Kiss of (no) Love

If you look at me, you will never know where I come from. You will not know that my parents are illiterate, that my father sells vegetables and my mother is a cook and that I stay in a makeshift house in an empty plot owned by a rich family, who employ us as domestic help, without any pay, as a return for this favour. My mother is the most inspiring person in my life. She has big dreams for my sister and me, even bigger than the ones we have for ourselves. She wants us to be everything that she could not be and encourages us to dress up for where we see ourselves and not where we belong to. My mother is my hero and, as a child, I couldn’t wait to grow up to become a woman like her.

While that was a childhood fascination that I had, my first experience of becoming a grown-up happened when I got my first period. Although I was still the same little girl that I was the day before, I was suddenly getting treated like a big girl! I got my periods and my mother gave me a piece of cloth till she bought me a pack of expensive sanitary napkins. This attention was exciting but also made me feel awkward. Soon I found myself become a conversation topic among my female relatives who were happy that I could bear a child and then had a big list of dos and don’ts for me. The list of don’ts was a longer one! I should not:

  • Wear sleeveless clothes
  • Wear shorts
  • Sit or stand with my legs apart
  • Can’t cook
  • Can’t visit a temple or pray to god when on my periods, and such…

It won’t be wrong to say that I started out by disliking periods for killing my happiness.

My mother had raised me to be independent and a free thinker. I did not get into much trouble with my family members too, they would just let me be, but now because of periods, I had a whole list of things that I couldn’t and shouldn’t do.

As I grew older, I was part of multiple conversations around periods in my school and an organization that coached me in Ultimate Frisbee. I realized that for the lack of better knowledge, my extended family shared things that were pretty much baseless. I did come to terms with accepting periods as a natural normal thing that women experience. This never meant that I celebrated my periods or my womanhood or my possibility of motherhood, just that I acknowledged that this was normal and natural and will happen once a month. It was more on the lines of ‘I don’t hate periods, but it also doesn’t mean that we are best friends. This went on for a while till one day I was with my boyfriend, holding hands in a park. It was the last day of my period and I was in a happy place. While in the park, seeing no one around, we moved ahead to kiss each other and it was a beautiful experience. The sun was setting, the sky looked beautiful, the park was lush green, and my boyfriend and me alone on the bench without a world’s care, madly in love with each other. As we got up from the bench to leave for home, I just felt like something squirted out of my body ‘phhchht…’, just like it feels sometimes when I suddenly sneeze during my periods and a gush of fluids pushes out of my privates and into my napkin. I initially thought nothing of it, I just wanted to be in the moment.

When I went back home, I was happy, I ran to the makeshift bathroom of ours to take my napkin out and throw it away till I meet it again the next month and to my dismay, my periods were far from over… My periods happened in full flow for another three days and no, this time I wasn’t hating my periods, I was hating on my boyfriend and vowed to never, ever, ever let him hold my hand and to definitely never kiss him on the last day of my periods. His love had the power to extend my menstruating days!