**A few days ago I was sitting around with a few of my classmates, we had decided to have dinner so we put together some money, bought some supplies and one of my friends was happy to do the cooking. As we were waiting for the food we were talking, of course, and I cannot remember how we stumbled upon the topic but one of the guys asked in an innocent enough manner what it feels like to be on one’s period, obviously directed at the girls. Personally, I was having one of those days where I had just had it with life! I had had cramps all day, while trying to study for three cats that we were scheduled to have in the next two days and this question was an invitation to just let it all out. It might have been a somewhat similar expereince for my female friends because we all kinda just attacked him, as if it was his fault we had to be incredibly uncomfortable for a few days every month. He was in an incredibly uncomfortable position himself(poor guy) and once we finally let up, one of the other guys whispered to him that there are things you should never ask about, and a woman’s period was one of them…too true!**
**Picking it up from there, because it is one of those things you just do not ask about, I decided I would. I could write volumes of what those few days every month feel like, and none of it would be good. In addition, now that I think about it, every time I have talked about this with my girlfriends, rarely does anyone have anything nice to say. The following are short descriptions of what it feels like from a few people, I found them both enlightening and entertaining! **
Samira: It feels like your body is rebelling against you. Like all your body parts just don’t want to be part of you and want to break off!
Akinyi: Being on my period makes me feel complete as a woman.
Sophia: It’s depressing. It feels like death. I either want to die or get a gender change. It’s the worst!
Betty: Being on my period feels horrible but at the same time I am so happy I’m not pregnant.
Sarah: Being on my period feels like 5 days of constant death. I’m constantly exhausted, in pain, uncomfortable and self-conscious.
**a few days later**
Sarah: One more thing about my period, it makes me hate that I am a woman but the relief that comes after cramps makes me realize that I’m a strong person.
Njeri: It feels like my vagina has little evil elves stabbing me in there.
Paulyne: When I think of my period, only one thing comes to mind…the excruciating pain I experience. Pain that no painkiller can cure or even reduce. Possibly pain to make up for my sins? I can’t walk, I can’t lay down…it’s crazy! That is ALL I think about when I think of my periods, I suffer.
Ethel: It’s like experiencing all negative emotion at the same time plus you smell and your tummy and back are also aching.
Wanjiru: Picture bombs…being dropped from planes… Sometimes many at a time… On innocent civilians… That’s what it is like, it’s like so much suffering you did nothing to deserve.
Michelle: Before I gave birth my periods were really painful. I would not want to even get out of bed. No particular mood changes but a few days before I would be really emotional, mostly sad. After giving birth, the pain eased up. I don’t get such painful cramps these days but I get really depressed. I feel sad for no particular reason.
Mwende: When I’m on my period sometimes I feel I have a valid reason to excuse myself from doing things that I don’t want to do. It is the one good excuse that even men cannot argue with.
Sally: My period. It feels strange to talk about it, because that is exactly what society teaches us not to do. Let me at least try. It is like a sort of friend you are happy to see at first before you remember why you don’t like them. Or, in my case, why you hate them. I guess then it is not really a friend. Being a life sciences student, I know exactly how necessary it is in my reproductive cycle, but I still hate it. My period is painful, it makes me more likely to commit assault, it gives me weird cravings and unpredictable mood swings, it makes me nauseous…did I mention the pain? That is my period…and I’m stuck with it until menopause parts us permanently. Damn!
Kathleen: My period has made me inherently afraid of pain. I can normally feel it coming for about 3 days in advance and I get really irritable at the thought of the pain and discomfort that will follow in a few days. When it finally does start, I try to be constantly doped on painkillers, but on the first two days the numbing effect of painkillers is not enough. I still feel like I’m walking around with a knife plunged into my pelvis. Sometimes my mind cannot comprehend how my body can be in so much pain with no visible signs of distress. Except there’s the blood…the toilet always looking like the scene of a homicide right before you flush. The slow and silent drip…drip…drip as you attempt to go about your business all day.
Can’t we perhaps just receive an email notification every month, informing us that our uterine walls are being torn apart because implantation did not occur? I wish!