ll just add that I tend to look less like these photos, and more like if you put these looks in a snow globe and shook them violently.)
Day 1: On the Verge of Screamin’ and Have No Clue Why 🥳
Dear Diary: Wow, today everyone hates me. And I also hate everyone? Not sure what that’s about. I probably just have gas. I eat a whole falafel pita for lunch from a shop in my neighborhood that’s still open, despite everything. It’s the size of my face. No regrets, but it does have gluten, and you know how that hits the lower intestine. Every time I go on Twitter, it makes me want to scream into a pillow. I should probably avoid it? I’ll be back in an hour.
I go to bed early, but first watch videos of kids handing adoption papers to their new dads. Ugly cry, but in a good way.
Day 2: My Boobs Have Grown a Cup Size Over Night and If You So Much As Jostle Them, It’s Over for You 🤖
When I wake up, my breasts feel like they did an aerobics class last night. They are also spilling out of my bra like misbehaving muffins. Now I know why I wanted to scream yesterday: The period cometh. The best thing I can do is put on a statement earring and an opera glove and call it a day, right? I don’t personally have either of these items, but I can dream. Wear no bra all day, lie prostrate, mostly. Eat a whole sleeve of Girl Scout cookies. Sleep late, then watch videos of celebrities putting on e-girl makeup.
Day 3: Curling Into a Ball Is the Only Thing I Am Capable of Doing Today Thank You 💁♀️
The cramps have arrived. I head to the bathroom cabinet and pop two Midol. While I wait for the pills to settle, I fold myself into a ball on my yoga mat and sing a Joni Mitchell song in my head. I didn’t have bad cramps like this before I got my IUD, but an IUD is really the only option for me, due to my hormonal situation, even if it gives me a lot of grief. That’s what it is to be a womyn, huh?
I see the world through my blue-light lenses today and go for a welcome walk at 7 PM around the reservoir in Prospect Park. The whole scene is desaturated except for a pair of white swans at the water’s edge. I cry because they’re so pretty.
Day 4: She’s Here!!! And So Are My Painkillers 💊
I wake up to a precious gift in my granny underwear, which I wear for this exact purpose. I tampon it up, pop two Midol, and make myself an extravagant breakfast of fried eggs and grits because the news made my chest tight this morning. I chill out with a CBD tincture I got from the office and watch episodes of The OC because I’ve never come across a more soothing balm in television form. I’m completely disconnected from their world, and I’m fully engrossed in it. My mom is from Chino and my dad is from Newport Beach, though. If you know, you know. We have to laugh. Sleep early and dream about Seth Cohen.
Day 5: Wearing a White Dress and Eating Chocolate SANS Napkin 🍫
I tend not to wear white on days when I have my period. I also tend not to wear white generally because it’s basically guaranteed that I will wear my food by midday. I’m feeling big and bad and bold today, so I’m wearing a WHITE button-down. I eat turkey chili and a chocolate bar and have only a small sliver of chocolate on my midsection, it basically looks like lint. My thumbs scroll idly through the funny parts of Twitter, and I think about bleeding. I go through four tampons. A long walk outside seems necessary, but I avoid the swans because I don’t want to cry. Instead I walk past a gray cat on the sidewalk with a collar that reads “Lily.” I scratch her back and a few tears happen anyway.
Day 6: In Full Period Swing and I’m Feeling Fine 😎
Day three of my actual period is when things start to calm down, and I’m cool as a cucumber. I’m radiant, actually. I’m glowing with youth and prosperity from my couch, swathed in a Homecoat. I work consistently and get a lot done and ride a high right into the New York Times website, where I spend the rest of the afternoon trying to think about how I can help my community. I do research for three hours and donate to two different organizations dedicated to helping bring food to the doorsteps of people who need them. I worry about elderly people who are incarcerated. I go through two tampons only and buy a pint of ice cream and carrots and cucumbers at the grocery store. I eat three-quarters of the pint of ice cream while watching Bon Appetit videos. Sleep normal.
Day 7: Sorry for the Weird Week Guys Haha Let’s FaceTime?
I think my period saga of the month may be over. I’m lucky to have a period that doesn’t last too long, though it does love to spot and make me think it’s over when it’s not. I really want to socialize today, so I ask three different people to FaceTime with me. I put on my best #goingnowherebutfuckitimgettingdressed duds. I flounce in front of a mirror. I do not feel the inclination to cry yet today. I text a handful of friends and plan a FaceTime picnic party for which I will bake my first tragic banana bread—who knows, maybe it won’t turn out so tragic. I love the people I know. I’m grateful to be alive, even on days where being a woman feels like suffering only. I’m still heartbroken for this world. But today, I’m baking banana bread and smiling at my neighbor as I throw out the trash.
Photographer: Tane Coffin represented by Viven’s Creative
Creative Director / Stylist: Monica Morales represented by DLM
Hair and Makeup Artist: Afton Radojicic represented by DLM
Model: Brooklyn Harrison represented by IMG