Being a part of society where talking and education about puberty and periods is still a taboo, I too was grown to imbibe those “moral values”. When the “D-Day” finally hit me,I was all irritated, fighting with everyone and was not able to comprehend the phenomenon happening to my body. I was experiencing a weird stomach pain. Next day, when I was getting ready for school, I told my mom about the blood and pain and she just handed me a piece of cloth. Thankfully, my sister came to my rescue and told me how to fold and use it. Unfortunately pads weren’t available in my town at that time.
That day I was all exhausted, I was having bad cramps. Though, I was in school but all I could focus was on how the blood was coming out.
I used to go to temple for pray, the way my family taught me to. Talking to God always had a soothing effect to my body and soul. But that day was different, I was told not to touch any God’s idol and enter the temple. Being a kid, I thought God is angry with me that’s why all of this is happening to me. I was in an impression that whenever God gets angry on you, you get periods. :D :D
After some time, one of my cousins from Ludhiana visited us and introduced me to sanitary pads and life became little easier.
Then I started reading many articles about the menstruation. I remember one of them talked about that women lived in a large family, they had lot of responsibilities and hard work, So they needed rest and this was the only time they could get etc. which made me realise that this is just a taboo, nothing to be ashamed of.
There were subtle changes in my behaviour like I used to avoid travelling during that time, started spending less time playing etc. I tried to make sure that my family and friends know the real reason behind this. Even though, they kept their silence whenever I mentioned the term “Periods”, that didn’t stop me for talking about what’s natural.
After moving to Gurgaon, I was open about my periods at workplace. Whenever I experienced bad menstrual pain, I used to mention the real reason in the leave email. Youthkiawaaz published an article which says “If periods are not a luxury, menstrual leave is not a privilege. It is a relief provided to women at the workplace on account of a specific, natural bodily function that causes discomfort to them during a few days. Acknowledging pain does not make women the weaker sex; denying their unique experience does.”
Being so open about periods, still couldn’t help me change my mind to go to temple during that time of month. Because that tradition had gone deep into my psyche and I feel guilty if I go against them. But I didn’t want to live with that myth. So, I started going to the temple only on my periods time so that I can change myself and let go off the things which doesn’t make any sense. This is not a big deal as of now, but at that time it felt that I have grown a little.
There is a saying “You can’t change what’s going on around until you start changing what’s going on within you”. It helped my a lot.