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.”

FULL STORY

She Made Me Scared

2019

Mama explained periods to me when I was young,
Around a year before I got mine.
She used to tell me when she was tired because of period pain.
I got my period really early.
I was in the fourth grade.
womanhood, period

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I Love My Cycle

2019

I love my dawra [cycle].
I call it dawra.
I don’t like using the word “period,”
Because it makes me feel as if I’m ashamed of it.
It’s one of those words we say in another language,
Because we’re too embarrassed of it.
I refer to it as my cycle because I’m not embarrassed by it.

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Neither Bad nor Sacred

2019

I was in the sixth grade the first time I got it.
I went to the bathroom,
And discovered that I was bleeding.
I don’t remember if someone had talked to me about it before,
But I remember knowing that I wasn’t injured.
I told my mother and she was happy.
That’s how I knew it was a good thing.

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Not Yet

2019

My family was relatively understanding.
When I was young,
Baba used to always tell people,
“She’s a woman now.”
It made me happy that he saw me that way,
Even though I was still young.
That line used to boost my confidence,
And I knew I could handle anything,
Even if I hadn’t hit puberty,
As opposed to our society,
Which associates puberty with maturity.

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First Glimpse of Blood

2019

I was in the 9th grade when I got my period for the first time.
I knew a little bit about it from my cousins and friends,
Who would talk about how they struggled with it,
But I was still very surprised when I saw the blood,
And I ran to tell my mother.

FULL STORY

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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Broken Hymen

2019

I was very young,
About 8 years old,
When I found blood in my underwear.
I didn’t pay any attention to it,
Until my mother saw it and asked me.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“Tell me if you find blood again,” she said.
She explained menstruation to me,
And explained what a hymen was.
She told me it resembles a wet napkin,
And that it could tear easily,
And that they’d kill me if I tore it.
This scared me,
And stopped me from doing anything.

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My Own Blood

2018

I was disgusted at the blood coming out of me.
I saw it the way they did: dirty blood.
Blood that forbade me from praying.
Blood that meant a woman couldn’t sleep with a man—or so say they say.
Blood that I tried to hide.
womahood, period, body image

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Everyone Knew About It

2019

I waited until we got back home,
And asked my father.
“My aunt said so and so,
And I don’t want to catch this disease.
What should I do?”
My father is a doctor,
And he made sure while we were growing up,
To let us know that our relationship is more than just a father-daughter relationship.
We were also friends.
So he explained everything to me.

FULL STORY