I am a woman roaring 40s this year. In my all conscious, I declare that I love my menstruation days. I never knew that I could fall in love with my bloody periods. The journey began at 13 and at the very first instance, I did not understand what was happening to me? Why was I bleeding? I was not given the “talk”. It wasn’t the era of the Internet. I was petrified of what my mother and sisters would say if they came to know. I didn’t know that nature was playing its course, preparing me for the wonderful womanhood and I was common special now?
By looking at my white school uniform, a batchmate of my 7th grade whispered slowly into my ears about unshapely red spots during a lesson recitation in the class that now, “you are a big girl”. She made me understand that this is called periods and it will happen every month. She filled me up with the maintenance that sprung with it. This was the 2nd time of my menstruation cycle.
When I experienced my periods 1st time, I was at home due to fever since 2-3 days and a few days before I ate a high quantity of dark red plums, which were my favorite at the time. My instant hypothesis was that fever had weakened my body enough to cause bleeding just like nosebleeds. Obviously, I didn’t know how to carry and take care of myself? When it did not stop in a day, my next conclusion was that I consumed trucks of small dark red plums. So, if we ate small dark red plums, blood comes out of the body for many days. I stopped eating plums for many years ahead. I ate plums only after when I was fully ensured that there is no correlation between eating small dark red plums and monthly bleeding. My father was the first man who noticed my bloodied clothes. His behavior changed. I was treated as a grown up now. It would be unfair if I do not mention the contribution of women magazines that enhanced my reading skills and crazy periodical knowledge in my adolescence. They helped me understand my normal, natural and essential experience for womanhood.
Women feel the pain of varying intensity as per their health and well-being. There were times when I needed doctors, painkillers, and injections too. One prescription very conveniently declared how it will magically vanish after marriage. Like marriage was some kind of satanic salvation.
I was uncomfortable to face boys’ classmates in a computer course during my periods as I had been the student of girl’s school and admitted to a girl’s college for my 1st graduation degree. I never wanted to miss my 2-hour computer classes on alternate days in a week, as it was my first interaction with boys (I found my crush in the class). I anyway took the first two days off during my periods due to pain and uneasiness. It was ruthless and felt very bad because I could not see my crush due to it. And, you know how that hurts when you are hit by puberty. I mean the crush.
Well, I turned 20 and the first time went to a co-educational college for my 2nd graduation degree, still unable to deal with my glorious womanhood days and the maintenance. Regardless of the myriad precautions and hygiene care, my clothes were stained on several occasions. I can’t even recall how many times I had been a matter of laughs on the bus, train and etc. I found menstruation ridiculous and dumb too. It was a difficult monthly task in itself to ask for the sanitary napkins at the store. I had to make sure that no one in the vicinity could hear.
I always dodged attending marriages, college functions and trips, uncomfortable visits during my periods. We, women, have an unbound restrain not to enjoy rain during the bloodshed. In my entire life to date, I never went on a date/or met someone special on my period days except one incident.
My saga will be unfinished if I do not mention this incident. One day, I came back home after a hectic day with stained clothes. I, suddenly, received a call from a special person at the time, who was passing by my town. We had not been in contact for 11 years (not in contact today also). There was never going to be a chance to meet him again. I had no time to change. I had only 10 minutes to go and I let go of all my inconvenience just for a 5 minutes meeting. I went in the same stained condition as I was in (extreme pain, though stains were not visible at dark green and black dress).
Vomiting, back pain, leg pain, pain in abdominal, mood-swings, feeling of uncalled restrictions is always in alignment during period days. I spent 23 years of my life despising my menstrual cycle until age 35. In June 2014, I was going through some personal life crisis and menstruating as well. The extreme body pain and my intense mental anxiety were in unison. It was the time to realize the pain my mind and body carried. At the end of the cycle, I felt relaxed, relieved and rejuvenated. I was glowing too. I noticed these symptoms for many months. And it was true in my case. All of my negativity, physical exhaustion, and mental fatigue, of 22-24 days disappeared with the shedding too. Now, I laugh at those days and myself for being so rigid and restricted by philosophies set by I don’t even know whom!
I feel the same body pain as I used to have in my teen years but, the intensity is gradually decreasing. But, I enjoy this pain now. It does not bother me anymore. My menstruation pain makes me feel my existence, still, as a productive woman. When I touch the lower part of my stomach and lower back during painful days, then, I feel that I am familiar with this pain for 26 years. I recall the time when I used to be scared a week earlier that my menstruation process is going to be the start and my preparations too (painkiller tablets, sanitary napkins in my bag). I, still, do preparations for this after getting notifications by period tracker app, but, now in welcoming zone. Even, I ask confidently and in a loud voice at the chemist store, I need sanitary pads. Which one do you have? If my periods get late by 1 or 2 days, I become desperate and upset. I, especially, wait for my periods and feel restlessness. Restlessness has been common during my journey from unknown to well-lived and a very innocent and natural womanhood journey turning into fabulous and most significant one of my life. Sometimes, I feel upset thinking that when I will not get menstruated, what would happen to me? How my life would be without my glorious days? I, definitely, will miss my periods, the calculation of days, to ask unknown women on the roads, in the trains and buses to check my clothes from the back side that is all right.
I could never even imagine falling in love with the cycle as I do now. I accept it, live it fully and declare it publicly now, I love my womanly days. These are my hard but special womanhood days.
About the Author:
Anita Deswal is an Academician in fancy subjects like Sociology, Philosophy, and Psychology & a full-time believer in liberalism. She spent a major part of her life clutched to societal standards and age-old nuances. She loves to be around children, old people, and books. She has recently learned the woman now at 40 she was meant to be.
Before writing this piece, she spent six nights and 2 days to gather her thoughts and pretext of this write-up. She is excited to be a contributor @ femonomic. She enjoys reading, shopping and sleeping like a raccoon