Updated: Dec 1, 2020
When the world abruptly slowed sometime in March, my mind suddenly had more space to open, to pause, think, wonder. I lept at this. Rather, I sat. I sat with the thoughts. I sat amongst the discomfort rising in my chest, winding its way to my neck, pulling and plucking to create a tightness. Quite often, these pondering thoughts curved and rounded the bends of women’s bodies. I found my thoughts hovering in the space of what makes a woman's body her own. What control does she have over what is hers? What has society told her, ever so insidiously, that has formed her way of looking at herself? What harm has all of this truly caused?
At times, current moment included, I have taken steps to take back jurisdiction over my body in my own ways, to serve my body for myself. Razors to the waste bin. Menstruation, free to flow. Openness with other women to discuss our bodies...it's like a record scratching to a hault as the topic door opens. Why is this?
Since becoming aware of my ever changing body, I have noticed an apprehension, amongst women, to discuss our bodies.. How has our society so shamed us into believing our bodies, our bodies that give life, are not worthy of respect. Our bodies, that flow with the moon to create magic, to reveal great mysteries, are not to be utterly loved and cherished.
When first creating sprouted roots in Nashville, I was deeply fortunate to be included in a group of women who openly and lovingly discussed bodies. All bodies. We sat in community to discuss thoughts and life...and it gave me power. In space with the SheWolves, I finally had affirmation that my body was doing everything my beautiful body was supposed to. I had women who were open about the bizarre happenings of our bodies and women who laughed with crazy excess at what surprises may appear in our underwear. I found a home for my body amongst the bodies of other women.
When in Riga, Latvia earlier this year, Nik and I met a gorgeous soul while dining at an Indian Restaurant. Jyoti, from Nepal, is living in Riga to study. This past week, I received this stunning message from Jyoti and my heart sank and soared, in equal parts. I have been given permission to share her beautiful message, all in hopes of bringing about conversation amongst women regarding the deep beauty of their bodies. To encourage more conversations in hopes of removing body shame. To show that their is real power in knowledge and education in supporting the health of women! Though history may have dictated a way for women to operate in this world, now is the moment for real change. Education. Deep and honest discussion. I hope it gives you pause.
I have left this message just as I received it from Jyoti, so you can read her exact words because...they are beautiful!
“With every blur memories from my childhood to everything fresh on my mind today, I know I have been questioning a lot to myself, why and how and when and where and so on.
A lot of questions but never found anyone there to answer. Since Nepal ain't such a rich country, neither my family has been super rich. Average income and everything on average.
What disgusted me since my childhood was, we were living with my relatives. My dad rented a room in his sister's apartment because then, he loved his sister so much that he wanted to stay with her. That time may be because of dad's small age, he didn't care enough to have his own apartment. So, it was one room, two big beds, my parents and my sibling, we all slept together. My relatives might be very good in different levels but living together took me to a whole other level of depression which today we call it 'childhood trauma'.
My first menstruation, I was 13 years old, I was always told not to sit too near to any male no matter if they belonged among my own people, daddy, brother, cousins, no matter who.
So I was sleeping, and around 3 a.m., I got a feeling that I peed on my bed. I immediately rushed to toilet and I saw blood. My whole body went cold, I felt my heart in my mouth. I called mummy and showed her. She gave me a piece of cotton cloth to put on my undies. I wanted to run to my Dad and tell him that I was bleeding but yeah, no one allowed me to do so. Next day, I went school because I had exams and again I was given a piece of cotton cloth to put on. I literally used to put my hands down there because i was so afraid that it would fall down and it did fall by the end of the day.
I asked my mom to buy me sanitary pads but she told that no one in our home used it, neither she nor my cousin sisters. Every month I had to use the cotton cloth and deal with the rashes and the smell and the fear of the cloth falling.
I was being beyond my tolerance so I made a plan. My dad used to give my 15 rupees everyday while going school for rickshaw fare. I started saving those 15 rupees and used to walk to school. And after saving around 140-150 rupees, I used to buy two packets of pads and use it without letting anyone know.
And one day, my father's sister got to know it, she started taunting me with words like, she has started expensing money to stupid things and blah blah. It again went against my tolerance, I straight went to my dad and told him about my periods and pad.
Thanks to the universe that I have the best parents, my parents said sorry, and since then including me, everyone used sanitary pads, my dad himself used to buy so that every female could use it. But the other ladies did not use it, they said it was against their morals.
What kinda moral is it?
Who made these morals?
How did it start?
Why people are so dumb that they don't even see what their health is going through?
The thing that bothers me is, why such a superstition is still given so much of space, so many teenagers and women are dealing with this shit in south asian countries. So many vaginal diseases, so much of pain and irony is-they aren't allowed to speak up with their own family.
When will this world change? How will this world change? They say change begins with one person but no, it doesn't. Change begins when the leaders compel change to every people around.
Slowly the world is changing they say, people are being more conscious they say, but still the count of teenagers and women that get sick and die because of this issue is high.”
Thank you Jyoti. Let your words ring out. Let them vibrate to create change.
We have the power to create change regarding our bodies and for all the women and girls who shall follow!
Women of the world...lets talk. I am here for any and all conversations. You are beautiful.
- Me age 10
- This is Jyoti...