At about half past eleven, I got strong spasms in my belly which I totally attributed to the horrible mess food. Before popping in an antacid, which is indispensable in hostel, I feared the worst. A quick check and the shameless guest had arrived days prior to the scheduled date. Having periods at such late hour would mean tossing and turning in discomfort and missing classes the next day. Then I called up my boyfriend to explain that me feeling unloved, craving attention and crying incessantly was all the doing of PMS.
There is a sudden strong bonding between two girls sharing the same time phase of menstruation.
So, the other day, we were discussing how our timetables revolve around periods. Starting off, we are cranky, annoyed and irritated few days prior to periods with the additional dose of indigestion and stomach ache. Followed by the three, five or seven days of menstruation. We hardly get a few happy days before we start ‘PMSing’ again. And this is how we are constantly praying that no festival or exams falls during our periods, lest we spoil it. We plan are vacations around our happy days to really enjoy it.
Despite menstruation being such an embedded part of our lives and despite the fact that to this day the myths and taboos around periods persists, there are women who add to the problem.
It is easy to point at the men who comment that it’s that time of the month if a woman has a strong opinion, different from the men. It is even easier to lay blame on the men who say how women have it easy; from easy they mean getting off work early under the pretext of periods and are excused for the same. They call us weaklings for not being accustomed to it despite it being a monthly affair. If only I could have a dime for every time I am told by a guy that I should relax, because it’s not the first time I had it. Now, it doesn’t matter if you have to carry tampons and painkillers in your purse because your cramps could become unbearable any time, some men assume that the entire deed of talking about periods and its various aspects is exaggerated. Despite it, I cannot lay the blame on them.
Because for every such guy, there is a woman who would tell her male counterparts how she wouldn’t be such a cry baby for leaving work due to mild discomfort like the other girl did. There are women who take digs at each other for their tolerance of periods symptoms.
On the other hand, some of us absolutely deny the presence of periods discomfort and PMS in a pursuit for equality. We also shame women who give in to their pain. We are responsible for this sham where we still have to fight the many misapprehensions around periods. Most of us forget that not every woman has similar period patterns, PMS and other symptoms thereof.
I fail to understand what kind of equality we’re pursuing if in this quest we deny the existence of a bodily function.