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On that day in form two when I got my first menses and they weren’t blue, as the numerous demonstrations had showed, I knew that couldn’t be it. My wealth of free pads stashed away in my tin box would be of no use just yet.
After successfully ignoring the red thing for a few hours, the discomfort led me to the nurse. I explained, amid confusion, that I had somehow been injured in my lower abdomen where I was experiencing a gripping pain and this blood could be the result.
She listened without interruption, after which she handed me a pack of pads and a painkiller.
“You don’t understand,” I told her. “I’m not on my period.” Of course, I didn’t use the word ‘period’ because that was a taboo word. Maybe I said Aunty Flo. Or was it the red dragon? Red Wedding? Little Red Riding Hood?
Now that I think of it, her asking what I thought the problem was, was her way of humouring herself out of a boring day.
“I think I am bewitched,” I told her, my throat chocking and eyes blinding from the tears. To me, that seemed like a perfectly reasonable explanation considering where I come from.
What still bothers me after all these years, bewitched or otherwise, is that there is stigma around menstruation, a perfectly normal body function, which without, life would cease to exist.
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