DON'T say Period.. Shh!
"Lady Business", "Code red", "that time of the month?", sounds better? familiar?
Yes, we were advised and forced to use alternative phrases since the day we started menstruating. Some of the adults even tried to enlighten us -"Now, you are a woman!"
But, what if, that person doesn't want that feeling of womanhood? Inclusivity has been rare in our society and when it comes to Periods, it has always been a Ladies-worst secret. However, menstruation is the most natural process, in almost every menstruators body leaving out a few exceptions. Menstruators are considered "impure" while they are on their periods; the illogical taboos and myths regarding menstruation is uncountable, even varying from region to region, culture to culture. When I first got my period, (I was 13) I was guided mostly by the internet, YouTube videos and Period-hacks on wikihow to deal with it. I received no advice on how to manage sitting for hours in school on the second day of my period, and guess what! leaks! yes, the first bench on the class was a pool of blood. Friends came as saviors with pads and that's how I knew.. You need to keep some extra kit with you and track your flow! else, you will create another pool! I was not ashamed with all the stains on my white skirt, that was my first period. I never knew I would bleed that much! Even, all the Menstrual Product (Well just Sanitary Pads, as a kid I had never seen a Tampon Ad) advertisements showed blue liquid in place blood, it took me some time to figure out things all by myself. Little did I know, it was all normal, or maybe not. Afterall, I was not supposed to talk about Period!
Things became weirder when our biology teacher smiled a little too much while teaching adolescence and Female Reproductive system... none of the information in the book was funny, they were actually very important for us to know. We were all 13 or 14 years old and it was already late to teach us about all the changes that we were already observing, feeling, and coping with. But the teacher, chose to ignore it, ignore it with smiles. I still remember how all my mates found the subject funny, they were a little too curious about the topics and trust me, most of their sources of information were wrong. I did question one of the teachers, and she calmly shut me down, with another illogical statement: It was a Co-Ed school. With time, and as a 'not very well-read' teen, I started enjoying the jokes, and I still feel guilty about it; there was nothing joke-worthy about menstruation and sexual health, which we were never been taught in reality.
While being amongst all like-minded ignorant kids of the stereotypical society, I tried to accept every change, "Maybe these are normal", I wondered....until, I was not allowed to visit a temple because I was on period.
I wanted a reason! "What's the logic?" I questioned, and unsurprisingly received no answer. That was the first time I protested and went ahead to enjoy the festival on the 3rd day of my period. I started studying, from experiences of people, articles by ob-gyns, and blogs of different menstruators. I began talking about period openly, in front of all my friends and family, mostly being stopped. After almost 3 years of continuous lectures and debates, my mother now uses the term "period"...yes, no alternate term! quiet an achievement, I would say!
But, there's a long way to go...
The unnecessary burden on menstruators due to all the stereotypes, myths and taboos affects the overall wellness and it's time we educate ourselves.
Let's learn and normalize Periods.