when I fell off my bicycle for the first time and bled,
myMum jumped in to pick me up and
“Beta!”, she said,
“You know why Superman has a cape that is red?”
“Well, because he bled. And his cape is not in fact a cape,it is a piggybank of all the blood he bled and all the wounds he’s had. Your blood too, could stitch you a cape only if you learn to embrace the glory of it.”
“Remember,”she said, “The more you bleed, the greater, the wider your cape shall be and the mightier you’ll be.”
I went tumbling down the stairs pretending to be Jill, sans the hill, Jack, and the pail of water, and since breaking crowns was already too mainstream, I chose to break a tooth and a bone on my left rib and bleed, again, and my Mum,well,she,like with all the other things in the world, chanted her mantra again, “Stitching a Superman cape isn’t really a piece of cake. It requires cuts and holes and bruises and aches, you still up for it?”
My rib was ready to cut through my flesh and fall and all I could manage was a muddled nod.
Off she went again, “Remember, the more you bleed, the mightier you’ll be.”
Honestly, succumbing to her advice, made falling and hurting and bleeding way more easier from then.
Scars became my craziest of friends and my greatest achievements,
blanketed over dense hairy rainforests of my skin like lichens and mosses, cared, uncared for, they grew anyway.
Scars were now my statement pieces and my showpieces
at this art gallery of a body I took years to curate with carelessly cared-for wounds
They were my copyrighted stories and poetries
They were my receipted bills of all the sunshines and rugged hills and charcoal black roads and yellow-green meadows, I had seen and tripped over.
I wore my mud-blood-tainted wounds like I wore the badges I got at school for all my outstanding performances
I wore them like my homework notebook wore all the “Good!” remarks and all the smileys and stars
I wore them like Miley Stewart wore her blonde wig
and like Grandpa wore his false teeth and his wrinkly mesh of a skin
Each time I bled I told myself how mightier I was and I walked up to myMum to breathe into her ear a little number that said something like, “Hey,mind you, I am mightier now, watch me as I grow!”
All this became my favourite game; I was already 251 times mightier at eight, 298 times at nine and all of it was perfect until my 709th time.
That day I walked up to my Mum and whispered, “Maa, 709 this time and it hurts.”
For some reason, the blood this time, wasn’t just right
The pain of the wound wasn’t fine this time
And that is not me judging
You could tell by that peculiar anxiety, that drip of her sweat, that cracking of her knuckles
As if she’d missed a 70% sale next door
But had she not attended one a week before?
Then, she pulled me to the side, asked me to lower down and pretend
Pretend as if everything was fine
Pretend as if my day was better and brighter than all the lights in the house combined,
Pretend as if everything seemed alright
If not anything,
Pretend as if everything
was normal with this body of mine.
Pretend, to say the least and the most.
But what was with all this pretending?
Why the plastered pretending, the unwilling succumbing, the labored adjusting?
While my head was demanding explanations for Mum’s anxiety and petty rationalizations was all I could hurl at it in return, she came, armed with a Whisper, covered in a green and white éclat of mystery, wrapped in a black polythene of shame
Handing it to me, she asked me to whisper every time my body whispered to me down south so that she could hand me a Whisper to atone for my body’s whisper.
But, what about the blood cape game?
Are we not keeping count anymore?
Are we not stitching an armor anymore?
Are we not being the Superman anymore?
She nods, “Oh,yes,we are
But let’s call it the ‘Whisper-man game’
Let your body be the Whisper man
Let your blood be the whisper
Let your sanitary pad be the pain
Let your panty hose be the cape
“Honey,” she says, “Embrace the glory of your blood
But keep the stain and the pain and the itch and the hitch to yourself.
Be your Superman but use your power to fly in and out the bathrooms
Be your curator but don’t let your art gallery flow out your pants.”
And all those years,
While Hannah Montana got the best of both worlds,
I figured out how to prevent my world down south from fusing into
all the other worlds I knew.
While my sanitary pad went on to have large and extra large wings
I figured out how to fit the wings into my underwear.
While Superman went on flying over the whole of Marvel city with his red cape on
I figured out how to keep the red off my pants.
And that is how it has been ever since 709.
This is not a rant for all the days you said I was too cranky
This is not a complaint for all the days you asked me to stop PMS-ing around,
This is not an excuse for all the days I was told, “You need to take a leave, maybe.”
This is a story, my story
A story of the glory of my stained jeans
A story of the glory of me donning my red cape every month
A story of the glory of me painting towns and trousers red simultaneously
and the simple fact that I am not whispering this in your ear
Makes it an act of defiance, so here, hear me say
We are all fighting battles
And mastering the rugged hills and charcoal black streets and hurricane prone areas and all difficult terrains life throws at us
It is only that our battlegrounds are different.
It is only that our terrains are different.
I have got a 1000000 battles to fight and my period isn’t one
So,just to let Mum know,
“Maa, periods don’t confine me
The stains don’t bind me to stop keeping count of how mightier I am this time
The glory of the blood is still mine
The strength of the scars is still inside
The receipted bills are still just fine
And I choose to embrace it
every single day I wear my half stained jeans
I choose to be my own ‘Super’
Every single day I walk to school with pad wings on the inside and dreams on the outside
I choose to embrace it every single time
I don’t whisper to ask for a Whisper.
I choose to embrace it
every time I let my period be a period,not a full stop or a comma or a hyphen or a semi colon or a disturbance in the line.
Just a period
Author: Yashna Arora
I am an average seventeen-year old from New Delhi,India with millennial choices and issues. I like dancing to misogynistic EdSheeran songs, casually pulling political statements apart at the seams,while also secretly awaiting my Hogwarts’ acceptance letter. On most days,I let my thoughts of what the world would look like minus patriarchy and rape culture,what covfefe would taste like and how well the new Snapchat filter suits me, consume me only to end up writing my way through life’s confusions and distortions.+
Editor: Divya Rosaline