A Serious Condition

2019

I first found out about periods when I was around 11 years old.
We were in Saudi Arabia when I started noticing mama’s Always pads.
I didn’t understand what they were,
Or what they were used for.
All I knew was that they were mama’s,
And that she used them,
But I didn’t understand why.
Then she told me,
But I didn’t understand.

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When I Was Ten

2019

I remember the exact day.
It was on a Friday in February.
My mother had told us, ever since we were 10 years old,
That we’d start wearing the hijab as soon as we got it,
Because it’s a religious obligation.
I’d hoped I’d never get it.

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Not Disgusted

2019

I got my period at the end of elementary school,
During the summer vacation.
I didn’t know what it was.
I thought I was sick,
Or had some sort of problem.
I asked my mother in tears.
“It’s normal,” she said.
She didn’t explain anything.
“Normal how?” I asked her.
She still didn’t explain anything to me.

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Older and Lovelier

2019

My parents have always been aware and informed, thank God.
One time, when I was younger, mama asked me to hand her some pads.
She wanted me to ask her what they were for.
“This is something all girls will need to use someday.
It’s a sign that they’re getting older and lovelier,” she replied simply.
womanhood, period, parents

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My Family’s Embarrassment

2019

I’ve always liked to read about everything.
I got my period in the eighth grade,
And I knew what it was from the things I had read.
I used to place tissues in my underwear,
Until I found out about pads.

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I Am on My Period

2019

I don’t remember how old I was when I got it.
But I remember that I knew what it was,
From mama and my older cousin.
“You’ll find blood in your underwear one day.
Don’t worry or get startled.
It’s something that happens to all girls.
It lets them know that they’re grown up.
When it happens to you,
Come tell me.”

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War Secret

2019

“Who does this belong to?” she asked.
“It’s mine,” I replied, rather naively.
She laughed.
“Congratulations. You’re a woman now.
I have to go tell your father the good news!”
womanhood, period, body image

FULL STORY

So and So Got Her Period

2019

I was having a hard time accepting the changes my body would go through.
I used to see how my mother dealt with her period,
And the blood terrified me.
I was afraid of getting it.
Most of my friends and cousins had gotten it.
I felt sorry for them when they told me the news.

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It Has Come

2019

I was 12 when it came.
In Palestine, we say ajetny [it has come] when we get our periods.
It happened when I got home after school.
There was a lot of blood.
I got really scared.
I cried a lot.
I couldn’t understand why I was bleeding.
womanhood, period, body image

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The Virginity Test

2019

I didn’t bleed a lot the first day I got my period,
So there were doubts about whether or not it was actually my period.
It was the worst time of my life.
womanhood, period, gender violence, fgm, virginity testing

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