MY PERIOD TALE
The Dreaded Topic : When I saw the topic, I was actually like - Eew...Do I really have to write about this, what will my readers think, why am I trying to write about my periods, is there a dearth of topics in this world that I now want people to read about my private stuff, afterall, is it even a topic to discuss openly? Well, I'll be honest, there's a certain hesitation when the topic does come up. Its not as if I've never written on it, I did, several times infact, yet, the hesitation, the unease does creep up from time to time. After all, its not that easy is it to shrug away what or how we've been brought up...the traditions the taboos et all that we've been taught since young. Nonetheless, the internet, over the period of time, has indeed played a vital role in opening up the mind a-bit atleast, especially, when we come across other people having gone through exactly what we have. The more we read about their experiences, more sillier such taboos or apprehensions seem. And that's why, here I am trying to write on the topic again, to make others as well as myself, lot more easier and accepting towards this glorious gift we women have been gifted with.
The First Discovery : When I was young, I of course, didn't treat 'period' as a gift at all. For me, it was more like a curse. I hated it. The discomfort, the pain, the fear of unwanted-stains, the prohibitions...it was all too much to bear for a tiny teenager like me. I remember, when I first had it, I didn't even know what the hell it was. I saw blood, and I panicked. I tried to check everywhere if I hurt myself. I was really clueless as to where the blood was coming from, with no visible sign of injury, and yes, it was in my panty - so, it felt more weirder. Being somewhat detective-minded ( heavily inspired by the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys/FamousFives ), I tried to solve 'The Mystery of the Mysterious Blood-flow' myself, unsuccessfully though. On the third day, convinced I must have contracted something really deadly or must be dying slowly, I went hesitantly to my mother. With tears flowing down my cheeks, I was like...'Mum..I don't know, what is happening. Blood is coming out of nowhere, everyday, help me. Am I going to die?' My mother immediately realised what was going on, and soon, my whole life changed. But I still didn't know why we had the damned thing in the first place, even though, I was made to follow all those monthly rituals/prohibitions ( viz don't wash hair first 3 days, don't eat sour/tangy stuff eg pickles, lemon etc, don't touch anything religious or anyone too, don't go out to play, PHEW! ).
The Marriage : We had a ritual after my first period, that I really found funny. When my elder sister had it, four years before, I actually enjoyed it not understanding a thing, being curious and eager too if I'd have it as well. It was marriage to a banana-tree. Sounds funny, hah, but that was what exactly happened. So, those period days ( my first ), I wasn't even allowed to appear before any male members of the family. On the last day, I was made to bath ( with my mother/sister and other females of the family putting haldi on me ), wear new clothes ( like a bride ) - because, it was my marriage day! Not to a boy, though, but to a banana-tree instead. The priest came, uttered many mantras and made me follow various rituals, put sindoor too ( on behalf of the banana-tree :o ) and finally, I was declared married to the banana-tree, because, I was grown-up now. Later, guest & relatives came and showered me with gifts and I enjoyed that part the most. Of course, I still didn't know what was going on...I mean, after being treated like an untouchable, I was suddenly being celebrated too. However, the other periods that followed were without the marriage ritual or gift's, sigh!
The Piercing Pain & The Annoying Stains : Needless to say, these two essentially made my life ( those 5 days ) a nightmare. The pain ( all around my lower waist and back of thighs ) would come either on the 2nd or 4th day, and it would be excruciating. After suffering for months on end, I somehow got the solution to it when accidentally I dozed off one day, after twisting and turning uncomfortably in my bed for hours. That tiny nap was hardly for ten minutes or so, but it did the trick. So, henceforth, whenever I started getting any signs of the pain, I'd rush to bed and force myself to sleep. If sleep came, I was lucky; and if it didn't....well, the helpless twisting and turning would continue. However, I had no such trick with the stains. Initially, we were made to use clothes and I had a harrowing time with it - what with the washing, the smell, the heaviness to carry it around. Sanitary pads finally came to the rescue, phew!
The Enlightenment : It was only in my late-teens that I finally got a faint idea of what was going on. Friends whispering and gossiping around, the blush-blush during biology classes, the boy-girl analysis, and finally the orientation-course our school had for the senior students where this subject was subtly covered. It has although taken me decades to come in terms with the reality of it all. I still hate it, but I am able to tolerate it more :-) not like those by-gone days, when I almost wished I was a boy instead :|
The Period : What is it after all? Now, that I finally had the 'gyaan' I could merrily share the knowledge with those who are still clueless and trying to pull their hairs out, trying to figure it out, like I used to once-uppa-time. Well, all females have ovaries in their bodies that have eggs in them. After we hit puberty, every month, one of the eggs come down the fallopian tube to meet the sperm ( gifted by the male - you know how. And, even if you don't-know-how, we'll discuss that in another post ). So, if it meets the sperm, baby happens. But in absence of sperm, the egg that waits has built a wall of-blood ( and proteins/
vitamins etc, while preparing for the baby ) around the uterus, finally flushes itself out. And that my friend, is the 'period' ( since it occurs after a gap of few weeks consistently ). Having period from puberty till menopause-time, means you are healthy, and there's nothing to worry about. But absence or excess of it may be a problem.
The Acceptance : Period has an important role to play ~ in the bigger scheme of things. We women, are gifted with this unique gift of being able to give birth, which is actually so empowering. Every female species ( esp in mammals ) have this phase ( although, they may be slightly different from species to species ), and its how nature works, and cycle & circle of life progresses. The fact that God has given us females, such a powerful role to play in taking the universe forward, it somewhat relaxes my mind - that, hey, its not such a bad thing after all. Sure, it is uncomfortable, but for the role it plays, it is very well worth it. And when I try to teach my mind that way, periods become so much tolerable that I actually take #periodpride in it! True, there's nothing gross about periods. Its the most empowering and creative privilege ever gifted to women. Value it. Rejoice it :-)