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.
Because of my curiosity,
I asked mama for one too.
“That’s for big girls only,” she’d say in an upset and serious tone.
My curiosity compelled me to wear the hijab like them,
Just so I could be a grown up woman like them.
But still she ignored me.
I kept secretly watching them,
I was 13 years old the first I got it.
I got cramps,
So I went to the bathroom.
I was scared by the blood and called my mother.
She opened the door and saw me.
“Do you know what that is?” she asked me.
“Yes,” I replied.
She closed the door and sent someone to buy me pads.
I would always hear stories from my friends,
About how they were surprised the first time they got their periods,
And how it affected them,
And how they accepted their changing bodies.
Thank God for my mother,
May she rest in peace.
When my body started to change,
And show signs of puberty,
My mother explained to me what menstruation was,
What happens exactly during it,
And why it happens.
I was 9 years old.
I remember coming back from school,
And finding some blood in my underwear.
I thought I’d gotten injured,
And didn’t give it much thought.
I became afraid the following days,
When there was still more blood.
I didn’t want to tell my mother,
So she wouldn’t yell at me.
My parents explained to me in detail everything about puberty,
Before it happened.
They were psychologically preparing me for it,
So that I wouldn’t be taken by surprise.
They were also laying the groundwork for the social and religious obligations,
That accompany puberty.
I was the only girl in an office full of men.
Sometimes, I’d have to work for twelve hours straight.
I’d get so exhausted when I got my period that I’d sometimes faint.
It’s not reasonable for me to get exhausted every month,
So I devised a story about how there’s something wrong with my kidneys.