Under Wraps

There were certain things that could not be discussed at the table. Menstruation was one of them. It was discussed in the shadows, amidst whispers. Truth seldom lurked in those shadows. That’s how I was convinced that painful periods were normal.

I suffered in silence. When I tried to speak up, I was told that it was normal. When the pain got excruciating, I was told that it was all in my head. It seemed my head had a circulatory system, an SGR that helped it move from the North of my body to the Equator, my waist.

The first time I set out to buy pads as a young girl, I walked praying that I would find the shopkeeper’s wife. It would be easier to ask her for Always. When I found the shopkeeper himself, I thought about going back home and coming back later, but I needed the pads urgently. I mustered all the courage I had within and asked for pads.

“Habari yako? Tafadhali nipe Always.” I said as I looked at the stock behind him.

“Mzuri. Oh! Unataka Always?” he asked with half a smile on his face as he connected the dots, I was finally menstruating, no longer a little girl.

“Ndio.” I answered as I looked at the ground. It was already an awkward conversation, we didn’t need eye contact to make it worse. He hurriedly picked a packet of Always with wings, wrapped it in a newspaper and then put in a black paper bag. I was embarrassed. This action spoke volumes to me, it said: periods were to be kept under wraps.

A painful diagnosis with Endometriosis got me talking about periods on any platform I could find. The pain of surgery and hormonal treatment eradicated the illusion of shame. I shared a bit of my story on my Vlog.

We need to talk about periods at the table, even from the mountaintops if we can. There are too many women suffering in silence, too many girls languishing alone, hating menstruation, yet it can be a beautiful thing.

As our girls are home from school, I encourage us to talk openly and freely about periods. Ask them about their periods the last couple of months and take steps to help them.

Let’s talk about periods over a cuppa.

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Dream Again

I’m having a little party today. Celebrating a new beginning.

I found out I had Endometriosis when I was ready to change the world. It interrupted my life, plans and dreams. I was young, naive and somewhat full of energy. The endless opportunities in my horizon excited me, that was until Endo got the best of me. I went from being energetic to psyching up to do simple and mundane tasks such as showering. Leaving the house was difficult, while keeping my dreams alive seemed like folly.

My periods had taken over my whole life. Pain was my companion and medication had become my cuppa. My previously blemish-less tummy, now held scars that were the only proof that my pain was real. That it was not a figment of my imagination. They vindicated me, though they remained hidden.  The color had been erased from my world. My rainbow had become a Zebra.

Even after I got better, it took a while to reclaim my mind. To change my mindset, to embrace the new season. I was scared to be okay, because I thought that a flare up was lurking in the shadows. When I had a series of good days, I almost felt guilty. One day, it dawned on me that I had given myself to Endometriosis. Yes, I had Endometriosis, but it too had me. I was stuck and suffocating. Life without Endo seemed foreign, like it was too good to be true. Like a privilege that I wasn’t supposed to enjoy. Fear held me captive, the possibility of having a normal life and then relapsing to the dark valley where I could barely do anything scared me.

I managed my life, expectations and dreams. Endo had taught me to cope, never to thrive. Somewhere in the midst of it I forgot how to shine, so I settled for mediocre. This mindset reduced my dreams to naught.

A  few months ago, I had an idea to start a Vlog, I had the episodes all lined up in my head, but the voice deep within, screamed that I couldn’t do it. So I buried the idea, but it kept resurrecting, no tomb of darkness could contain it. It became clear, that part of my life’s mission was to create content.

After weeks of toying with the idea, burying it, fighting it while embracing it, I decided to start it. What a relief it is, to finally just start. The hurdles seem bigger when you are stationary, when the ball starts rolling you see that your dreams can become a reality.

Karibu Yellow Endo Flower . To start us off, I talk about my journey with acne and why I stopped drinking coffee.

Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCQOngXT4WM&feature=youtu.be