Lucy Peach brings a unique focus to her music: periods. Not the punctuation, but the too-often taboo menstrual cycle. Instead of viewing her period as something to be merely managed, Lucy sees her biological rhythm akin to the seasons, with different phases, energies, and potential. Lucy shared this spirit of self love with her fans at Emergence Creative Festival.
Hey Lucy. To start, can you introduce yourself to us?
I’m Lucy Peach and I’m here at my first Emergence Festival in Margaret River. It’s very exciting. I feel like I’ve emerged and I’m emerging and it’s wonderful.
So you’re doing a combination of performance and education about the menstrual cycle. Can you tell us a bit about your work?
The menstrual cycle is having a real moment. Everyone’s talking about reducing the shame and stigma but let’s move past the shame and the stigma. There are actually really good things about it that are practical and useful to know. If you know you have those hormones in your body, you can use them, you can plan for them, you can predict them.
Can you elaborate on that sentiment a bit?
We’ve seen the menstrual cycle as something to be managed, something to be tolerated. Essentially, it’s just been about managing the presence or absence of blood. If you look at what’s going on hormonally, there are four distinct phases of menstruation and ovulation. These four phases come with their own strengths and benefits. Really, they’re just like the seasons. We understand cycles in so many different ways but when it comes to women’s bodies and the way that our energies change, we don’t really respect it. Which is just such a waste, a real travesty.
Can you talk a bit about those phases and your understanding of them?
Yeah. So in a nutshell, when you bleed and you start off at the beginning of your month, you can fight that and try to push through it or you can honor the fact that your hormones have flatlined, your energy’s pretty low, and it’s a really good time to rest. It’s a time where you can fill your cup up and prepare for the month ahead, think about what you want to grow and give life to next. In that next phase, your spring, as your ovulation starts to rise and you get ready to lay an egg, you’ve got all this energy: you’re walking faster, thinking faster, it’s your power week. You shouldn’t feel guilty if you put things off in your first week of bleeding…you’re not procrastinating, you’re prioritizing. Then once estrogen peaks and you ovulate, you have your summer and you’re a lot more abundant, you have more energy for people, you’re more communicative and collaborative.
How did you come to focus your energy on this topic?
First of all, I had a really good role model. My mum was really good at paying attention to her body and honoring that. That was how I learned to view menstruation as a positive process. Then, about ten years ago, I found this book called The Optimized Woman by Miranda Gray. That was when I first learned that we actually have so much more going on than we talk about. Then I started applying that to my creative practice.
How did that manifest?
I would block out a couple of days when I was pre-menstrual and write music. If you’re a creative person who writes songs or makes movies or builds bridges or cooks or dances or whatever, if you can find time in that premenstrual phase to do the thing that makes you feel the most you, then you won’t feel as prickly. You’re actually responding to something that’s quite integral to yourself. I would use that time to write music without any real attachment to whether it was good or not. Then I just kept tweaking my life to be as in sync as I could, and then I started running workshops.
That’s so cool. It seems like you’ve really broken the mold with this process…can you talk a bit about that?
As someone who’s been a musician for ten years, you try all of these different things and you’re learning and experimenting and honing your craft. You look to see how everybody else is doing things and what you should aspire to and what the industry says. Ultimately, you get to a point where you really have no choice but to do what feels the most pertinent. In any field, you need to break the mold and do the best thing you can do. If you’re trying to emulate some other version, you’re not going to cut through and give the best version of yourself that you can. You’ve got to write your own rules, because it’s time to cut to the chase. We’re running out of time. We can’t sit on our laurels anymore and hope that things are going to be okay. Everyone needs to bring whatever they can that will help people connect.
How do you maintain the energy to keep pushing forward with this endeavour?
If you start by bringing in the people around you and making something they can be a part of, the thing will grow. Before you know it, you’re in this bubble and there’s a whole community of people that are all excited to be part of something that’s positive. People have written to me after every show and said, “I’ve been trying to get pregnant and every time I get my period I just cry and I can’t stand it. Now, I’ve realized it’s a reminder that I’m a cyclical creature and I have all this creative capacity and that’s something to treasure and a way to love myself for.” Hearing things like that is addictive for me. I love hearing those and being a part of that process.
Lastly, tell us a bit about your goals for this project.
I really don’t think it’s a long shot to imagine a world where women and men are more tuned into women’s bodies and the intelligence that is inherently within them. Responding to that isn’t rocket science and it’s going to have effects that are immeasurable. If you’re able to give yourself what you need and treat yourself with respect and love and kindness, that’s going to flow on everywhere. Really, that’s what the world needs.
Right on. Thanks Lucy and best of luck with everything.