Hummingbird woke with a crick in her neck.
Waking . . . a sign that she had slept at long last, was, itself, a wondrous surprise. She stretched her wings, ending the motion in an eager flutter as she looked around and spotted the source of her discomfort.
A pile of gold. It gleamed dully in the early morning light and Hummingbird scrambled to put distance between herself and the mountainous accumulation. She wanted to think “Oh, no, not again.” But even that impulse dimmed and faded–quickly as had the memory of her previous three days.
Herself again. With her sleek lustrous wings, the incandescent patch of fuchsia feathers on the underside of her chin, Hummingbird had lost her scales, her dark and gleaming eyes. And a fair bit of size.
Chuckling at the last, restored to good humor by the bright sunshine and utter relief of having been returned to herself once more, Hummingbird whizzed about the shattered remnants of her home, putting things to rights and waiting, hoping . . . dreading, the first well-wishers who would inevitably stop by before the sun had travelled much across the sky.
The gold? It was not gold. Not really. Treasure, sure enough. Piled into some crazed resemblance of a nest, Hummingbird’s comforts and cures were returned to their shelves and cupboards. She opened a window, savoring the fresh breeze and marveling at the memory of wanting to set it afire. All of it.
While she looked out at the world, Hummingbird saw that Robin was up and about. And Squirrel. And Sparrow. None looked her way.
Guilt quivered in Hummingbird’s breast and she averted her gaze. In her mind’s eye she saw the beast that she had been, threatening and screaming rage at the world. She wondered if this time, the relationships she had hurt were beyond repair.
Sniffling, Hummingbird refused to be beaten down. She was back. She was her. And she had but three weeks before the curse again took her. There was work to do.
By afternoon, Badger had come by for tea. By week’s end, Hummingbird’s house was fully set to rights once more and Sparrow and Robin had come ’round. They made plans for a day trip the following week. And Squirrel? Hummingbird wasn’t even sure Squirrel had noticed what had happened, for he never acknowledged the change.
But at length Hummingbird’s agitation grew beyond the normal hummingbird flittering. Hurried and harried, she did what she might while the sun still shone brightly. She smiled wider, laughed louder, and looked to her calendar and worried.
It was Robin that she first snapped at. Sparks of flame guided Hummingbird’s words and, ashamed, she retreated to her home. She dashed about, shuttering windows, lighting candles and hoarding what comforts she might. There in that darkened place, Hummingbird saw her shadow upon the wall: large, looming, and black.
The curse. It had found her again. One lone tear rolled down her face, trailing past long snout, wending its way amongst dark, shimmering scales, to fall with a quiet hiss on a taloned foot.
Miserable in spite of knowing in her heart of hearts that this soon would pass, Dragon curled into a tight ball atop her pile of gold and dreamed she was a Hummingbird.
April is PMDD Awareness Month. PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) is a disorder effecting an estimated 1 in 20 people who menstruate. Essentially, for people who have this, their body’s reaction to the normal rise and fall of hormones causes serious emotional trauma (often in addition to the assortment of physical symptoms that PMS typically provides on the roughly-monthly basis). Studies have shown that 30% of women/AFAB individuals with PMDD will attempt suicide at some point in their life. At present, treatment is as varied as the individuals who experience this disorder. There is no easy answer. Add to that the still problematic stigma surrounding talking about women’s reproductive health, sadly, even sometimes on a patient/doctor level, and one must consider how many suffer in silence, ruining job prospects, relationships, and lives . . . utterly unaware that this Monthly Monstrous Thing has a name, that you are not alone, and it is not your fault. For more information, a great place to start would be the International Association For Premenstrual Disorders website.