explodeEver have the way you do something that you’ve done a certain way a million of times before–like eating a bagel for breakfast, taking the train to work or watching movies–unexpectedly change forever because of one seemingly innocuous act? Walk with me…

Like a lot of you, I love seeing movies on the big screen in a movie theater. In fact, when I was broke while in college and couldn’t afford movie tickets, I snagged a job as a “mystery shopper” for movie theaters, which meant I got paid to watch movies in return for me snooping on and ratting out theater managers, ticket sellers and concession stand clerks to their corporate owners. Being a professional stooge wasn’t something that filled me with pride, but I did get to see Goodfellas, Mermaids, Ghost and dozens of other early ’90s flicks on the company dime, which softened the sting of my ethical compromise.

Then, a college pal who was majoring in film said something to me that changed my movie theater-watching experience forever. (If you don’t want to have your movie-watching experience changed, too, then scroll past this section.) He told me that a black or white dot appears on the upper right-hand corner of the movie screen every 15 minutes or so as an indicator to tell the projectionist to change film reels–and that it means the scene is about to end and also that the shot is about to switch from light to dark or dark to light.

Now, my friend thought he was just showing off and sharing his newfound film knowledge. For me, however, it had permanent consequences on my film-watching experience. I must have watched thousands of movies before without ever noticing the dots. After that, however, every time I sat through a movie those dots stood out like flashing neon signs, instantly yanking me out of my film-watching reverie and making me anticipate the scene ending and focusing on whether the shot was about to go from light to dark or dark to light.

I recently experienced another unexpected permanent change–coincidentally, also to my movie-watching experience, and now also to my TV-watching experience. Turns out, one of my husband’s former bandmates has found a totally surprising second career as a background actor. He regularly posts pictures and videos of himself on Facebook appearing on the big and small screens as a restaurant customer, juror, park bench sitter, sports fan, duck feeder, wedding guest, funeral attendee, doctor, patient and disinterested passer-by strolling down the street.

Even though I’ve seen thousands of movies and TV shows without ever noticing the background actors before, ever since Gary started making these Facebook posts, whenever I watch movies and TV shows now, my attention is focused totally on the men, women and children in the background. The way they excitedly mime talking to each other without actually saying words. Their voiceless laughs. Their fake coffee sips. Seriously, the primary actors might as well not even exist when a background actor is on the screen.

The reason I’m telling you all this is because I want my Hormonology Tips and Hormone Horoscopes to be the movie dots and background actors of your menstrual cycle.

I want my seemingly innocuous website or app that you probably stumbled across by accident or that a girlfriend nagged you into looking at until you finally did just to shut her up to unexpectedly and permanently destroy the old ways that you’ve perceived and acted toward your menstrual cycle and hormones for years and years and replace them with something different–hopefully, something far more positive and useful.

For instance, whenever you think about your period, I want you to shake off the long-pushed belief that it’s the worst week of your cycle and remember that once you see red, it means estrogen starts its two week-long rise and it will be elevating your mood, energy, creativity, verbal skills, motivation, optimism and libido with it.

And that whenever you think about your premenstrual week, instead of believing mood changes and lethargy are out of your control, you remember there are many study-proven ways you can rein in premenstrual symptoms and enjoy a happier pre-period experience.

And that whenever you think about your hormones or someone mentions the female cycle, you don’t automatically grimace, but instead think about how they help you pinpoint the best days to do just about anything, such as scheduling a vacation, building a doghouse, going on a job interview, brainstorming a great idea and bonding during a heartfelt one-on-one with a cherished friend.

I’m hoping that, despite the millions of times you’ve heard movies, TV, comedians, co-workers, friends and family joke about your menstrual cycle being oh-so bad, your visits here forever make you realize that they’re wrong–and this new way of looking at your menstrual cycle turns it into a practical tool that has the power to make your whole life better.

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[Photo: Ruminatrix]