A Season With The Critic


Day 24: On waking the realization hits me...I've got a full day of home educating my two children. In that moment it actually feels like the last thing I’d like to do in the whole world (my Autumn loves a drama). I briefly fantasize about how I would spend the whole day if I were alone wandering in the woods, communing with trees and living true to the deep wildness I feel in my Autumnal soul.

I fantasize about earth, soil and magic. Instead I hear a perky little voice, “I'm so hungry my tummy hurts, I need my breakfast now. What are we doing today?” I feel so overly, overly domesticated and trapped. Downstairs we trudge and I’m resigned to my role of filling hungry tummies. I stand in front of the calendar, looking at the day's blank box when She arrives, her entrance is crystal clear. In my imagination it's as if my Critic has just stepped out of the shadows into the light of a street lamp. She's got some proper street cred today.  I swear she’s taken a drag on a cigarette before she flicks it back into the shadows.

She looks me straight in the eyes, “Still haven't worked this one out for yourself yet, have you?” Her voice is low and gruff, like a challenge rather than a question. She's a tough old bird today.

The gauntlet is down....ding ding round 1. I've actually had a really great month cyclically, I've had a good bleed and have cared for myself well throughout spring and summer. Most importantly I've also acted on the points my critic has called me on last month. I'm learning that caring for my cyclic self this way seems to create a much 'cleaner' container for me to meet with the critic, her arrival acting as more of a catalyst toward fulfilling my Calling, rather than a slaughter, killing me off. When I’m  sloppy about my self care boundaries (which happens more than I would like) she can run a bit rampant and I’ve noticed this is when she seems to be able to cross over into other seasons. This happens quite often without me even being aware of it (she’s wily), and it's usually not until I've blown my stack or have overloaded on sugar that I’ve even cottoned onto the fact she's whispering in my ear.

Unusually, today I feel ready for her. 'Well actually, Critic, I have been thinking about what you called me on last month, and you’re right, this whole home educating arrangement isn't really working out very well for me. I am yearning to create space for my own work, and I too can feel this coming to an end. I'm not quite sure exactly how that's going to play out yet, but I have some sense of what I need to do so I'm following those threads. In the meantime I'm trying to arrange more support for myself, I've let my partner know how I feel and he's on board. I've contacted a babysitter and I'm pretty happy I've done all I can do just for now.' I'm pleased with myself and soooo relieved. So thankful that I followed up on my critic’s slaughtering last month. In some sort of twisted way it feels like we're working together here. No accolades from the critic though, and she is still very present. I look at the calendar again and my heart sinks. I remember that my partner will be working through the whole of my bleed. I feel doomed. This seems to delight my critic no end. I sense a sinister smile.

“Well we both know no-one cares about THAT side of your cycle anyway.” She  leaves me with a triumphant look that says, “how you gonna deal with that one?”, turns her back on me and steps back into the shadows.

My reaction though is not my usual crumbling...I burst out laughing and in that moment I feel such an overwhelming sense of love for my critic. I  get what she's doing, she's just handed me the ultimate golden nugget. What am I going to do about nobody caring for THAT side of my cycle? She and I know exactly what I will do, take it into my bleed and dream into a new way with it. I know her in that moment as I've never known her so well before...in her sacred role of evolving me into my Calling. And I love her for it. Get in touch with Amber Bates here or drop a comment below.


If you’d like to learn how to work with your menstrual cycle and build the kind of knowing that Amber has we’d recommend you head on over to our online course Menstrual Cycle Literacy. As you work with your cycle and restore its order so you naturally create stronger boundaries that allow you to meet your critic creatively instead of getting written off each month as can happen premenstrually.


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