(Isilumo the phasing)
by Christie van Zyl
This month I let my period pain again
But my periods are annoying me
Just a note to you Godperson that created us
My periods come with nausea, headaches & hectic emotional activity based on hormonal outrage
My periods come with intense cravings, loss of appetite, fatigue and extreme irritability
I fully understand and appreciate its detoxing and cleansing nature
I fully comprehend that these symptoms are a sign of dead cells leaving the body for regeneration
I am in excrutiating pain though
And I know that with a good diet and adequate consumption of water, I can have a pain free and hazardous symptom free period
I am menstruating though with very little access to the kind of healthy consumption that would make this process bearable
A bulk of us woman are living on a protein and carbohydrates diet only, clogging up our blood systems making our bleeding process equivalent to illness
Sausages and pap. Chicken and rice. Dumplings and amathambo (meaty bones). The most vegetable on my plate would be potatoes when we can afford them, otherwise onion is all you get.
On occasion mommy would manage to get us a can of peas and a can of baked beans. Once in that blue moon; when she can take something home from the hospice she works at
We try to plant vegetable gardens ourselves but the goats eat all of our harvest and the passers by steal our harvest too. Even our self empowerment is a lost cause
So you see Godperson, our blood does not flow steadily because we do not have enough nutrients to oxygenate our bodies
We do not have enough money to buy fruits like bananas to pump potassium into our bodies, so that our blood does not clot too much causing us so much period pains. Here in Cradock a bunch of five bananas is R10, as opposed to the R5 of the big cities, where is the love at yo?
Never mind the fibre rich foods to not get constipated when we are on our periods, oats and weetbix are expensive. We have to count our pennies for bread every day because we also live with school children
When we do have money to populate the house with food , we are unfortunate to live with a drug addict and an alcoholic, the two of which demolish every source of food in their eye sight, the moment they see it as of cause drugs and alcohol cause munchies.
When we bake amagwinya (fat cakes) and isinkwa sombako (home baked oven bread), the drug addict brother we have and the drunkard father we have finish a loaf each by themselves. Mind you there are 7 of us in this house to feed.
So tell me God person when we have to contend with such suffering to our beings, then engage that kind of pain every month; then still have to go hustle a living to feed addictions of people who contribute nothing to the sustainability of this home…
How do we go on?
We can’t even afford the pills that can nullify the pain and the symptoms of our menstruation, neither can we afford to lie down and listen to our period pain until it subsides.
You leave me doubtful of your thought process when you wanted to cleanse our bodies of unused eggs. It is excrutiating and torturous. I am awe struck and confused because contending with being your creation is punishment enough – I mean capitalism makes us pay for pads; if condoms can be free because sex is a natural act. Then why the hell are we paying for pads, which by the way are also made with chemicals that can damage the uterus.
What is the necessity of this pain?
And don’t anybody tell me that it’s natural, that I should deal with it, because it clearly never cripples you the way it tears my anus apart because of natural bodily fluctuation.
This month I am letting my period pain again but this time it is definitely not gracefully embracing the rebirth of life inside of me.
This time it is disgruntedly so, I am pissed off about not being able to enjoy it in the warmth of my bed; with my mensies munchies (which by the way I cannot afford) and loud music that will release all my hormonal fluctuations that are causing heavy emotional baggage.
I am living in small towns with low economy problems, so I am definitely not enjoying lesilumo esilumayo (this period pain).
P.S It probably would have helped a lot more if you had asked me at conception whether I’d need this contraption that makes me bleed every month, because I actually do not want any kids of my own. I also do not have the thousands of rands it would cost me to have a hysterectomy. When I do have them I will be spending them trying to fix the damage that your human creatures have done, by not understanding nor activating the relevance of the trickle down effect.