Of Periods

This is one of those uncomfortable posts that reside in the bottom drawer of my drafts and hardly ever see the light of day, conversations marked as I wont speak of this filed and forgotten, well not entirely…..

I like to think of myself as an open-minded fully grown man and yet here I am, a boy still scared of womanhood. Do not get me wrong I love women… Ok stop right there, no good conversation ever begun with those words let me begin again…

period clip art

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I am 11 years old reading Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions and Tambu’s mother is going on about the burdens of womanhood, then on to the sexuality of Tambu and Nyasha and a charged conversation on tampons. Remember I am still just a boy, even though we had studied puberty and the changes that happened to adolescent teens during science class at school.

puberty

Boys get a deep voice, broad shoulders and voice breaks, girls develop breasts, hips and each month they bleed and become women.

only girly puberty

Maybe the girls talked to each other about this whole monthly bleeding thing and all the mysteries about it and the boys we got left with a sense of morbid curiosity, and even a fear of this periodic event which we never quite talked about and grow up to be man afraid and ashamed of a little blood.

 period blood

Ever noticed how in the supermarket aisle with the female hygiene products is with the least people no one loiters there, one picks what they are there for and walks away no eye contact or random chit chat with strangers on the usual things the rising cost of living and all that…

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I am 16 years old and I am in the supermarket buying my first pads, well not for me but my high school crush. We were on a school trip and by random chance and threats of punishment, I was a school prefect you see, ended up sitting side by side with her. During a stop at a convenience shop I asked her if I could get her anything, since she had mentioned she wasn’t feeling too good.

“Yes grab me a pack of pads”

I agreed without even asking any further questions and exited the bus. That was the day I discovered there were so many different type of pads in floral pink packages in blue, in green,  some with wings for heavy flow, some for regular or medium flow, others for overnight. I asked a shop assistant for help andy  she asked me all sorts of questions I could not answer until  she eventually settled on the regular and said I could return and exchange if they were not the ones.

It was a long walk down the aisle to the cashier an finally paying I think I was burning up like I had a fever and sweating profusely

Fortunately they were the right one.

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I am 18 years old and my mum is sending me to the pharmacy to buy pads and pain killers for my sister. She always needed pain meds for that time of the month, I picked up on the pattern eventually went on to learn about dysmenorrhea, period pain, menstrual cramps…

period cramps

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I am 30 years old and an advert for pads comes on the TV with a catchy lil jingle, one almost wants to sing along but one never sings along, one does not even acknowledge the TV one seems busy with arrangement of vegetables in the plate before them, same as when a sex scene comes out on the TV

I am today years old and I am reading posts on #MyFirstPeriod and #MenstrualHygieneDay and I am seeing the trauma some have had to endure and thinking this is a conversation that should not be hidden or treated as impure and dirty, or a disease and not celebrate this rite of passage on the intricacies of creation.

The conversations I hear between men and women about periods are mostly in the context of “Not today, I am on my period” or “Why are you being moody are you on your period?

Period storm

“I bleed every month but not die. How am I not magic?”

Nayyirah Waheed

There’s no hood like womanhood and Aunty Flo will visit about 350-500 times, you would think by now she would have evolved to find a discrete way of saying, You are not pregnant such as a pop up notification on a period tracker app.

I am today years old and we still need to grow up

~B

PS if you are keeping track of her period do not tell her you call it the doomsday countdown…

menstrual cycle doomsday clock

7 Comments

  1. Thanks for this post! We’re taught from the day we get our period that you can’t talk about it. You yourself feel dirty and uncomfortable the whole time and men generally are disgusted by the whole thing… My only wish is that pms and period pain and period would not be blamed for our being upset about things. As though we’re merely crazy!

    Like

  2. I’m so open
    No feared conversation here. I’m on my period now lol leave me alone.
    Actually. I’m a coll one with no side effects but I get really tired

    Like

  3. This is a much needed topic that need to be discussed. Many people are dying of ignorance. The elder sister to this topic is sex and sex éducation. Most men know nothing except for myths and or when they have a stable partner.

    Liked by 1 person

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