When I was 9, my Mum took me on a day trip – we went for a drive and had lunch and she told me about the time when I would become a woman. I was made to feel special – and I was excited about the day arriving. She explained to me that I would be joining a long line of women before me, that everyone had their period – and that it wasn’t something to be afraid of, or to hide from, but instead, it was something that I should be proud of – something that I should look forward to even.
She taught me that to have your period is something to celebrate. Once a month, women are physically, literally, reminded that they are women. That they are blessed with a uterus – and most importantly, that they are participating in a momentous cycle of womanhood – one that has continued from the beginning of time until this very moment in our world today.
It is a shame now, that I hear stories of girls who don’t receive this simliar information – and instead are forced to learn of periods from textbooks, or worse, the media. They are made to feel isolated, and are disconnected from this ‘long line’ of women that my mother referred to.
Stories of girls who have their period for quite some time before even telling their mother or anyone else. They just go through the motions of purchasing a product from the ‘feminine hygiene’ section of the supermarket and join the queues of people who go through their lives hating having their period, and thus hating being a woman, and even worse, hating themselves.
When the day finally arrived – and I got my period – my Mum hugged me and we cried a bit, but we laughed and loved that I had become a woman. I remember begging Mum not to tell Dad – I think out of embarrasment really. But that afternoon, Dad went to the shops and came home with ice-creams. He bought my younger brother and sister a Paddle-Pop, and a Golden Gaytime for Mum, me and him. I had been bought an adult ice-cream. I felt so grown-up. Dad kissed my forehead and said ‘congratulations’. Mum smiled and cuddled me. Eating that ice-cream with Mum and Dad, made me feel like I was a little bit more grown up than the day before.
To embrace this cycle – to embrace the female, is to be free. A free woman amidst the patriarchal and often anti-female world that we today live in. A Woman. But that is a whole other lesson from my Mum – one for another day perhaps.