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  • Writer's pictureEllie Paine

The Story behind ANON. (The Goldfish in my Bathtub)

Artwork: Susannah Paine

Matthew 9:20-22

20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him [Jesus] and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed."

22 Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter", he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed at that moment.

The Meaning

It is an undeniable fact, stigma has surrounded menstruation for as long as it has caused people to bleed.

Yet, as a child, I could not wait for my first period. I felt like it would be a badge of womanly honour. I knew all the theory. I knew the difference between tampons & pads. I knew the horror storied. I knew it would end around my 50th birthday, and I knew I would get a nice nine month break if I got pregnant.

Then it came, and just as quickly as the thrill and joy arrived... it left.. while the bleeding remained. Because theory is a senseless parallel to reality.

It felt unfair. Once a month for more than one week. I would have to sacrifice myself to the emotional, physical, mental, and social upheaval that came with my period.

And then I started to pass large clots. I ignored them as they became my new normal. I felt discomfort as I passed them, and looked in sad horror at what would drop into the shower tray. Everybody knows you don't have baths on your period.

But somehow feeling awful, ill, and tired. I decided consequence of mess be damned - I would have a bath. So I lay there, surrounded by my clots. Clots that became beautifully gruesome in the water. I felt more an observer rather than a participant.

Luckily for me, this wasn't a sign of anything other than the need for a wonderful iron supplement once a day.

The Name

Eleanor & Mara had been relatively easy to name, finding meanings that correlated with the songs intention. But periods? What name directly translates to 'No baby this month' juice?

Having explained my dilemma to my father we started talking about the biblical story in Matthew 9 where Jesus was approached by an unnamed woman who was 12 years into an unrelenting period.

I could write a whole essay about this story. I just might one day so keep your eyes peeled. But here is the short & narrow!

Of all the female - related biblical content this anonymous woman is one of the most notable for actually having her period in the Bible (Key word 'actually' - Rachel lied about hers!). Also, she shakes an entire culture by acting with what is considered brazen disrespect, but in reality with desperate belief.

So this song is named in honour of Anon. and every other person who has silently fought against, prayed for, lived in comfy cohabitation with, resented, struggled with, to felt despair at the arrival of their period.

We bleed in various shades of red. (Pretend this is like a distopiant revolutionary statement as we stick a middle finger up to the shame of periods.)

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