Twelve days ago, I turned 18 and entered adulthood. But even today, I feel no change in my life. I don’t think it matters whether you are 16 or 18 – we become mature much before we reach the legally-prescribed age for adulthood. As you may be aware, girls start having their periods from an early age – and in most cases, we spend five to six years of our school lives engrossed with our menstrual cycles.
Today, when I look back at my school years, one incident related to my periods makes me laugh and feel disappointed at the same time. That day, my periods started when I was in school. I wanted to go back home because my abdomen was hurting like hell. The other reason why I wanted to return home was because the teacher at the school dispensary was charging exorbitantly for handmade cotton pads and taking advantage of our plight. I did not want to give in to this, by any means.
As children, we were always told to keep quiet about our periods, especially in front of men. The principal of my school at that time was a man. So, it was embarrassing to even think of asking him to let me go home by citing my periods. Then, one of my friend told me the secret formula – to get a half-day off, she used to write an application in the school diary that she was having a ‘girl’s problem’ – and she had got the day off many times in this way. I thought – why not try this? I’ve tried it – and guess what? My request was granted a number of times.
Since then, I thought that if our principal knew what our problem was, why couldn’t we girls state our problem directly – “Sir, I’m having my periods. My abdomen hurts and I want to go back home”? At the same time, I realised why we couldn’t write this. After all, we had always been told by society to not talk about periods in public – since it’s a ‘girl’s thing’.
But I don’t feel that this is true It’s a ‘boy’s thing’ too. In the womb of a mother, blood is one of the sources of nutrition for the baby. And if it doesn’t matter if it’s a girl or a boy in the womb, then why does it matter when girls face their periods? Periods are a human affair, after all. Let’s talk about it!
Featured image used for representative purposes only.