A GIRL WitH a BIG AppEtiTe
Day two of the period – once the cramps start subsiding, a vivid
appetite kicks in, to pleasure a bottomless pit with a variety
of flavours and textures which we really like!
I was 6 years old, my mum and a neighbour were chatting at the doorstep. Among the general neighbourhood report, she could happily share with my mum that a pregnant neighbour, a couple of houses away can't stop eating charcoal and cardboard. My mental system probably should have been protected from that information as I still remember the bafflement both in my mum and myself. Years later I learned that the condition is called PICA – the Latin for MAGPIE which is known for eating almost anything!
Luckily, period food carvings are more flavorous and colourful than chalk and dirt cravings. Here, Wee Ling Soh gives us the low-down on her typical food cravings over a 24-hour period.
08.05 >> I’m having potato chips on sandwich bread for breakfast just because I can. Adulting at its most glamorous because I can’t resist the temptation of yesterday’s half-opened pack of deep ridged barbecue chips. Wash it down with coffee and I’m good to go.
Period aches are bad but not the worst. The worst is sticky blood-stained knickers on equally-stained sheets, a recurring theme of my post-puberty life. So I’m feeling bloated, fugly and worrying about leaks, yet stuffing myself with potato chips when I know I won’t feel any better 15 minutes later.
09.46 >> I’m not sure why but I feel like eating something salty and crackers just don’t do the trick. I had one and it was dry and not what I have in mind. Half a dozen oysters on the half shell would have been perfect though, briny, slippery and tasting of the sea. But who eats oysters as a mid-morning snack? Not even our uncle in Lyon who has been polishing off at least a dozen (or two) once a week over the years.
Sugary treats don’t usually appeal to me. Unless it’s this one particular doughnut from a Japanese doughnut chain and I know I can’t get it here in France. It’s not the next best thing but here I am eating ice cream with a spoon out of the tub at 12.22 as I mindlessly watch American reality TV on my laptop.
Sometimes I wonder do most girls have a sweet tooth or are they just drawn to sweets because romantic comedies say it’s ok to help yourself to a tub of ice cream in your pjs when you are feeling down and on your period?
17.05 >> calls for some chocolate to go with my cup of tea. That’s me some days when there is still some chocolate-dipped ginger confits left in the house. Or when I’m out of those spicy pickled mango from Thailand.
Bad luck if you are craving pineapple though. Traditional Chinese Medicine says “cooling” food such as pineapple and watermelon are best to be avoided during menstruation. Eat it and you’ll get a heavier flow, or so our mothers tell us. I never really cared for it and eat whatever I like anyway.
20.17 >> Dinnertime strikes. I want a cheeseburger so badly it hurts that the nearest fast food restaurant is one metro station away. I know I shouldn’t be eating junk food but there is nothing more I want in the motherland of gourmet cheese than that semi-gooey slice of processed cheese on beef patty and pickles. Does eating at a decent hour make this any better?
Tom yum instant noodles at 02.04 >> That’s me more often than not. Do you call it binge eating if you are actually hungry and it’s been four hours since you last ate?
There’s nothing tastier than a comforting bowl of hot soupy noodles past midnight before going to bed — spicy, chockfull of MSG’s umami goodness with just enough of a tart and tangy kick cutting through it all.
Am I the only person who craves to eat something bitter? It’s an acquired taste of a craving that became apparent as I grew older. Add a few thin slices of bitter gourd to my instant noodle soup and it’s perfect. Except that it has a bad rep for increasing menstrual flow. I eat it all the same.
Tomorrow’s a brand new day. Not going to fight the cravings because I know I give in to them but won’t go overboard. Also there’s plenty of other better things to fight about
than resisting food that you want to eat – unless if it makes you happy, of course.
Wee Ling Soh is a freelance travel & lifestyle writer and photographer, based in Paris.
a RoSE is a ROsE iS A roSe
A long-overdue and personal admission to the PMS powers & influences.
With a little help of well founded ‘science’ of flower symbolism, we would
like to finally accept that Premenstrual Syndrome is incredibly common.
For the final part of the ‘Flower Series & The Female Monthly Cycle, I read up more on the known meanings of different rose colours and what they each symbolise. The emotive encyclopaedia is quite enticing but I can’t help wondering where the origins of these metaphors come from.
‘1. By mixing rose blooms of different colours purposefully, you can create a bouquet of emotions. A random mix of roses would convey mixed feelings or send a message: “I don't know what my feelings are yet but I sure do like you enough to send you roses." – 2. Red roses convey deep emotions. – 3. White flowers are generally associated with new beginnings and can be used to convey sympathy or humility. – 4. Yellow Roses are an expression of exuberance. They evoke sunny feelings of joy, warmth, –welcome and caring. – 5. An orange rose reminds us of a fiery blaze and signify passion and energy. Orange roses can be used to express intense desire, pride and fervour. – By The Flower Expert
On a hot, sunny summer day, in north London, we carefully placed and replaced a selection
of voluminous roses for that perfect mirror reflection. Some of the roses were left intact in their whole bloom and some trimmed and chopped with a kitchen knife, to show the tight layers of fresh petals – layers of beauty and fragility, side by side.
By letting the petals have a hide and seek dance with the frameless mirrors, we hope to retell the ambiguous reality of the flood of mixed emotions, experienced by many girls and women during the monthly cycle and particularly the pre-period days. Often these mixed feelings are so subtle and swift in their presence that it’s difficult to pinpoint their true meaning and origins.
At a first glance, it is not easy to distinguish the rose reflection from the original object. The fuzzy mirror reflection of the roses aims to highlight the feelings of uncertainty and whether mood swings are the true representation of one’s true self or just
a passing phase of 24 - 48 hours (or longer) of hormonal ebb and flow.
There is an estimate of 150 Common psychological, behavioural and physical symptoms, all caused by hormonal changes and the intensity of these changes depends on age.
Similar to the lack of science in the meaning and emotive symbolism of rose colours, research in the Premenstrual Syndrome - PMS also known as Premenstrual Tension - PMT remain to be poorly funded and unfortunately filled with gaps in medical knowledge.
The National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome explains the precise causes of PMS have still to be identified but there is compelling evidence that symptoms are directly related to the fluctuation of hormone levels in the monthly cycle.
Although difficult to admit that the cycle can have that much of an impact on my general mood, I have learned to admit and be aware of any blues in relation to my period.
As part of the ‘Personal Stories’ relay, the Director & Photographer Kate Cox created the video piece ‘Lacuna’ in which, she leads the viewer into an womb-like world, where the signature flowers of the flower triptych ‘The Garden of Her Delight’ come to life in a personal, yet abstract visual diary of menstruation.
Often in the dialogue of the period, all emphasis are on the visible days, understandably the pain and the stigma around it. Ooh Any Day Now shifts the attention away from the 'visible days' and is interested in the monthly cycle in its entity. Most importantly it actively chooses to look at this subject in a more relaxed, normalised and holistic view.
As they are emotionally loaded – their mere existence certainly brings out mixed emotions.
You are either anxiously waiting for it to arrive, only to release the bodily tension that has been mounting for the last couple of days. Or you may really badly want it to arrive as you don’t have any plans for parenthood as yet. You promise yourself to be more sensible in the future and beg to the higher powers to make it happen. Because you know that if it fails to arrive, your path will change temporarily or for a more (dramatic tone), everything will change for ever!
You are trying to become parents and the repeated monthly arrival is nothing but a frustrating disappointment – to say the least.
Either regular or irregular you most likely can sense the intensity in your body and know that it should be arriving any day now.
Other times, its unanticipated arrival can be just before that longed for beach holiday or that crisp white linen dress, planned to wear.
It is expected even when it’s not fully expected. It’s loved and loathed but never neglected. And its powerful presence ensures a myriad of emotions.
THE GaRDEN Of HeR DELIGHtS
Personal Stories – Part I. Two flower triptychs are expressions
of the intimate but familiar experiences of three female
London creatives, around menstruation.
Through the eternal language of flowers and blooms and a careful selection by Worm London, these arrangements describe Katie's and Terri's personal disposition towards the three markedly powerful phases of the period cycle; #pre the days prior to #during the shedding #post the first days right after the period.
In an ongoing flower series around the monthly cycle, Ooh Any Day Now initiated a relay of visual dialogue on the personal body & mind experiences around this powerful and recurring ‘Happening’, by inviting the Flower Stylist duo Worm London to a collaboration.
As part of this relay the Director and Photographer Kate Cox was also invited to document the floral creations through her truthful lens – along with a short film. COMING SOON...
With centuries of inherent symbolism, the circular and short lifecycle of flowers perfectly mirror the repeating act of the monthly cycle and ovulation. Most importantly, the fragility and yet malleability of flowers oblige a certain admiration, carefulness and attention.
It is the qualities of admiration, carefulness and attention that are the very basis of Ooh Any Day Now.
The art of celebrating the monthly cycle and slowing down a few days of the month, only to pay more attention to one’s body and its functions.
COMING SOON – The flower selection with their symbolism, through the voice of Katie & Terri.
A team of female creatives are being boastful about the genius monthly cycle and the complex interplay of female hormones, female strength and all the rest of it. In pain and in awe of the rather cute and conscientious manufacturing of the ovaries, Ooh Any Day Now is constantly reminded of the female form, the persistence of the monthly cycle and the female body strength and engineering.
Pondering on the necessity and the functions of menstruation, I can't help to be reminded of the powerful sculpture ‘Unique Forms of Continuity in Space’ 1913, by Umberto Boccioni and its expression of movement and fluidity and human strength – in this case the strength and resilience constantly taking place in a woman's body, month after month, child birth after child birth.
The narrow path and tunnel of the female eggs' monthly journey, during the cycle is almost a reminder of the lifespan of flowers with their resistant malleability and delicacy.
Here we used Fritillaria Persica, Scabiosa, Carnation and fresh Mint leaves and composed them – sprouting out – heavy metal hardware and high quality industrial blades.
We love dearly the high tech machinery of the menstrual cycle and the persistent ovulation of the recurring cycle – month after month. Like a quiet but painful merry-go-round it is in full action whilst we go about our lives.