Don’t touch anything!, it’s your ‘those days of the month’, you are untouchable, you are impure.
Every month, girls in our community largely encounter such euphemism for periods or menstruation, which is simply a natural process of vaginal bleeding among girls. Have you ever thought about how it feels to be called impure or untouchable? We belong to a society where still thousands of girls are under a shed and are arm-twisted to whisper about their menstrual cycle and related issues. But wait, don’t you think the world needs to cleanse such impurities and be a better home for their daughters, sisters or any female member?
Let me share my story of how I met a new friend and how my world started to cleanse and progress!
As I glanced at my past, I could see myself as a sincere girl who used to return home with a bag full of juicy school gossip. I was immensely close to my grandma and I could not wait for a second to open up my bag of gossip in front of her as soon as I got back home. One day, I returned back home, as usual with gossip to tell, but with an unusual titbit.
In the evening, my granny and I were sharing some amazing moments while I told her something weird I had experienced in school. That day, when I was in the school lavatory, I found some blood on the floor. My granny calmly replied that someone might have got her periods. I was so surprised and immediately asked her what has blood to do with periods. Until then all I knew about periods was that our moms are superwoman who work 365 days and hence they needed some rest on month ends; so it’s their rest days. While her delineation left my eyes and ears wide open, I was endured with strings of emotions concomitantly. Well, it is not surprising as what else could we expect from a kid studying in second grade!
I was in my fourth standard when I finally got my first period. I could remember my sleepless nights when I used to wake up scared to check for blood stains. Besides, there were so many firsts that I had to deal with such as my first bleed, first sanitary pad, first cramp, first mood swing, and most eminently my first taboos.
Every girl definitely has a period story where she perceives herself as a protagonist and taboo as an antagonist. So was with me. Families of our community are deeply rooted by terrible interdictions such as school absenteeism, keeping periods a secret from father or other male members, keeping oneself away from the day-to-day chores for more than a week, and hundreds more!
However, lucky me, my mom and granny had always been my greatest supporters during those days, and always stood up against such norms.
Taboos and norms like ones in regard with menstruation may not change overnight throughout the nation, but small footsteps such as individual efforts at personal levels project a hope of a positive attitude for upcoming days.
Undoubtedly, the world has transformed today. But still, facts related to the unawareness of girls about periods and menstrual hygiene, bullies and hostile prohibitions, leads to a landslide beneath my legs.
Despite being aware of menstrual flow two years earlier than my first cycle, I had a moral breakdown after my first period and felt restrained inside a box! Now, we can imagine the difficulties girls belonging to underdeveloped regions might undergo, where miserable traditions like Chaupadi Pratha still exist!
It’s therefore very important to cast supporting characters like a granny, grandpa, mom, dad, brother, sister, teacher, and friends in every girl’s period story who can introduce them to period, as a new friend that doesn’t let her down but sparks as a sign of development and strength whenever that time comes in their life.