My first encounter with my Bloody Boo (Yes, you heard it right! I named my period!) was at 12. I clearly remember that day was normal. I was playing under the scorching heat and felt something wet down there. I thought I peed and I felt a little ashamed of myself, hiding from everybody, I quickly ran to my home. As I removed my pants to pee in the pot, I saw a big red spot in my underwear.
I was numb for a minute.
Curious, horrified and confused! At first, I checked everywhere in my body if I had a cut, but I wasn’t feeling any pain. Later, I screamed to call out my mother. She came rushing in and looked at me and took a relief (She must have thought something bad happened, but hey it did!). She brought two-white-looking –long- cotton – cushions AKA sanitary pads, stick them on my underwear. She then said me “Look here carefully, this is how you need to wear your pads okay?” I remember wearing those pads made me uncomfortable as if someone is stopping me to walk freely. My mother then took me to the hall and said, “Ab tu MC me hogayi hai” (now you are in your periods.) this happens to every woman and this is a good thing, a blessing by god.”
The conversation was then led to how I need to eat and sleep properly and not run, walk or play! I cannot go to the kitchen and temple area until my periods are over and avoid touching my brother and father. For 3 days, I remember staying in a separate room where only my mother was allowed to come. You see, here, My mother never told me why or how periods happened… she just handed me the manual guide on “how to tackle periods” that was passed on to her by my grandmother.
I was so startled by the shock universe had given to me 10 mins before that all those instructions spoken by my mother went past my head but my ears struck when she said “NO PLAYING.” I looked at her and cried loudly “I will play; you can’t stop me from playing.” I cried and rushed to my room and remembered feeling extremely tired and exhausted that I went to sleep until my mother woke me up for lunch.
At the table, my mother whispered something in my father’s ear, and he looked at me and then at everybody and announced – “Beginning from today until 7 days everyone will eat in their plates and keep a distance from each other, no touching each other and no fighting.” After hearing this, I realized things are going to change for me and everybody is going to look at me differently and hence started my first hatred towards periods.
Over the years, I have been through terrible pain. Every month, my nights have not been easy, while kids of my age were busy playing, I remember myself screaming of pain every single night. However, over the years, my period pain has lessened but continues to exist. Somedays, I pop a pill on the other days, I resist the pain but, the question remains why the “hate changed into love? “. I mean periods have publicly embarrassed me and left me with gruesome agony and every month, I feel bloated, ugly, angry, hungry, unloved, weak, dirty, and disgusted. A recent article published in a magazine where a professor of reproductive health at University College London, John Guillebaud talked about period pain and described period cramping as "almost as bad as having a heart attack. "How can I love something like that?
Well, I wait for that one day – the day when both my pain and the flow stops – It feels like I have risen from the dead and that feeling makes me powerful. You see, I grew up in a world where patriarchy existed. It still does in some places; males are considered strong because they can bear the pain. However, over the years, these sleepless and painful nights have only made me realized that a female body is much stronger and powerful. I mean my body sucks the life out of me every month and it is me and my resistance to not give up that brings back my soul and restores it in my body. It is a woman who fights against the death every month and next day shows up in a class, college, boardroom, and kitchen as if nothing happened. This thought occurs to me every month and this what keeps me going. Even though I hate you, my period, it is you who brings the courage in me to fight against anything in this world and still be strong and that is why I will also love you. Forever.