This rebellion wasn’t against society, or my parents/relatives or against anyone else. 𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐫𝐞𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐭 𝐦𝐞 𝐛𝐲 𝐦𝐞.
As a young girl born into a Nepalese Hindu family, I had always seen how menstruating women weren’t allowed to enter the temples or partake in any religious events. When asked the question ‘why’ people would answer because it’s a sin.
Sin? How? Why a sin?
It never made sense to me.
I got my periods and similar to any other Nepali Hindu woman, I was denied a lot of things. But the reasoning for those restrictions just didn’t make sense. At all.
First of all, it bothered me how everyone was so concerned about when I got my periods. Like bruh, it’s my bodily secretions, can you back off a bit? So, I never told anyone when I got my periods. I went about at my own pace. I went and attended marriage ceremonies, bratabandhas, performed all the religious rites, put tikas and even entered temples, ALL WHILE I WAS BLEEDING.
No, I won’t ask ‘Did I commit a sin?’.
Because in my eyes, I did not. I went about my own business without interfering in someone else’s. I simply did not disclose my biological condition, let myself enjoy my Right to Privacy and let others’ enjoy their peace. Where did I commit a sin?
But this wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy for me to deconstruct the beliefs that had been entrenched in me. It wasn’t easy to let myself choose my rights and to exercise them. Having been brought up in a communal space where we have always been taught to put others’ first, it was a battle against myself to stand up for me.
I didn’t argue or debate with another individual, I debated with myself. After months of internal conflict and rebellion, almost at the end of grade 7, I let myself attend a puja. Hadn’t told anyone I was on my periods. I still felt the same. My conscience constantly questioned me if I were doing the right thing but it didn’t feel wrong either.
Then, gradually, I went into other religious ceremonies. And then, in grade 8, I entered a temple with my friends where two of us were on our periods, everyone else in the group was very well aware. It felt like an adventure for us, the thrill of breaking unwritten laws. A different feeling of satisfaction and excitement surged through us as we rebelled against ourselves. We stood up against what we had always believed to be true and found out that it wasn’t true.
Then again, we couldn’t go back home and share this with our parents.
It was our little secret, our little rebellion. But it’s difficult for many young girls and women to go against what has been ingrained in their minds as a child. Many women need the push.
So, if you were looking for that push, here it is!
Go, enter that temple while on your period, take part in that puja, attend that marriage you’ve been dreading for, be the life of that family gathering! You’re not obliged to tell anyone whether you’re on your period or not. If you don’t want to, don’t tell. Do your own shit and see for yourself how liberating it feels!
Good luck, love!