Friday, 1 April 2016

Welcome to Womanhood: Chipo Biti

Chipo Biti



The day I got my first period, I thought I was dying. My family and I were on holiday at the time. It was early in the morning and I’d woken up with a strange tummy ache. When I went to the bathroom and found dark red spots on my underwear, my heart sank.


“I’m dying.”


Some strange fear and shyness prevented me from telling my mother what was going on. I didn’t know what was going on. The word “period” did cross my mind but this couldn’t be it, I’d thought. I was expecting something else – I’ll spare you the details.


I spent the next couple of days bathing multiple times – fortunately, the flow was minimal so there was no damage done. When the bleeding ceased, I sighed with relief. I thought my life had been spared miraculously.


The next month, there was no pain. Just a weird sensation in my belly. I thought I could ignore it. Until a teacher pulled me aside at school and told me there was a big stain on the back of my dress. I turned and saw the huge, red mark and I burst into tears.


She calmed me down, wrapped a jersey around my waist and gave me a pad.


From that day, though, I treated my period like it was something to be ashamed of. Whenever I needed pads, I’d go to my mom and whisper “Mama, I need pads.”


When I started buying them by myself, I’d buy a heap of other stuff so I could hide my pads. And when the person at the till swiped them, I’d look away.


That carried on for a couple of years until I stopped to question why I was so embarrassed. Menstruation is a normal process for a female. Why am I acting like I’m cursed?


Why am I acting like I’m an abomination of some sort?

Why am I ashamed?


From then to this day, I walk into the supermarket boldly and buy my gear with no shame. I’ll make eye contact with anyone that glares at me.


Something changed from that day on as well. I learned to stop walking around like I owed everyone an apology. My early teenage years consisted of me walking around ready to take the blame for anything and everything, and doing anything to please those around me.

I preferred to be the quiet kid who did her work and interfered with no one’s business. I rarely spoke up. Shyness was an understatement. I was scared to try out new things too. I feared taking leaps of faith. If there was a school play, I’d apply to play a role the equivalent of a tree because I feared being rejected if I tried out the bigger roles.

I rarely partook in class discussions in fear of ending up in a debate. I hated speaking. I hated myself, to be honest. I was unhappy with my appearance.


But on that day I decided to stop being ashamed of my period, I also opened myself up to being open to being…me. Well, learning to embrace who I was – as young as I was.


I made friends. I explored my creativity. I learned to use my voice.

It didn’t happen instantly. But that’s when it started. That day, I realized that I could no longer afford to act like a child. I couldn’t let myself be walked over. I couldn’t let anyone (besides my parents since I was still a minor, hehe) make decisions for me. I had to use my voice.

I had to embrace myself.


I had to accept that I was no longer a girl. Not a small one or a big one.

I’d become a woman and it was time for me to accept it, embrace it and rock the hell out of it.


It’s been several years since that day.


And though I’ve had a couple downers, I’m still moving, still embracing, and still slaying the hell out of this life. Well, getting there.


Hehe.


But it’s all good nonetheless. I’m a woman. 


Unapologetic.


Unashamed.


I am.



Chipo Biti is a writer, blogger and speaker. Her main blog is mindmymind.wordpress.com where she pours out many things that go on in her mind. Chipo has a love for helping people and seeing them reach their goals. You can find her on Twitter: @FayBiti.

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