Once upon a time. Thrice upon a time!
Naïve. That’s how my growing up was looking back. Maybe our parents back then felt some things needed to be taught at school and not at home. Ain’t frustrated. Just the way things were, things that will never repeat themselves with my generation.
So when one day I went to visit my aunt at her Umoja residence, I had not yet had the period talk. Class 5. Didn’t even know if cramps was a thing. Or the fact that your first is just like a new born, just an introduction to what lays ahead that requires a lot of pampering to even figure itself out.
Back then I hated honey and because everyone in her house partook the sweet secretion, who was I to say no? That same day I had a stomach ache and within hours there was a thick red excretion on my panty. One that looked like the honey I had ceremoniously eaten. (Sounds funny when I think of it but hey you can’t laugh🙃.)
That to me was the beginning of my chum. Digital era had not kicked in to Google the symptoms. Neither had the home schooling a mother was to give to her daughter been facilitated. However, after that it was gone!
Class 6. A year later, (feels like the moments later gif) the same aunt but now at Donholm, the red wedding came back. Maybe they loved this aunt and probably she would have been the best to administer the talk. However, we weren’t that tight of friends like today. A love affair between bleeding and tissue did the talking🙆. Still didn’t know how to go about it. Thought sickness had taken over. Going to die!💀 I even remember we went to the village and had to wrap a sweater to my waist so that the villagers could not see my sickness. Then it went away😃. A miraculous healing.
PPE came in school as a must morning lesson. One where boys went away with the male teachers whereas girls had the female teachers to themselves. Here menstruation was introduced. Hallelujah. Doll in check, a pad in hand, the lessons began.
Class 8. Yuhuuu anybody home? We are here to stay Eva, so you better speak up, aunt flo said. One early morning while preparing to go to school I went to the toilet because they were here. Girl did she stay to the toilet, prepping how to approach her mother. Then the speech was interrupted by my brothers who ‘cried’ they would be late for school since the bus was already waiting. Didn’t tell my mother, went to school instead.
At school a safe space was provided. And when my dress brightly showcased code red, my desk mate, a boy, didn’t laugh or spread the news. He gave me my sweater and approached another girl who took me to the period talk teachers. Here I was given water to wash off, new panty and a packet of sanitary towels. There was no shame. No shyness. I was growing. Becoming a woman.
Then the other mystery began. How was I to know the end or the beginning of the next flow? The best pads? The math was not mathing.