This World Menstruation Day, I read real-life experiences of women, some horrifying, some funny, but most of them trying to raise awareness about the otherwise taboo topic. All the stories about the struggles they underwent as young girls made me reminisce about my own quirky journey to womanhood.
I knew what menstruation was from when I was 11, thanks to my mother and also my school’s ‘exclusive-girls only’ education session which was really a Whisper advertisement for the most part. Our teachers told us to keep our treasure trove of knowledge private and not share it with the boys in the class, which obviously was the ‘most logical thing’.
I remember the time when I was in Class 7; I call it the ‘blooming spring season’. Every other week, some or the other girl left a red stain on her chair. The ‘experienced ones’ would take her to the washroom; arrange a sanitary napkin and behave all adult-like by explaining to her what was going to unfold in her life now. My girlfriends used to discuss their menstrual experiences with each other, ranging from their first period to how dramatic their mood swings were. After all, it was the ‘hot topic’ back then. And, where was I in all of this? Well, I was the late bloomer who was kept out of the period conversations because apparently “I didn’t know what it was, I hadn’t even started bleeding yet.”
I patiently waited the entire time for my day to come. Alas, it wasn’t my week, my month or my year.
Fast forward to Class 8, the overexcited, hormone-driven teens looked forward to the reproduction chapter in Biology. I already knew the mocking that was coming my way, “Focus on the menstruation part of the chapter well, since you don’t even have any experience.” My concerned friends would often ask me, “Why don’t you see a doctor, almost everyone’s on their period except you.” This developed a serious inferiority complex in me. I started questioning my womanhood. “What was wrong with me?” I felt like an outlier whose biological clock wasn’t wired correctly. That year was hard. With each passing day, my patience was wearing out, and my frustration was growing. The constant mocking by my classmates made me an underconfident girl. I always used to complain, “Why me?”
Another year came to an end and it brought with it the exam season. It was the dreaded science exam day and ‘Chemical effects of Electric Current’ wasn’t really my cup of tea. So, yes, I bombed that exam. Later that day, I found out that finally after all these years; I received my gift from the Holy Mother Nature. That day, I didn’t just flush away my period blood, but my sorrows too. Who gave a damn about a useless science exam now? It was my day; the day the gods had finally heard me. My happiness knew no bounds. I was over the moon, dancing like a divine goddess, dramatic, I know. I now knew that I will finally be a part of the girl gang at school. What a happy day it was!
Now, when I look back at this, I laugh thinking how badly I wanted my period. The pain didn’t bother me because the happiness of finally being accepted outweighed any of the sufferings. I was the late bloomer. Everyone talks about the troubles a young girl has to go through when she gets her period, but no one talks about the complex that the late bloomer can develop due to peer pressure. It is okay if you have your period a little late, some plants take longer to bloom. But, eventually, each one of them bears beautiful flowers that have their own unique charm. So, to all those young girls who are waiting anxiously, just hang in there. You’ll get through, trust me!
A proud woman