the Little Red Reviewer

A post for my fellow lady bloggers

Posted on: November 10, 2020

Fellow lady-bloggers, I need your insight on something, because maybe you have had a similar experience as me.

Gents, you are welcome to read as well, but this is not a conversation for you, as you’ll see.

 

 

Sisters, lets talk about reading and blogging and PMS. Specifically, do you react more emotionally to books, to #allthefeels, to angsty stuff in books, when you are PMSing? Do you write more emotional reviews / blog posts when you are PMSy? Do you notice when it is happening?

 

Like, earlier today I finished a novel where the main character dies at the end. It wasn’t a surprise, in like the 2nd chapter, the main character tells the reader that they are dead at the end of the book. There was literally no other way for this book to end, except for the character to die. So what did I do when I got to the end, and this person, who isn’t really a likable person, dies? I burst out in ugly sobs, of course. Thanks PMS. I won’t tell you the book, because that is a huge spoiler for people who haven’t read it.

 

Also, my PMS can be fucking brutal*. I get every single emotion at once, and on a scale of one to ten, they are at about fourteen. This lasts for about five days, and I usually figure out what’s going on on like day three, when I realize I’ve said “about to cut a bitch” six times in one sentence. And it’s hard to describe in specifics to a doctor or to anyone really, because I have no idea how I compare to anyone else. Are my mood swings less or more than the medical average? Um, how the fuck would I know? Does eating high fiber vegetables, meditating, avoiding caffiene and alcohol, and putting my life on hold for 5 days help? Actually, yes. Do I have the flexibility in my life to do that for 5 days every month? Omg, that’s hilarious. Especially the part about avoiding caf and alc!

 

(what does seem to help? allowing the mood swings to happen, not feeling ashamed of them, and thousands of calories of carbs)

 

Honestly, for all I know my PMS is off the charts cray-cray. Or maybe it is completely normal. Or maybe I have it easy, and 80% of women have it way worse. It’s not a broken bone than I can compare to someone else’s x-ray, or an objective test score about reading comprehension or spelling. All I can do is ask questions along with the rest of us on the women’s health subreddit.

Anyway, I’m admitting that these lovely lady mood swings probably do have an impact on how I react to books, and very likely impact how I write about books. I AM going to have a stronger emotional reaction to whatever it is that I’m thinking about, because everything is at fourteen on a scale of one to ten. That death scene? It’s the end of the WORLD. Unlikable character being a Jerk? I hate them even more! Character getting deconstructed because that’s what that author is known for? What an asshole! Character making a dumb decision so the plot can move forward? Oh I am going to throw this stupid book out the stupid window!

 

(gentlemen reading this may be thinking to themselves “ah yes, this is where the word hysterical comes from. Surely she would appreciate me explaining this in the comments”. Explaining that to me in the comments would be a very. bad. idea.)

 

Fellow lady bloggers, have you experienced something similar? Gimme your thoughts on this whole blogging with PMS thing, because I bet more of us have dealt with this than we realize.

 

I don’t want to hear anyone saying they are sorry I’m going through this. That will only make me feel more alone and more weird. Tell me if you’ve had a similar experience.  That will help me feel less alone, and less weird.

 

You know what? I forgive myself for ugly crying about that character’s death. Yeah, yeah, I knew they were going to die, and they weren’t particularly likable, and they did a lot of stupid things many of which felt awkwardly plot-device-y, but. It wasn’t that they died, it’s that they were murdered, premeditated, and now that I think it about, that fucking pissed me off! They weren’t tears of sadness, they were tears of rage at the killers. And tears of rage at the character for falling for a trap because patience and using their brain is not part of their core competencies.

 

*about 2 years ago I went ultra strict gluten free, and it helped my PMS a lot! But now I’m in my early 40s, and my PMS is back to super awful again. Also, i’m not as strict with my diet as I was during those first 6-10 months of being GF. I’m not ready to give up restaurant french fries, or really anything that’s been cheaply battered and fried. Is life worth living if you can’t have french fries or fried cheese curds? No it is not.

Going GF also helped with my adult acne. What’s gluten (or who knows what else) got to do with acne or PMS? The gut-brain / gut-immune response connection is strange and wonderful and fascinating, and I have read a whole two books on this subject! And I wish I had 4 years and $60K+ to get a bachelors degree in gut-ology. I don’t have that kind of time or money, but I do have some money to buy more books AND I have a library card.

 

10 Responses to "A post for my fellow lady bloggers"

Hormones are biology, so I have no doubt they play a role in how men and women might differ in their emotional response to stories. Personally, I don’t really experience much PMS so I can’t really contribute much to the discussion there, but I will say that when I was pregnant with my first, I was a hot mess with my mood swings off the charts! I finished reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King and just burst into tears right there at the kitchen table, and I mean full on ugly crying, to the point it freaked out my husband who thought I was losing it. I mean, I get emotional when I read sometimes, but it’s never anything I can’t control, but pregnancy hormones, man, they’re no joke 😛

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Pregnancy hormones and mood swings are WILD. yeah, and it’s like, we have zero control over the timing or the extent, and people think we’re going crazy. super not fun.

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…early 40s lady blogger chiming in – I’m feeling like a dufus that I’ve not considered this before. I get PMS – the intensity varies, but 3-5 days of mood swings? Sure, with 1-2 of them peaking at I WILL CUT YOU – and yes, after 30-ish years of practice (assuming it wasn’t a problem before puberty) it’s usually a surprise. It’s not like it happens every month or something (oh wait).

ANYWAY I am now comparing my reading log to a certain helpful app on my phone to see what I was reading at the critical point of the past few months. Conveniently to hand is, uh, last week, when I got eye-rolling frustrated by the LAZY-ASS WORLDBUILDING (yes, frustration escalated to all caps) in a perfectly serviceable space opera that should have ticked my boxes but just wasn’t doing anything for me.

Um.

You may have a point.

Although I do still think it was lazy-ass world-building.

Previous months suggest this isn’t an isolated occurrence – yep, I am more critical when I have PMS. Well damn. I don’t tend to review immediately these days, which may also explain why in writing the reviews I sometimes end up more positive about these books than I was when reading them 😉

Thank you – I’m can at least try to be conscious of this now! And you are not alone.

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yeah, usually it’s something someone says to me, or a cute/sad video that puts me over the edge, and i never thought about it either, but it makes sense a book would be similar?

sure, be conscious of it, but don’t like, change around your reviewing schedule because of it. your life shouldn’t go on hold because of this.

maybe that space opera with the LAZY-ASS WORLDBUILING was perfectly serviceable . . yeah, serviceable, as in it ticked your boxes but it wasn’t anything special, and wasn’t going to do anything for you if you’d read it two weeks earlier. it’s like, when we are super emotional, maybe that IS our authentic self? i guess i’m just trying to lean into this, instead of pushing it under the rug.

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I totally agree, although I might be a little less belligerent about ‘I’m finishing this dammit’ vs ‘I’ll put this down for now and come back to it next week’ if I notice it happening. Big if 😉

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….huh. Like imyril, I’m realizing that I never even thought about this before and it’s probably true. My mood swings are not huge, I don’t think,* (?) but they are definitely there and I don’t notice them until somebody points out to me that maybe part of the reason I feel terrible and grumpy is because of where we are in the calendar?

I also have no idea if I cry more depending on the day. I am fully capable of crying over a book at any time, but I’ve never thought about whether I’m doing it more or less. I can say that the person I know who is taking testosterone says that crying is much less frequent now.

This is going to require some thought! (I mean I’m only 47, why would I have any idea about how this works?)

*The mood swings may not be huge, but I get muscle tension/headaches instead. Yay.

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Many times I only notice the mood swings when a loved one points them out to me, and then we both look at the calendar and say “oh yeah”.

I don’t think this is something a lot of women our age were taught to openly talk about. we don’t want people to see us as moody, or crazy, or hysterical, we don’t want people at work to think those things, so we just sweep it under the rug and hope it isn’t noticeable. LOL, it’s a thing that 50% of the planet experiences, for literal decades, and we don’t openly talk about it.

tension headaches are THE WORST. i get those too, but they are usually weather or looking-at-computer-screens-too-much related.

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I’ve started to comment here a couple of times, then deleted it, then started again … and deleted.
So, hi, yeah … this post resonated! I’m currently on a whole stack of meds that have killed my menstrual cycle dead, and yet I still find that my mood follows a monthly pattern. Like a few of the comments here have said, I don’t always notice it straight away. I’ll be halfway through sobbing my heart out over a book or movie (the latest? Okko’s Inn – an anime that had me howling – it’s adorable – while my husband patted my back, passed hankies over and generally looked bemused, because I was crying about the beautiful puddings that keep getting eaten by a mysterious someone before the little girl, Okko, can finish them) before it occurs to me that I’m having an out of proportion reaction.
The other 21 or so days of my cycle I feel balanced, even adjacent-to-calm. And while I wish I could embrace the emotional shitstorm that is the other 3 or 4 days – where I can cry at the drop of a hat, am more likely to throw a book down in disgust, and definitely DO NOT write reviews because I’m so ridiculously insecure about what I’ve written that I drive myself mad – it seems impossible to do when the darn thing takes me by surprise every. single. time.
I’m 41 years old. This shit’s not new. ???!!! 😀

You are most certainly not alone. ❤

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“adjacent-to-calm”, i love that phrase, can i borrow it?

yeah, we’ve been doing this dance for about 30 years, how does it still take us by surprise? I wish sex-ed when were kids described PMS for what it actually is. it’s not “mild irritability”, it is ragestorm of momentary insanity.

also, remind me to never watch Okko’s Inn. I can’t get through Mulan without weeping (no matter when I watch it), so beautiful puddings that are getting eaten by a mystery person would put me over the edge. And what is it about animes having the most gorgeous food in the world?

thank you. it’s good to know i’m not alone. 🙂

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1. Yes, of course you can. 😘
2. Hell yeah! I don’t remember PMS even being mentioned in that one hour where the girls were all taken into the gym and told about menstruation. Even back then I remember being confused that it wasn’t our biology teacher explaining it, but our gym teacher.
3. Anime and food, right? I love it, but where did this come from?

😊

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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