I wasn’t feeling well for over a month.
I had a stomach-ache,
And was feeling down all the time.
My mother took me to see a doctor when I told her.
After he examined me, he said,
“There’s nothing wrong with you.
And stop eating food that isn’t home-cooked.”
A month later,
I got my period.
I didn’t understand what it was at first.
I wanted to be a boy when I was young.
My brother and our cousins would be allowed to play in the garden behind our house until late, but not me.
They used to hop the fence, play hooky, then come back and lie about it, make up stories.
As for me, if I even so much as tried to call my cousin at night they’d tell me
“Why? Aren’t you going to see each other tomorrow morning?
I was around 12 years old.
Our relatives were visiting on the day I got my first period.
I hid in the bathroom.
I was too scared to come out.
I didn’t know what to tell them.
My mother then called for me.
She came in and hugged me.
She told me it was a normal thing.
I was 12 years old when I got my first period.
I cried because I knew that meant I was a grown-up now.
My mother and my father’s relatives ululated and cheered.
My father was happy.
I still don’t understand the reason behind the immense happiness families feel when their daughter gets her period.
Does it mean there’s nothing wrong with me?
I don’t get it.
A couple of months later,
There was a copy of the Quran in the living room,
And my father asked to move it.
My grandfather was there too.
“I can’t,” I replied.
“Maybe it’s that time of the month,” my father said.
I went to my room and cried,
Because now everyone knew.
I don’t know why I used to be embarrassed about it.
I don’t know what made me feel embarrassed.
But I’m not embarrassed by it at all now.
If anyone asks me what’s wrong with me when I looked tired,
I tell them I’m on my period.
It doesn’t matter who it is that’s asking me.
I’m not afraid or embarrassed saying it, like I used to be.
And I don’t have a problem eating in front of other people when I’m not fasting.
“My daughter is manly”
The phrase my mother has always repeated with pride,
Ever since I was a child.
I had one brother.
We were like twins.
I was always the impulsive one who’d get into fights,
And defend my brother.
Instead of scolding me,
My mother found pride in it.