Dear Ma Pa,
It has been a couple of months since this new entity crept into my life. It wakes me up at night, gets me writhing during the day and makes me feel vulnerable. I am icky, uncomfortable and in one word- confused. I feel so unprepared to meet it every month. Periods. What is it doing to my body Ma Pa? What is it doing to my mind? Are periods something to be ashamed of?
I don’t understand. I don’t understand why the sanitary pad advertisements show blue blood instead of red. I hear things. I hear that when I get periods I turn ‘impure’. Is it true? Why does a biological process make me impure? Why can’t I go to temples or sit in places of worship when I have them?
Dear Ma Pa, I want to talk about periods out loud. I want to discuss it with you instead of listening to hushed tones which pull me deeper into the abyss of uncertainty. I want to be able to talk about the cramps and pain I go through every month. I want to be able to know what’s clean and hygienic for me. I want to know if it’s normal for my periods to last 2 days at times and 5 on others. I want to know if it’s normal to have them irregular.
What about the changes my body is going through? Should I be embarrassed about my breasts or feel proud of them? There seems to be hair everywhere, armpits, legs, pubic region. This is so new to me, I have to choose my clothes carefully now. Is body hair something to be shy of?
My face is oily and greasy, and I can feel the sprouting of those menacing pimples? I feel the urge to pop them now and then, do they make me look ugly? Even my sweat smells weird. Is that normal? You know I love playing sports. Can I play during these red days? What about swimming?
What about the emotional turmoil that my mind goes through? Few days before the onset of my periods I feel extremely short tempered. I also feel puffy, bloated and tired. Every moment of the day feels like an intense roller coaster.
My friends, especially the boys look at me differently now. I am confused if I enjoy it or detest the same. I don’t want to change Ma pa. Has periods changed me as a person?
What about the sanitary pads? Can I use tampons or are those only for older girls? How do I stop the leakage? Is it such a sin to stain my shorts or skirts? Why should I feel so awkward to spot some blood? Isn’t periods a normal and routine biological process? Then Ma Pa, why don’t you talk to me more about it?
I want to be happy and confident about my body and mind. I want to embrace it all and be at peace with this uninvited guest every month. I don’t want to feel isolated, different and awkward. Will you talk to me about periods, Ma Pa? I want to be friends with this monthly visitor. I don’t want to be the one to hate periods.
Your 11 year old Daughter