When young little 7th grade Nandu got her period, she couldn't care less. Honestly, I didn't blink an eye when I got my period - it was just "eh, looks like I'm bleeding lol" and then moving right along with life.
When my mother explained to me what it was, I was still as indifferent. For a kid who just started bleeding from her vagina randomly, I was alarmingly chill. I slapped on a pad with my mother explaining to me how it's done from outside the bathroom door and then off I went, to do whatever important work a 12-year-old has.
But even careless Nandu was uncomfortable with all the precaution that came with a bleeding vagina - I think I didn't move about my legs freely for the whole day because of all the mess inside my pants.
The worst thing about that day? My relatives show up at my house and congratulate me on being a "grown lady" now. Why on Earth are my aunties and uncles congratulating me for a bleeding vagina? I mean I appreciated all the money I made that day, but like who does that?
Mother dearest has assembled the entirety of my family to "celebrate" my womanhood or something of that sort and the sentiment is sweet honestly, but a moody 12 year old can only deal with so much. Not like I stormed off or created a scene - I was just plain awkward.
What do I reply to "congratulations on your endless cramps for years to come"? The answer is - nothing. No one has to reply to that, but I did - all shy and embarrassed. Mumma had only one intention though - to make sure that my period wasn't stigmatized - by me, or anyone else in the family.
See? Sweet sentiment. Awkward as it was, not only did I make some money, but I also got my favorite food - prawn curry and rice. So overall, not the worst day ever I guess - apart from the bloodbath in my pants and not knowing how to control it.
But apparently, this period celebration thing is a whole trend that innocent little moms use to practically torture their child. Again, sweet sentiment - but God, it's just embarrassing for a 12-year-old.
A whole lot of countries even have a tradition of celebrating a girl's first period. Which is fair, because it is a milestone - but the traditions can get, um, weird.
For example, when a Filipino girl gets her first period, her mother washes her blood-soaked underwear with plain water. Then she smears it on her daughter’s face in the belief that doing so will prevent the girl from getting pimples. The daughter is also supposed to jump down three steps from the stairs which signify the number of days she will be on her period.
First things first - I'm so glad I just had prawns curry and rice and then called it a day instead of this. Smearing half washed blood on your child? Sounds like a serial killer's dream. But each to their own, I'm not judging. (only a little and let's all agree it's fair to)
Iceland has it pinned down though. When a girl gets her first period, she is treated to a cake baked by her mother. And it’s not an ordinary cake either. It’s all red and white - like a red velvet situation - symbolizing her daughter’s new milestone. And now I want to shift to Iceland.
India also has a tradition that's just what you'd expect. On the first day of her period, the girl is bathed by her close female relatives, fed rich food and kept in isolation. (I have so many questions) Then she is bathed again and dressed in a sari. Family and friends are invited to a celebration ceremony. The young girl is given gifts and the guests enjoy the feast that’s been prepared. The sari symbolizes that she is now a woman.
It's simple, a little strange and full of food - three things we can't do without. But here's what's cool about these traditions - it eliminates the stigma around periods! And it's honestly, kind of comforting to have people give you all the attention, money and food they can.
So if you want to celebrate your first period, or your parents want to - do it. (and invite me)